Archive for January, 2010

Senator Arlen Specter and Representative Michele Bachmann, there is much more at stake

Monday, January 25th, 2010

by Ann DeWitt

When I heard the news report about U.S. Senator Arlen Specter’s “act like a lady” remark to U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann on Dom Giordano’s radio show, my thoughts turned to young men and women around the world.  This entire episode has resulted in a teaching moment deferred.  Or has it?

This Specter/Bachmann radio interview presented an opportunity to show young men and women how to eloquently debate an issue.  As public figures, Specter and Bachmann both share equal responsibility in this debacle. From the interview, young men could have learned how to respectively address women; and young women could have learned how to quickly diffuse a situation.  At this juncture, mentors for our youth play a critical role.

As an example, Kevin M. Weeks conjured up a character by the name of Tommy Richardson in his latest novel titled The Street Life Series: Is It Rags or Riches?  Tommy is a retired Atlanta, Georgia corporate executive who has a history of being a successful mentor for aspiring executive women.  After reviewing the radio transcript, I believe that The Street Life Series’ fictional character Tommy Richardson would have coached his aspiring female executive protégé to neutralize the comment.  For instance,  firmly state, “I’m going to let that comment slide; respect the position I hold.”  This type of reaction minimizes the “snow ball effect.”

Depending on the dynamics in the room there is another approach. Comic relief can be used.  State confidently with a smile, “You are annoyed because I’m winning like a man.”  Even if the talk show host doesn’t respond, the radio audience is blown away at her prowess.

Always, if anyone is offended, an apology is in order which in this case has already occurred. After the apology, a lesson is learned and duly noted.  For me, I long for our country to return to the days of Eleanor Roosevelt’s philosophy of “You Learn by Living.

There are two books that I recommend for both men and women: (1) In 2000, Gail Evan’s published a novel titled Play Like a Man, Win like a Woman, and (2) In 2009, Steve Harvey published a novel titled  Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I’m not sure if Gail Evan’s and Steve Harvey have been on a panel together.  If I missed it, let me know because Gail and Steve’s exchange of ideas on a news program or talk show on this topic is sure to garner high television ratings.  This is one of many ways that Kevin M. Weeks’ aims to bridge the literary gap.

Highlighting the good in humanity, Ann