Nov. 2023 > Inbox


We welcome letters to the editor on issues presented in the magazine. Email letters to All opinions, statements, and conclusions expressed in letters to the editor represent the views of the respective authors and do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the WSBA or its Board of Governors. Publication of letters to the editor is not to be deemed an endorsement of the opinions, statements, and conclusions expressed by the author(s).

Regarding the article by Peter O’Neil in the September 2023 issue of Bar News: Fantastic article. I’m in awe of Mr. O’Neil. Thank you to him and to Bar News for sharing.

Andy Hess, Lebanon, OR

In response to Inez Petersen’s letter to the editor, “The Bar Should Deemphasize Wokeness,” Ms. Petersen needs to understand that the opposite of being woke is being asleep and unaware of the world and other human beings around you.

Teresa Keene, Spokane

First things first: I’m a white woman, and I do not pretend to understand the lived experience of people who are not white and cisgender like me. That said, I have spent significant time attempting to educate myself about issues surrounding equity. Also, after 28 years as an attorney, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting flawed arguments and logical fallacies.

The logical fallacy in both letters is that they are based on a false premise: that everyone is equal to begin with. Based on this fallacy, the writers falsely conclude that “merit” (of what sort is not specified) will result in fair outcomes, and therefore, no one should consider race or ethnicity as a potential source of inequity or make any efforts to counteract inequity based on race or ethnicity. Put in baseball terms, the letter writers assume that everyone begins their at-bat at home plate, that everyone advances from base to base in the same way in order to score a run, and that everyone is playing under the same set of rules.

But that is not reality. In reality, some people are born on third base while others are still struggling to get to the on-deck circle. While it is true that some people in the latter circumstances—through extraordinary effort—succeed in making their way around the bases, they are still running far behind the people who started on third base. At the same time, many of the people born on third base mistakenly believe they hit a triple, and then wonder what everyone else is complaining about.

This is why “equity” is not the same thing as treating everyone equally—because, sadly, even in 2023, we are still not equal to begin with. If that constitutes “wokeness” (whatever that is), just call me Wokey McWokerson.

Andrea Vitalich, Seattle