Letters to the Editor

Embrace the change of language; accept use of ‘they’ as singular

When asked in a recent poll, 2 percent of millennials identified as pansexual – not limited in sexual choice to biological sex, gender or gender identity – and 1 percent as unsure or questioning. That means that at least 3 percent of people ages 18 to 34 probably would prefer to be identified as “they,” not “he” or “she.”
When asked in a recent poll, 2 percent of millennials identified as pansexual – not limited in sexual choice to biological sex, gender or gender identity – and 1 percent as unsure or questioning. That means that at least 3 percent of people ages 18 to 34 probably would prefer to be identified as “they,” not “he” or “she.” Associated Press file

Language changes, so relax and enjoy

Re “Gender is no longer simple, so why a fuss over ‘they’?” (Forum, April 9): What’s the problem with “they” as both singular and plural third-person pronoun? English speakers already use one pronoun, “you,” for both second-person singular and plural addressees. In parts of the U.S., people say “y’all” or “youses” to distinguish the two, but these are not standard English or widespread usages (though they could become so, given enough time).

In most cases, context of use keeps us from confusing “you,” as in one, from “you,” as in two or more. And royalty often refers to itself in the first person as “we.”

A living language, by definition, is always changing and accommodating usage to the wider community and societal needs. After all, it is only a means of communication, not a religious doctrine or a law of physics. If this weren’t true, we’d all be speaking “Proto-World,” the “original language,” which evolved in humans some 200,000 years ago.

We oldies can only watch as our language does what comes naturally – evolves to reflect and communicate about our changing societies. The young, of whatever gender, are going to win in the end, so we might as well relax and enjoy the process.

Kathryn A Klar, Richmond

Non-binary solution to ‘they’

To “they” or not to “they,” that is the question. How ironic. The debate over non-binary views of gender has split everyone into two opposing (binary) camps. Such is our irrational obsession with two-sided thinking.

Solutions are often simple if we look beyond the stereotypical two options. We can satisfy both sides of this conflict by simply coming up with non-gender-specific, third-person singular pronouns, as we did with the nonmarital “Ms.” We can keep “they” plural for linguistic precision without forcing people to choose between he and she.

May I suggest using the Yoruba “o,” as in: he, she, o; him her and om; and his, her, oirs; himself, herself, oirself. Problem solved. We can have it all – the precision of number, binary gender and other gender – by adding four simple pronouns, a multidimensional solution for a multidimensional world.

Michael R. Gorman, Sacramento

Gender identity a moving target

Thank you, Erika Smith, for providing us with yet another acronym, GLBTQIAA, in the constantly shifting target of gender identity. Finding and using the right pronoun has now become more difficult than a whack-a-mole game – how do we hit the right target when the target can’t even figure out which hole to pop out of?

Dennis Gallagher, Sacramento

Morain misses the mark on Brown

Re “Jerry Brown teaches a lesson in old-school politics” (Forum, April 9): Dan Morain thinks Gov. Jerry Brown teaches us a lesson by strong-arming and buying votes to increase taxes on the citizens of California. This was the second lesson. The first lesson was, while running for governor, to tell the voters that he would not raise taxes unless it was approved by those same voters.

This is Brown’s “read my lips” moment. It was a lie, plain and simple.

Now here’s the third lesson. For years he collected huge tax dollars from the taxpayers under the guise of road maintenance, gas taxes, etc. Use that tax money to fund other projects, and let the roads fall into disrepair. Then he raises taxes again, having no accountability of where the old tax money went.

The fourth lesson, and probably the most important, is never trust a politician. Don’t pay any attention to what they say; see what they do.

Dale Scribner, Sacramento

Misunderstanding free speech

Re “With O’Reilly getting pummeled, free speech takes a beating, too” (Forum, April 9): Joel Bellman misunderstands free speech. Bill O’Reilly has a right to stand on a street corner spouting his nonsense. But he has no right to be paid, and advertisers have no obligation to pay him, to do so on a national platform.

Chris Cappa, Sacramento

Advertisers right to dump O’Reilly

Joel Bellman would have Bill O’Reilly viewers and advertisers do nothing over his recently revealed sexual misconduct at Fox News. This license to abuse women is to protect the higher morality of free speech, according to Bellman’s logic.

Since O’Reilly’s ratings are up in the last 10 days because of this blowup, perhaps Fox News should raise his salary. Shouldn’t others also harass and threaten their Fox female counterparts to boost their ratings? Bellman questions corporations’ free expression of withholding monetary support to someone who they regard as a liability. Aren’t corporations “people” legally? I guess money does really talk.

All along I thought O’Reilly knew something about playing hardball, but since advertisers have thrown him some change-ups, Coach Rupert Murdoch might look down the bench.

David Kuchera, Sacramento

Bias on President Trump shows

Re “It’s time to do away with California’s cash bail system” (Editorials, April 9): The Bee’s well-reasoned and informative editorial on California’s cash bail system was appropriate until the very last paragraph when, once again, the editorial board showed its bias by writing: “Under the control of President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the federal system may revert back to ineffective tough-on-crime policies.”

The board was doing just fine until it chose to inject its prejudices against the administration and something it might do.

Jack Quartaroli, Sacramento

Attorney should support law

Re “Sheriff’s lockup contract with ICE harms our community” (Viewpoints, April 2): I’m sure Kristina McKibben realizes all of these people in jail are breaking the law by being here illegally and deserve no special treatment. But her job is the opposite; it’s to give special treatment.

If a U.S. citizen breaks the law, we are punished accordingly. Why not those who are here illegally?

Jerold Goldman, Folsom


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