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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Kate Riley
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Lynne Varner
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February 18, 2005

The Daddy Truck "gaffe"


Larry Summers of Harvard University has released the text of the remarks that caused the feminist flap last month. They are here.

There has been much huffing and puffing about these remarks. I don’t know whether Summers is correct, but his remarks are certainly not bigotry, nor would I call them a “gaffe” (though the Times did call it that).

In all the academic stuff, I note Summers’ bit of personal experience. He mentions “my two and a half year old twin daughters who were not given dolls and who were given trucks, and found themselves saying to each other, look, daddy truck is carrying the baby truck.” That is not a scientific experiment, but it is real experience. I recall my own son, a toddler in diapers, staring out of our high-rise window in Hong Kong at the viaduct there, fascinated with cars and trucks. It seemed innate; whether it was, of couse, I can’t prove, but it seemed that he had what one dad called "the car gene."

And what does that have to do with professors of mathematics? Maybe nothing. The two university professors of mathematics I know are, in fact, women. But demanding that Summers apologize for what he said is silly.

At least anyone who thinks so should read his remarks first.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at February 18, 2005 01:40 PM



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