Joel Kotkin's article "The Reluctant Entrepreneurs" (September), is a manifest example of "bikini journalism." What it reveals is interesting and provocative; what it conceals is essential.

Kotkin and his sources make the valid point that the black community should bevelop a greater entrepreneurial sense and that black consumers should patronize black businesses. Black leaders have been making these points for a long time.

However, Kotkin fails -- and the omission is a glaring one -- to discuss the problems that confront would-be black entrepreneurs, specifically, the difficulties that many of them experience in obtaining credit.

Writer Joel Kotkin would have performed a more useful service had he more fully explored such questions. Instead, he chose to take a blame-the-victim approach and to quotes some black businessmen who seem bent on disparaging the industry and initiative of blacks.


Did INC. "blame the victim" in its story about blacks and black businessmen in the September issue ("The Reluctant Entrepreneurs")? That was the charge from several readers, including the head of the NAACP and the publisher of the nation's largest black business magazine. Their letters are among those printed below, along with a brief reply from writer Joel Kotkin, who looks to the Asian and Cuban communities as models for other minority groups that have overcome poverty and prejudice.

The Editors