Your Jan. 25 editorial on culture, especially the last paragraph, succinctly raises many a fallacy that people and policymakers usually ignore. Ethnic inclusion and exclusion has been the subtext of the American journey toward achieving its creed. Assimilation, pluralism and conflict define the complex contours of Americans searching for their identities. As you point out, troubled neighborhoods abound everywhere. Yet, our public, economic and social policies — thanks to the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan’s discovery of the “tangle of pathology” — continue to alienate and blame the victims. It’s not the culture of poverty, sir; it’s the poverty of culture that thwarts the achievement of the “American Dream.”

Brij Mohan

dean emeritus, LSU School of Social Work

Baton Rouge