Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

October 16, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

Gender-neutral pronouns

Here’s a link to an article responding to Webster’s addition of they as a gender-neutral pronoun that I thought you might find useful.

And here’s the article lead:

Pronouns matter.

There has been a cascade of recent news about the use of ‘they’ and ‘them’ as gender-neutral pronouns. These stories provide a useful teachable moment about the importance of pronouns and in understanding people who are non-binary. Evolving knowledge of pronouns is a result of our society becoming more aware of gender identity and expression.

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Black girls say D.C. school dress codes unfairly target them. Now they’re speaking up.”

The Washington Post reports on black girls speaking up on dress codes.

For generations, girls have been sent to the principal’s office for violating dress codes: Shorts must reach past fingertips. Shirts can’t be too low-cut. No spaghetti straps. No cleavage.

But these rules are often enforced in uneven ways, and black girls are disproportionately targeted, students from the District said in a report last year from the National Women’s Law Center. Now, some of those students are beginning to speak up — organizing walkouts, lunchtime protests and meetings with administrators to call out dress codes they see as unfair.

In a new report released Wednesday, the National Women’s Law Center highlighted some of these recent shifts and rated D.C. public and charter high schools based on the strictness of their dress code policies. (

September 19, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

More states are trying to protect black employees who want to wear natural hairstyles at work

Here’s the lead of an interesting article about restrictions on natural hairstyles in the workplace as well as state legal bans (and potential bans):

In 2017, at a gala luncheon hosted at the opulent Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, Minda Harts found herself seated next to a recruiter for corporate board positions. Over cocktails and a plated fish entree, the two talked about race in the boardroom; the recruiter, a white woman, complained about the challenges of finding black women to be corporate directors.

To test how she’d respond, Harts, who founded a career development company for women of color and had a book on the topic released in August, asked the recruiter who she would feel more comfortable putting forward as a candidate for a board: a woman of color with a sleek ponytail, or one with a natural hairstyle such as locs or an Afro. The recruiter said the woman with the ponytail, Harts recalled. “The phrase she used was ‘clean-cut,’ ” Harts said.  (

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