Dumb Headlines

March 10th, 2009

As a regular reader, I feel compelled to call you on your choice of headline for a news item about two alumnae—Meredith Whitney '92 and Sharon Fay '82— who have done extremely well in the financial world (In the News, January/February). The headline "What Glass Ceiling?" implies that gender equality has arrived with the achievements of two Brown graduates. Just as President Obama's place in the Oval Office does not mean that racism has disappeared, examples of women succeeding despite the glass ceiling does not mean they had easy sailing or that the barriers have been lowered.

Susan Behrens '86
Brooklyn, N.Y.


I am surprised, agitated, and dismayed that the BAM chose the headline "Healing His People" for the obituary of Joseph Gayles Jr. '63 PhD. The title conjures matching a doctor's skin color to that of his patient, a Jim Crow mentality that is the antithesis of Brown's programs and of Dr. Gayles's work. When he said that his interest is "in the health care of people, especially minorities in rural and urban communities," Gayles is pointing to a reality of division and discrimination, but that division does not restrict his professional purpose. Your title, while perhaps recalling the spiritual "Let my people go," has, in the twenty-first century, a mocking effect. Many in this community and in this country, while recognizing the differences that enrich us, work towards healing the stereotypical thinking and its consequences that the headline perpetuates.

Eugenia S. Marks '89

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Related Issue
March/April 2009