Phillip Nunez, Livermore

No, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory should not racially discriminate in hiring.

Anthony P. X. Bothwell wrote a letter that received frontpage reporting in The Independent suggesting that LLNL should only look to people with recent African ancestry for its next director. He uses the fact that there are great African-American scientists as his argument that only candidates of that race should be considered.

But the existence of Black scientists is not the question. The question is who, among the candidates, is most qualified to run the lab. Racial discrimination is wrong and unjust and would inevitably lead to selecting a poor candidate. Bothwell himself couldn’t name a reasonable candidate, naming three people, two of whom are dead and one who is a brilliant astrophysicist who has projects of far more interest to him than running a nuclear-weapons lab.

The lab is an important national asset. Its leader should not be selected on qualities as unimportant as race.