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September 11, 2013 at 6:26 AM
Professional woman can relate
I was heartened to read in Dianne Chong’s opinion piece that she can “appreciate the relevance” of outward appearance for professional women. [“Guest column: The most common question from young women engineers? What to wear,” Opinion, Sept. 8.]
The way “fitting in” and “belonging” are presented by young women can easily be dismissed. However, any question is an entry into a deeper discussion.
We often have the opportunity to “accompany” young people around us. It is up to us to keep the door open when a question such as what to wear is posed.
One of the gifts my father gave me was to ask me consistently, “Do you own the company yet?” By asking this simple question through my 20s, 30s and 40s, he helped me to visualize what I could be.
Now, as a 50-year-old leader, my visibility and outreach to women is taking several forms. I sit on committees in local community colleges; I speak at job fairs with state agencies and community colleges; I sit on my local soroptimist international board, where we support the education of local women and girls.
I am staying open, saying “yes” and “leaning in.” And I am still looking for that accompaniment from those that have gone before me.
Leslie Kohlbry Smith, La Conner, Skagit County
August 5, 2013 at 6:39 AM
Women have to do the same
Yes, black men must be careful where they go, how they dress, what they say. [“Guest column: The racial self-policing that African-American men already do,” Opinion, July 30.]
However, black women, and all women of all races, colors and ages, have had to do this for millennia.
I must be careful wherever I go to not dress in clothes men think are provocative. I must be careful about going in areas where I could be groped, even on public transportation.
I must be careful about my demeanor around my boss, as he might take advantage of our power differential to make advances. Women have had to be careful even in our homes, with abusive partners and spouses.
This is not to lessen what a black man must go through to walk safely through his life, but women have been concerned about their safety from men of all colors for a very long time.
While so much is written about this new black-male awareness, please do not forget about the even more pervasive awareness a woman in this society must live.
Nancy Coomer, Seattle
July 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Women are at fault
Seattle City Council member Jean Godden’s guest column failed to identify the real and obvious reason for the gender pay gap: women’s choices. [“Closing the gender pay gap,” Opinion, July 23.]
Instead, she disingenuously implied that the city is violating the Equal Pay Act. She wrote, “Too many women struggle to get by on less for the same work.” She knows better.
In fact, when the pay is different, women are obviously not doing “the same work.” Godden correctly point out that men dominate in departments that pay more and in higher executive positions overall.
Is the city illegally discriminating against its women employees when issuing promotions? She knows it’s not true, otherwise their would be lawsuits.
Does the city illegally discriminate in its hiring of police officers, firefighters or city light, high-paying departments? She knows they don’t. In fact, the opposite is true!
Everyone knows that the city bends over backward to hire women. They caved in to the women who demanded to be treated unequally by lowering the minimum physical standards required.
Women are making the choices that benefit themselves. Fewer women than men want those hard, dirty, high-paying jobs. And, most likely, not as many women actually aspire to be supervisors or high-level executives. Unlike many men, whose identities and egos are inordinately tied to advancing in their careers despite the sacrifices required, many women realize that there is much more to life than advancing in a career.
Many women freely choose to take a break from their career to raise their children. Why is that “maddening” to Godden?
Doug Hjellen, Mill Creek
July 16, 2013 at 7:37 PM
Racial issue can’t be ignored
I am baffled and disturbed that the editorial outlining the “next step” in the Trayvon Martin case avoids the racial aspects of this case. [“The next step after the Trayvon Martin case,” Opinion, July 16.]
In fact, you go so far as to disparage the U.S. Justice Department’s consideration of a civil-rights claim against George Zimmerman, asserting that “the failure of the prosecution to muster a compelling case for manslaughter does not bode well for arguing some higher level of racial animus.”
So let’s just ignore this issue? Please do tell.
Beverly Marcus, Seattle
Jury should have acknowledged gender, race
If I’d been on the George Zimmerman jury, I hope I would have realized that my years of being female have predisposed me to be nice and get along, and that I would remember how that behavior can be dangerous to justice.
I hope I would have realized that years of cultural and institutional messages have deeply ingrained into me the message that black males, particularly young black males, are to be feared, and that males who look more like me are to be trusted and assumed to have good judgment.
I hope I would have remembered that cultural norms privilege what certain groups of people have decided is the best way to do things. Usually, it is the group of people who dominate society; people who look like me.
My white skin matters. The whiteness of five of the women on the jury mattered. The gender of the jury mattered. Oppression thrives when such truths are silenced.
If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have insisted we talk about how oppression has made all of us, Zimmerman included, seem less fully human. That is why another young black man is dead.
Diane Schmitz, Seattle
“Stand Your Ground” laws are dangerous
While the country seems to be wrestling with whether the George Zimmerman verdict was about race or guns, I maintain that this is clearly a legal issue.
I don’t care if you are black, white, pro-gun or pro-gun-control. Ask yourself if you really want somebody like George Zimmerman, a person with no legal or police experience, walking around in your neighborhood deciding whether or not you are a threat and whether or not that threat justifies the use of lethal force.
I fear that, in the future, more people will pay the ultimate price for “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Steve Alberts, Vashon
June 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Increase understanding and compassion
Thank you so much for your wonderful spotlight article on Trans Pride in Seattle and the work of some of our awesome local transgender activists! [“Ready for the spotlight,” page one, June 24.]
The piece was respectful and interesting (with some gorgeous photography), and I hope it will help some of your readers have a better understanding of and more compassion for our fellow citizens.
Erin Doherty, Olympia
Other issues should take priority
I found it interesting that you had devoted about three-fourths of the front page to a full-color spread on transgender equality, and left a single column for the Edward Snowden story.
It is funny how we will fight for equal rights, and at the same time ignore losing rights that, as Americans, are basic to our society.
I do not mean to downplay the importance of transgender equality. But the foundation of our American society is fairly rapidly eroding away, without us even noticing.
Ryan Thorne, Everett
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