*Warning: This word — the actual word — is a prominent part of the article below. It has been somewhat sanitized in the title because, I understand, it’s a word that can shock, cause discomfort, and shut down readers before they even get to the substance — but please understand, as a person of color, as an African American and as a gay black woman, I encounter this word and its accompanying degradation every day; hopefully that truth is even more shocking and uncomfortable.
Equity, inclusion, and justice within the legal profession are under attack and it’s time to fight back. The legal profession is not the place for racist individuals, biased laws, and hateful rhetoric, yet they continue to find space to flourish. Read more
Language matters—I mean really, really matters. The words we choose can make a huge difference to the overall meaning of something we are communicating. Even little connotations and implications can have a big impact on the meaning. For example, if I were to write the sentences, “His actions were youthful,” and, “His actions were childish,” you would see that the last words in each sentence have the same definition (denotative meaning) but very different implications (connotative meaning). Denotatively they both mean seeming young or having qualities associated with a child, but connotatively, the former suggests spry and lively (positive connotations) while the latter suggests naiveté or immaturity (negative connotations). Read more
By the time this gets published, LGBT Pride month will be coming to a close or have already ended, but I thought I would share a few thoughts about it anyway. Prior to my job here at WSBA, I worked on several college campuses, leading LGBT centers. Often I was asked why it was necessary for me and the students I worked with to be “so out” and “so loud” about our identities. “Shouldn’t your sexual orientation not matter?” they would say. I’d answer “correct” — sexual orientation and gender identity shouldn’t matter, but in our society they did. And they still do matter. Read more
The Orlando killings made news around the world, and the response has been heartening. From Paris to Sweden, Philadelphia to California, people care and are responding. Each person, group and community is seeking a way to heal, understand and react to foster strength, hope and peace. Is there peace to find? Or should we open our eyes to the reality of what’s been long buried and tolerated, bursting through the surface to challenge our complacency and easy acceptance of violence as an everyday occurrence? Read more
WSBA Board of Governors President Anthony Gipe responds to member comments on gay marriage.
I normally use my blog posts to discuss and expand on my guest writers and the topics they are discussing. However, the June article that Barb Rhoads-Weaver and I co-wrote in NWLawyer prompted a couple of letters to the editor that I would like to respond to instead. Read more