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Orange County Letters

February 24, 1993

As a follow-up to my first letter about respect between the sexes, here is another way of looking at lack of respect. ("Teaching a New Generation Respect for Opposite Sex," Jan. 31, Dianne Klein column)

When I was in high school, we were told that we could use school yells to cheer on our team, but we could not use hostile yells, such as "give them the ax," because that was poor sportsmanship. A few years ago, I was walking by a girls softball game and heard the girls who were out in the field yelling something. I asked one of the fathers what they were saying and he said, with evident satisfaction, that they were trying to rattle the batter. That, to me, is poor sportsmanship.

How can we expect courtesy and respect for personhood to occur in one situation while rudeness is not only being tolerated, but is actually being encouraged, in another?

If we are going to promote permanent and continuous courtesy between the sexes, we are going to have to design our culture so that courtesy and respect for the personhood of others pervade the whole culture. We have to return to the kinder, gentler America of my youth. We need a return to banning hostility and other selfish, irresponsible behavior, from movies, TV, print, T-shirts, radio, bumper stickers and whatever, just as it was in my youth before the advent of the '60s. With consistent standards of behavior attuned toward courtesy and respect for the personhood of others, it will be easier to promote respect between the sexes.

JUANITA MATASSA,

Santa Ana

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