LETTER: Beyond public image

In his recent column, “Candidates neglect policing” (10/26/11), Colin Ross compellingly argued that the Board of Aldermen should have an input in the procedures and behavior of the police force. But Ross’ criticism of Sarah Eidelson ’12 as lacking tenacity unfairly overlooks Sarah’s commitment to fighting for change and opposing establishment power. It also might come off as unfortunately sexist, although I am sure he had no such intent.

Perhaps he was misled by a perceived disparity in the public speaking experience displayed by the candidates at the recent debate. But that is not a good metric for efficacy in making decisions and pursuing policies. It is the content of a candidate’s platform — based on his or her experience and ideas — rather than the quality of his or her campaign performance that ought to influence one’s vote.


Oct. 26

The writer is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.


  • Yale12

    > It also might come off as
    > unfortunately sexist

    WTF? I mean… WTF?

  • River_Tam

    Everyone who has ever criticized me in the YDN’s comment section is sexist.

    Unless they’re a woman, in which case they’re just racist.

  • ChrisPag

    Agree that the line is unclear. I assume the writer is referring to this part of Colin’s editorial:

    *I wish I could say that Eidelson gives me confidence that she would reject Nayak’s laissez-fail approach, but she doesn’t — not because of her policies but because of her tenacity, which appears to be lacking. She hits the right notes, saying in an email to the News that she wants to be an advocate for community-friendly policing. That’s great, but effective advocacy will need more than the coalitions she says she will build. It will take some confrontation. Challenging authority is no picnic.*

    I was confused by that part of Colin’s (overall solid) article as well, given that there wasn’t really any evidence provided for the claimed lack of tenacity. I can’t speak for Elias here, but I assume the point is that softer-tone women are often stereotyped as not aggressive enough to get stuff done, which is fair (though as he said, likely not Colin’s intent).

  • River_Tam

    I understand exactly where the supposed-implication comes from, but this is exactly the problem with this kind of identity-based paranoia (women are paranoid! It’s a stereotype!).

    * A female candidate gets called weak – she’s being stereotyped as a shrinking violet because she’s a woman. (see: Eidelson)
    * A female candidate gets called too aggressive – she’s being stereotyped as a frigid b*tch (see: Hillary Clinton)
    * We focus on an unattractive (or older) female candidate’s appearance – they’re playing off the worst instincts of male voters (see: Hillary Clinton)
    * We focus on an attractive (or younger) female candidate’s appearance – they’re trivializing her in the minds of male voters (see: Sarah Palin)

    Any trait can be a weakness, and any trait can be applied to any group of people as a stereotype. Everyone needs to be stop being so uptight (another female stereotype!).

  • ColinRoss

    The possibility that Eidelson could lack tenacity as an alderwoman was based on three things, all mentioned in the column: 1. Her emphasis on changing the direction of the city by building coalitions rather confronting those who have led it down the wrong path. 2. Her pledge to live in the city for the foreseeable future and the fact that she will no longer technically be a member of the Yale community means that the city will be her primary community. It’s human nature to try not to cause trouble and make enemies of those with whom you have to interact on a daily basis. 3. Her public demeanor is one of a cool-headed and intelligent person, but not an especially hard-charging one. Politics often centers on public image, and to do the kind of advocacy Eidelson says she wants to do, she will need a tenacious one that she has yet to display.

  • bcrosby

    Wait…I’m sorry, Colin, but do you think that changing the direction of the city can be done any other way than by building coalitions? I mean, yes, obviously, those who have “led [New Haven] down the wrong path” need to be confronted, as you say, but Sarah is running for one of thirty spots on the Board of Alderman, a position which, while important, is without the omnipotence you seem to ascribe to it. It takes 16 votes to get anything done on the Board – that means a coalition.

  • slatest

    River Tam, I agree with you that it’s easy to see sexism everywhere. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t! What I see in what you’re saying is that it’s kind of impossible to be a woman in a position of authority (or seeking one) and avoid this stuff from one direction or another.

    All we can do is ignore it and try to stay as close to the middle as possible and hope the world is changing, which I think it is.

  • River_Tam

    > What I see in what you’re saying is that it’s kind of impossible to be a woman in a position of authority (or seeking one) and avoid this stuff from one direction or another.

    What I’m saying is that bright lights will always cast shadows, so we have to stop jumping at them.

  • charlesdarwin

    YES, I was student at Yale 20-years… I Never, Never, Never thought academics do it for the Money.. There is little or no money in academic….. Academics do it in search for the truth or Knowledge.

    Yale, like MIT, should post All classes, online, for free free free.

    MIT, giving 2000-classes away for free free free

    Bill Gates/Warren Buffet: giving wealth away… give it away, we cannot take it with us.. .give it away…..100 million to 1000 million can see for free free free anytime/anywhere.. give it away for free free free free..


    I’ m class of 1990… I remember many happy days lectures parties on the New Haven campus.

    Yale can be a “global university” in 21st. century…….

    As Anyone who has been to a college campus knows: there are good/bad courses… good / bad professors.