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Apologies to Elton John, but in Washington and throughout so much of the country, can you feel the hate tonight?

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One major myth about prisons is that they are packed with nonviolent offenders whose only crime is marijuana possession. As I have written editorials about Kansas state prisons recently, this has been the top concern of readers contacting me. But this myth is not reality. 

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It is a truism that a blackmailer is rarely satisfied. Once the payoffs start, there often is no end to them.

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Did you ever put something deep in a box in your attic and forget you ever had it? No? Well then, let me introduce myself, because I’m the expert. I’ve had enough relatives die that my collections are huge. 

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It is easy to give thanks when things are going well. It is harder to do so when life has dealt us difficult, demanding, and depressing situations. But just as a smooth sea never made a good sailor, the most genuine expressions of thankfulness are created in the crucible of adversity.

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To better represent Kansans, we citizens should press for better pay for our lawmakers. This is a simple statement, and such a change would not guarantee better policies, however they are defined. But without question, higher salaries would produce a Legislature that looks a lot more like th…

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As the second week of the impeachment hearings began, Republicans re-introduced an old theme for the usual purposes: Everything is the media’s fault, and America wouldn’t be in this jam but for their being puppets of the Democratic Party.

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I have a confession to make. I hate shopping. Now before you run me out of town, let me explain …. I don’t like crowded stores, I really don’t like having too many choices, and I despise that commercialism has taken over the Christmas season.

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Just before that arctic blast whipped across the country, Randa and I decided to take advantage of a lovely afternoon and go hiking out at Camp Horizon. With the temperature pleasantly near seventy degrees and almost no breeze, we set out.

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Wichita’s mayoral election is supposed to be nonpartisan, but that virtually disappeared in this year’s campaign. 

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The “nation’s report card,” or National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), was released Oct. 30. Results show stagnant progress in what students know and can do on the national level and a disappointing decline in Kansas scores.

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Shortly after Jim Bakker’s release from prison in July 1994, I invited the disgraced TV evangelist to my home. There was an important question I wanted to ask him.

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Katie Grose is a second-generation band teacher from Jefferson West High School in northeast Kansas. I heard her story last spring when she was at McPherson College supporting our band program. Her dad was a band teacher and so is her brother. A few years ago, Katie had reservations when her…

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Women are not the problem.

There has always been something grotesque about the idea that they are. But to embrace that idea in the #MeToo era is not just grotesque, but clueless. It suggests that you slept through a reckoning that has shifted the Zeitgeist.

So somebody please tell Ernst & Young to wake up and smell the 2019.

The London-based multinational business services firm has been struggling to contain the fallout of a story posted by HuffPost last week about a June 2018 training seminar at its office in Hoboken. “Power-Presence-Purpose,” conducted, according to the firm, by a third-party contractor, was supposed to offer female employees advice to help them navigate the workplace.

And it did. Problem is, the advice it offered hasn’t been relevant since Ricky spanked Lucy.

“Women’s brains,” this group of women was told, “absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.”

There was more. Women were advised to avoid “crying,” being “rambling and redundant” or speaking in a “high-pitched or shrill” voice. One attendee told HuffPost she was advised not to “directly confront men in meetings, because men perceive this as threatening.”

“Don’t be too aggressive or outspoken,” the attendee said she was told. “If you’re having a conversation with a man, cross your legs and sit at an angle to him. Don’t talk to a man face-to-face. Men see that as threatening.”

Apparently, men are very easily threatened. And aroused, at least to judge from this stern admonition: “Don’t flaunt your body — sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”

Not incidentally, this seminar came just a month after Ernst & Young settled a complaint by a partner who said the firm failed to act when she reported being sexually assaulted by another partner. Whatever the company should have learned from that experience, it apparently didn’t. And somewhere, Don Draper is pouring himself a drink.

For the rest of us, this seminar — for which the company has expressed belated regret — offers an opportunity to ponder the assumption implicit in its very construction: namely, that women need to fix themselves in order to get ahead. But then, we often assign women responsibilities they do not deserve. Worse, they often shoulder them.

Think of the woman with the black eye and chipped tooth who says, “He didn’t mean to do it. I provoked him.” Or the sexual-assault survivor who is criticized because she wore a short skirt or drank too much. Or the presidential candidate who is rebuked for being “too ambitious” because, Lord knows, no male candidate has ever been guilty of wanting it badly.

Moreover, how often have you heard of a seminar to help men navigate the workplace? When has anyone felt a need to advise them how to approach female colleagues or avoid speaking in annoying tones? Rarely, if at all. And indeed, if the idea sounds silly to you, it’s because of another implicit assumption, best expressed by the philosopher James Brown: “This is a man’s world.” Which means it’s up to women to adjust themselves to fit in, not vice versa.

But see, this isn’t a “man’s world.” Or at least, it’s not supposed to be, not anymore. And if we mean that, if we’re serious about it, then we have to get over this idea that women must somehow “fix” themselves. If the #MeToo era has taught us nothing else, it’s taught us this:

They’re not the ones who need fixing.

 

Leonard Pitts’ email is lpitts@miamiherald.com.

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I have a friend of 50 years who is in the final stages of cancer. We’ve laughed and cried a lot in those years. Her two kids are slightly older than our two. She’s one husband ahead of me — the first one just didn’t work out. When we met, we were new in the town of Hesston and hadn’t even ad…

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Kansas faces a prison crisis of crowded facilities and escalating costs to taxpayers. Fixing that requires addressing mental health, and the grim reality that our approach to the mentally ill is often to imprison them.

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A new wrestling league is being promoted during TV coverage of Major League Baseball’s post-season. The ad promises more action, more spectacle and includes women as well as men grappling with each other.

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Shakespeare long ago wrote that “truth will out,” meaning that what’s true — by virtue of its basis in fact and logic — eventually will conquer the lie.

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Depending on the polls you read and how you read them, nearly half of those surveyed want the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump to continue. That is not the same as wanting him impeached, much less convicted by the Senate and removed from office, but it represents a momentum the p…

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