Are airwaves ours?
Just as the great catch-all phrase "all men are created equal" is
meant to apply to "all women, too," so the spirit of "the airwaves
belong to the people" is meant to include you Black, me Brown, and
Unfortunately, this is another myth taken for fact.
Blacks, Browns and women were not around Broadcast Boulevard
25 years ago when the great decision was made to make television an
entertainment medium rather than the powerful educational tool it.
could have been. In spite of the civil rights movement for minorities
and women which has interevened during that period, we are still
excluded from the decisions that shape the attitudes that 200 million
people hold of us, women and minorities, in this society.
We are still expected to accept passively an image of ourselves
conceived, written, and directed by white male management at network and local levels bird-brained Lucy, who dominated the
image of woman in television since the 50's and scatter-brained Edith,
her 1970's counterpart. Blacks and Browns ask for meaningful
representation to counteract the negative stereotypes of "shuckin' and
jivin' and lazy" and they get Sanford and Sons and Chico and the Man.
We watch the evening news and we see ourselves among the accident and crime reports either as victims (if women) or criminals (if
minority males). We have extensive monitoring studies to prove this
At a recent press conference in Houston a spokesperson for the
Black Communicators Association said "It is our feeling that the
electronic media shape the consciousness of this country. The
media are brainwashing Americans into believing false impressions about Blacks and other minorities struggling for self-respect
and dignity in this country."
The BCA is preparing to take a suit into federal court on its way to
the Supreme Court that will be as encompassing as Brown vs The
Board of Education of Topeka.
Their goal is "to return the airwaves to the public, to get a
redefinition of the original communications act and to use television
and radio primarily as vehicles of education rather than vehicles of
It is our hope that when the Black Communicators Association
sounds the call for help on the federal court suit, feminists and other
minorities in this community will align themselves to support the suit
and to join the march toward the U.S. Supreme Court
Art - Charley Kubricht-Fore
Advertising - Rita Highsmith, Barbara Wesolek
Business - Juneau Shepherd, Olga Soliz
Circulation - Leigh Hollyer, Leslie Larson, Lucy Moyer,
Copy-Gay Cosgriff, Sharon Helene Lynn, Peter Young
Editors - Writers - Gertrude Barnstone, Janice Blue, Rhonda
Griffin-Boone, Gay Cosgriff
Feature Writers-Jan Cunningham, Linda Lovell, Wendy
Haskell Meyer, Adalaide Moorman, Patti O'Kane
Photography - Lily Barnstone, Marilyn Jones
Production - Rhonda Griffin-Boone
Gertrude Barnstone, Janice Blue, Rhonda Griffin-Boone, Gay
Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1976 Breakthrough is published monthly
by the Breakthrough Publishing Company, 1708 Rosewood
Street, Houston, Texas 77004, P. O. Box 8346, Houston, Tex.
77004. Telephone 526-6686. Subscriptions $5.00 a year. Newsstand
50 cents per copy. This publication is on file at the International
Women's History Archive, 2325 Oak Street, Berkelev, Calif.
WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS
ADVERTISE IN BREAKTHROUGH
SO MUCH FOR
DRESS COOES IN
letters to the editor
I would like to share with the
readers of Breakthrough a recent
experience which I hope will
serve as a warning to other young
I responded to an ad appearing in the Houston Post
which read as follows:
RECEPTIONIST Bright, alert,
friendly personality. Attractive,
good human relation skills.
Electronics firm starts you at
$4.00 to $5.00 per hr. if you
I called and a man answered
the phone for Video Match, a
computer dating service not for
an electronics firm. He introduced himself as T.J. Brad-
shaw and then asked me a series
of questions including my age,
height, weight, and marital
status. He scheduled my interview on a Sunday afternoon.
In the room during the "interview" there was a tv, a tape
recorder and a tripod camera.
Bradshaw gave me no information about the job opening
despite my continuous
questioning. I was not asked to
fill out a formal application. He
did, however, askrme to fill out a
questionnaire pertaining to my
preferences in a prospective
mate such as, "Do you like
single, divorced or widowed
men? Do you like men shorter or
taller than you?" I did not
complete the questionnaire.
Bradshaw said that he would
"call me or see me later" as I
left the office.
On my way home I began to
realize what had taken place.
I suspect that Bradshaw may
have been soliciting dating
prospects for his "service" with
no serious intentions of hiring a
receptionist. I would like to alert
other women to this type of
misrepresentation in advertising.
Breakthrough called Video-
Match and was told that T.J.
Bradshaw was no longer with
the firm. A receptionist said the
ad was placed by Bradshaw and
not the company. They claimed
no responsibility for his actions,
and had no idea of his
whereabouts. - Editors
Your January account of
Esther Pena's problems with
Texas A&I was in sharp contrast
to Texas Monthly's facetious
treatment of it among their Bum
Steer Awards. It was titled "The
Opponents Kept Seeing Three
According to Texas A&I Pena
was thrown off the volleyball
team because she refused to wear
a bra. Pena feels it is because she
had begun to speak out about the
way women in athletics were
treated. - Editors
Thank you for your "Dead
Pan "of 9 sexist Texas Monthly
covers. I must say I had not
realized they appeared with such
deadly regularity. If only you had
included the Beauty Queen cover
of October 1974 you could have
called it Texas Monthly's "Ten
When I go apartment hunting I
have problems in locating a place
that will accept children. I am a
single parent faced with having
to live miles from my job because
management won't accept
children. What are we supposed
to do?-get rid of our children?..,
Ex: I called a place in which I
was told that I couldn't rent
because I was not a whole family.
I consider my son and me a
In California and in New York a
law was passed to have all
apartment owners designate
certain apartments for families;
is such a thing being done here?
If not, how can one go about doing
YDOLINA B. COMBS
Legally, this is a "grey" area.
There is no such law in Texas.
City Council passed an Open
Housing Act last year but the
areas of discrimination did not
include "marital status." Contact Joan Glantz or DashaPorper
at the ACLU, 524-5925. They will
need more information from you
on this situation. - Editors.