In his zeal to be politically correct, Dennis Lythgoe (in his Feb. 8 column on verbal sexual harassment) not only disregards basics of human nature but tries to make a universal problem gender-specific.

He suggests that we begin teaching boys about sensitivity to women's feelings at age 7. Every parent I know begins far earlier than that. I'll bet the Lythgoes taught Dennis to be nice to everybody from the time he was born, and I'll also bet that little Dennis didn't always follow those teachings.Girls' parents do the same, yet even little girls have been known to be quite mean to other children of either sex.

Some people never outgrow the urge to hurl taunts at those who differ or disagree in some way. The phrases change; name-calling is okay these days if you use such words as insensitive, bigot, homophobe, chauvinist, harasser, etc.

Of course, we must always teach and encourage kindness. But in the real world, we can't control everyone's tongue (nor should we try), so we also need to teach a certain degree of tolerance and compassion (even for bullies) as well as positive ways of coping when something we don't like is said. Lashing out with threats or counterabuse doesn't solve anything, political correctness notwithstanding. Demanding sensitivity from others is a contradiction.

If we are ever to live together in unity and peace, we need fewer divisive tactics (such as some so-called "women's issues"), fewer accusations, more tolerance and more understanding of human nature.

Patricia B. Grey


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