Pappy flunks test
Sexism is the only form of bigotry treated as good, clean fun in our
This was again made painfully evident in an incident at the first
news conference held by B. G. "Pappy" Bond last month following his
confirmation as police chief.
The following exchange took place between Bond and KPRC-TV
reporter Carole Kneeland.
Kneeland: "The most recent class of police cadets that
started on Monday had no women in it And the number of
women entering the force has steadily declined since they instituted the physical agility test and made the height
requirement 5' 6". Do you have an intention of changing the
physical agility and height requirements at all?'9
Bond: "No, I don't But, as you well know, I appreciate women
because I've appreciated you, personally, for a good many
years. And, it's uh, uh, it's been a pleasure talking to you."
(Laughter from male reporters in the room.)
Kneeland: "Some of the women who complain about the
agility test have complained to me that they don't think that
many of the men in the police department could pass that test if
they were given it right now. They say it is not really relevant
for that reason...that they don't have to be able to do it."
Bond: "Well, there's a point there. I think that's a preliminary
step. That's a pre-employment test. I'm sure as beautiful as you
are, you wouldn't expect some of the executives in the police
department to leap tall buildings in a single bounce. (Laughter
from male reporters in the room.) As years pass, your eyesight
dims and arthritis develops and, uh, it's just such a pleasure
talking with you because.." (Interrupted by laughter from male
reporters in the room.)
Kneeland: "Do you think most of the men in the police
department could pass that test if they were given it now?"
Bond: "Well, let me tell you. I don't want to be defensive about
the Houston Police Department. I just want to be defensive. I
believe members of the Houston Police Department can do
anything they really want to do. And they've proven this many
times in the past."
A male reporter: "Thank you."
End of press conference.
There was only one other woman reporter in the roomful of male
reporters. No one spoke up to either demand a serious answer to a
serious question or to decry the exchange between a respected
colleague and a civil servant.
Only two radio stations aired the exchange-one station opening with
something like, "Okay, feminists. This is a story you're not going to
KPRC-TV, Kneeland's own station, didn't report on it because the
" important" story, the one she went to cover and film, was on the
No one in city government spoke out.
No apology came from the chief's office.
The incident was never reported in the press at all.
As feminists, we deplore bigotry in all forms. We are not in a contest
to measure who in this society is the most discriminated against but,
surely, had the same exchange taken place between a member of a
racial, religious, or ethnic minority and had the humor
been ethnic or racist, for example, instead of sexist, we are certain
the incident would have been widely reported in the media, protests
would have been heard from public officials and the community, and
appropriate public apologies made.
There has either been a "cover up" to protect the image of the new
police chief or, more likely, no one in the male media or among the
male public officials recognized how humorless and offensive Bond's
sexist remarks were not only to reporter Kneeland - but to all women.
Letters to the editor
The Breakthrough crew can
take tremendous pride in doing a
job that needed to be done and
doing it well. I read every article
with my own sense of pride that
Houston women had the great
good sense and gumption to
publish such a paper. Good for all
The paper is excellent (more
professional than either the Post
or the Chronicle and should be an
effective educational news forum
for feminism in Houston. The
major newspapers seem a form
of entertainment more than
anything else. Your sense of
purpose is very powerful, and the
justice of your cause is apparent.
I congratulate you on
Breakthrough. It is a professional
job through and through. I look
forward to receiving February's
I received a complimentary
issue of Breakthrough in Dayton,
Ohio. One frequently feels
isolated trom creative and
Breakthrough will fill a void in
my feminist awareness.
As a legal aid attorney, whose
clients are mainly women, I am
continuously looking to the
feminist press for consciousness
Your lead article on John Paul
Stevens' appointment to the
Supreme Court - despite his anti-
feminist attitudes -was
enlightening and appalling. To
my knowledge, the NOW
testimony was not reported in
any major publication.
My only regret is that such
thorough research by feminist
legal workers is not reprinted by
the establishment press.
Hopefully, with your continuous reporting of "women's
issues" and their national importance, the women's
movement will finally be taken as
a serious civil rights struggle
affecting all of our lives.
DANIEL WILSON, ESQ.
I like your "Recipe for an Oil
Change," but it did not solve what
may be the major obstacle to
changing one's oil: how to
dispose of dirty oil in a safe and
environmentally salubrious way.
Jan Tarver, the mechanic who
writes the series, says most
service stations and auto centers
have an underground tank to
store used oil. You can take it
there. This oil is picked up by an
oil company, refined, and later
sold under the refined oil label.
Congratulations on a
magnificent first issue. As
feminist lawyers we are very
pleased to see a newspaper of this
sort break down another barrier
to women's progress.
GERHARDT & O'KANE
PATRICIA ANNE O'KANE
We thank our readers and
subscribers for their letters of
support. We regret we could not
publish all of them.
Art - Charley Kubricht-Fore
Advertising - Rita Highsmith
Business - Juneau Shepherd, Olga Soliz
Circulation - Leigh Hollyer, Leslie Larson, Lucy Moyer
Copy - Leslie Larson, Lucy Moyer, Peter Young, Chris Wycliff
Editors - Writers - Gertrude Barnstone, Janice Blue, Rhonda
Griffin-Boone, Gay Cosgriff, Jan Cunningham, Kathryn
Hooker, Adelaide Moorman, Alice Rickel
Photography - Lily Barnstone, Marilyn Jones
Production - Rhonda Griffin-Boone
Gertrude Barnstone, Janice Blue, Rhonda Griffin-Boone, Gay
Cosgriff, Charley Kubricht-Fore
Vol. 1, No. 2, February, 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.