>>> Item number 896, dated 94/11/02 07:04:26 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 07:04:26 -0600 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: stopping the myth about sex in Title VII
The following is a copy of a lettr I just wrote to MS. magazine concerning an a rticle they printed containing false information on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Since that article has been reprinted in textbooks, I'm posting th is letter to various lists in hopes of disuading teachers and scholars from per petrating the myth. Please excuse my bad typing. This program doesn't edit ea sily.
230 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10169
This letter is 18 months too late, but I feel compelled to write you anyway in hopes you won't repeat the error you made when youpublished "The Civi l Rights History of 'Sex': A Sexist, Racist Congressional Joke" by Elizabeth Ro th in yourMarch/April 1993 issue. I just found it reprinted in a new women's studies textbook published, I'm ashamed to say, by myown publisher, Mayfield. This article perpetuates the myth that "sex" was added to the prohibited discri minations of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a "sexist, racist Congre ssonal joke" by a die hard segregationist, Howard W. Smith of Virginia, and that our Congress passively went along with it.
By the time you published this article this thesis had been effectively di scredited by at least two serious scholars, myself and Carl M. Brauer. His Feb ruary 1983 article in The Journal of Southern History established that Smith's support was not spurious, and however jocular he sounded on the day of the floo r debate, he did not sponsor the amendment as a joke. After several years of a rchival research I asked "How Sex Got Into Title VII" in my 1991 article in The Journal of Law and Inequality. The moving force behind the "sex" amendment was the National Woman's Party, and their members' reasons for pushing it had nothing to do with sexism or racism; nor were they joking.
Some day someone should research how this myth became history. (I have a
hunch, butI haven't researched it). In the meantime, MS. is the last
publication that should accept it without question and it shouldn't be
women's studies textbooks where it will mislead future generations of students.
Jo Freeman, Ph.D., J.D.
>>> Item number 897, dated 94/11/02 12:50:24 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 12:50:24 -0600 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <email@example.com> Subject: Title VII & Howard Smith
In support of Jo Freeman's message concerning Smith's motives in adding sex to Title VII, note that Smith had been (as were several other conservative Republicans and southern Democrats of the time) a long-time proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Cynthia Harrison (Harrison@fjc.gov)
Chief historian, Federal Judicial History Office Federal Judicial Center
>>> Item number 898, dated 94/11/03 09:32:42 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 09:32:42 -0600 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Title VII article
Several people requested copies of my article on "How Sex Got Into Title VII" i n response to my recent posting of my letter to Ms. on their perpetuation of th e mythical version. I don't have the resources to copy and mail to everyone. For those unable to get it from a library, it can be obtained via internet. Several of my articles, including that one, are archived: Gopher to INFORM.UMD .EDU and select Educational Resources//Academic Resources//Women's Studies Res ources//Government and Politics//Articles and Papers// then look for the title.
>>> Item number 913, dated 94/11/15 07:29:54 -- ALL
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 07:29:54 -0600 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <email@example.com> Subject: Re: More on the Title VII myth
From: Jo Freeman <JFRBC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>
FYI to those interested in historical and citational accuracy, or who teach
about sex discrimination laws.
----------------------------Original message---------------------------- On Thu, 3 Nov 1994 23:52:48 -0500 Barbara R. Bergmann said: >An account of the adding of sex to the protected categories of the >Civil Rights Act is in Michael Evans Gold, "A Tale of Two Amendments: >the Reason Congress Added Sex to Title VII", _Duquesne Law Review_, Spring >1981. He says it was put in to reduce the chances of passage, and to >ridicule the whole idea of anti-discrimination legislation. However, there >was a serious debate and vote on the merits, and under the leadership of >Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan (whose name should be holy >in our circles) the votes were cast in favor. >
>There is a short account in my book, "The Economic Emergence of Women", >which, I might add, is suitable for a course in the economics of gender and >does not require any experience in economics courses. >
>Barbara R. Bergmann
Jo Freeman responds: I delayed replying until I could read the Gold article; no mean feat sinc
e law school libraries in NYC are restricted to students/faculty and those who pay large sums to use them. I wanted to see if Gold knew something not pub lised in all the other articles on sex and Title VII.
Having done so, at 19 Duquense Law Rev 453, I'm glad to report that Gold DID NOT SAY that sex was added to Title VII to reduce chances for passage. Barbara got it wrong. Instead, Gold repeats the popular myth, and then procee ds to tear it apart, showing how a review of the limited information available from the Congressional Record, renders such an interpretation illogical and unf ounded. He relies more on inference and less on facts than do I or Carl Braur, but his conclusion is consistent with ours. Sex was not added to Title VII as a joke, by anyone. The motives of some of the proponents may have been ra cist, but not enough to explain its passage (especially by such a large majorit y - twice no less). Other attempts to add sex t other titles of the Civil Righ ts Bill were voted down, by large majorities. The leaders on both sides of th e issue had counted their votes and knew on Saturday, when "sex" was added dur ing a committee of the whole, that the bill would pass on Monday. Smith may ha ve had some fun the day of the debate, as did several other speakers (including Celler, its' chief opponent), and Edith Green may have speculated on the effe cts of adding "sex" (she was the only woman to vote against it), but NO ONE tho ught that large numbers of Civil Rights supporters would vote NO if "sex" becam e a protected category. THERE WAS NO STRATEGY TO SCUTTLE THE BILL.
While I'm debunking popular myths... Martha Griffith has perpetrate ano ther one that her speech was key to the addition of "sex". With all due respec t to Griffiths, whom I interviewed about this in 1969, and whom I admire, it's unwise for any scholar to believe everything (or anything) a politician tells you. They are in the business of making themselves look good, and taking cred it for everything they think will make them look good. Accuracy, the pursuit o f truth, etc. are not on their agenda. As a scholar, one has to read between the press releases of politicians, no matter how noble, and look at a lot of ot her evidence, before giving credit or laying blaim. Never trust politicians to tell you the truth about themselves, even when you want to believe them. Griffith gave a good speech; it MAY have persuaded a couple undecided votes; bu t she didn't bring them to the floor (she spoke to no one about the bill before the floor debate) . How many of you believe a majority of members of Congress come to floor without knowing how they are going to vote? How many of you bel ieve a majority of members of Congress are on Capitol Hill on Saturdays (rather than in their districts) without a specific purpose (e.g. to vote to add "sex" to Title VII)? Read the ENTIRE floor debate on the Civil Rights Bill, note th e votes; read Braur's article. Read mine. Then tell us how many of you believ e that sex was added to Title VII as a joke, for racist motives, or to scuttle the bill?
Barbara, I would like to thank you for providing a marvelous example of h ow myths are perpetrated despite facts to the contrary. And when you revise y our book, would you like me to review it for accuracy?