Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones is back-peddling from remarks he made last month at a symposium that motherhood causes women to lose the necessary focus to be successful traders.
"As soon as that baby's lips touched that girl's bosom, forget it," Jones told an audience at the University of Virginia on April 26.
"Every single investment idea ... every desire to understand what is going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience ... which a man will never share, about a mode of connection between that mother and that baby," he said. "And I've just seen it happen over and over."
But in a statement released Friday, Jones apologized for what he has called "off the cuff" remarks:
"Much of my adult life has been spent fighting for equal opportunity, and the idea that I would support limiting opportunity for any segment of society, particularly women, is antithetical to who I am and what I have done," he said. "My remarks offended, and I am sorry."
The offending comments were made as Jones, the founder of Tudor Investment Corp., a $13 billion hedge-fund firm based in Greenwich, Conn., participated in a question-and-answer symposium at the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce. Prominent investors Julian Robertson of Tiger Management and John Griffin of Blue Ridge Capital were also part of the panel.
The video was obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request. You can skip to Jones' controversial remarks in the video below beginning at about 2:30.
Not surprisingly, the comments haven't gone over well with some women. Writing for Time magazine, columnist Rana Foroohar shot back at what she called Jones' "convoluted argument":
" ... he's saying that women can't be good traders because they are too much at the mercy of their emotions. Actually, plenty of research has shown just the opposite. In the bestselling book, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, John Coates, a former trader who is now a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, looks at just how emotionally influenced traders - mainly men - are."
Sheryl Sandberg's best-seller Lean In has sparked a national debate among women about reaching for success in the workplace. But in order for women to lean in to their ambition and spend the arduous hours embracing the success Sandberg urges them to, they need to lean on support at home. That often comes in the form of household help — the housekeeper or nanny. But because being the help has figured large in the history of African-American women, some who are in the position to lean in are torn about hiring domestic employees.
That ambivalence was reflected back in 1975, when America met George and Louise Jefferson. In the maiden episode of their now-iconic TV series, the Jeffersons were, as the title song indicated, "movin' on up ... to that dee-luxe apartment in the sky." The black middle class had begun to expand, and George and Weezy, now affluent from several dry cleaning businesses, were moving into a high rise on Manhattan's swank Upper East Side.
The tension in that first show revolved around who was going to clean the shiny new palace. George pressed hard for Louise to hire a black maid she'd met in the elevator; Louise refused. She reminded George that when they were a young married couple, she did domestic work a couple of times a week, and had to "yes ma'am, no ma'am" the white woman who employed her. "How can I ask Diane to say 'yes ma'am to me?' " she fretted.
"Easy," George replied. " 'Cause now you're the ma'am!"
Louise Jefferson was reflecting the real-life ambivalence many African-American women have about being the ma'am.
After more than a century of working as domestics because of restricted employment options, black women's communal memory of often being taken advantage of economically and sometimes sexually can still be painful.
It doesn't help that the media images of black maids and nannies through the ages tended to run a narrow gamut: self-sacrificing mammy figure at one end, eye-rolling sass pot at the other. (From Hattie McDaniel's patient Beulah to Marla Gibbs as the Jeffersons' wisecracking Florence.)
Duchess Harris, a professor of American studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., says history haunts many black women who might want household help but hesitate to hire it.
From the end of slavery to the end of World War I, Harris says, "the job that black American women could get was being domestics. They were often incredibly disrespected." She knows this because Harris has heard the tales firsthand: "My paternal grandmother was a domestic," she says. "So for a lot of black American women, we can't let [the memories of] that go."
Harris definitely needs help. In addition to teaching history at Macalester, she also lectures at a nearby law school and is on the speakers' circuit. Her husband is a surgeon and spends long hours at the hospital. Their domestics have been au pairs from Europe who are part of an exchange program, and they're part of the team that watches over the Harris' three children.
The au pair arrangement works well for Harris and her immediate family, but, she says, her extended family and friends are not shy about telling her what they think. "I find that black Americans are open with how uncomfortable it would make them to have someone living in their home of a different race," she admits.
Solange Bumbaugh isn't as worried about race or ethnicity as she is about class. She and her husband agreed to hire a housekeeper several years ago to ensure domestic tranquility — no more fighting over who cleans what. But Bumbaugh still feels bad sometimes about asking for specific chores to be done. Knowing that communal history, "It feels uncomfortable, being on this side of the divide."
Then Bumbaugh shakes herself, and acknowledges reality: "That's clearly why [the housekeeper] is here, to make money for her children."
Maria Reyes has some advice for Bumbaugh: How you treat your housekeeper is more important than the fact that you have one. Reyes is a former housekeeper and nanny who now works on the staff of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the union for household staff, many of whom are immigrants. She's had good and bad employers of all ethnicities, Reyes says, and that doesn't matter: "What matters is that as an employee, you be treated with dignity and respect."
But sometimes respect is a subjective thing. Natalie Preston-Washington is a marketing and communications specialist at a university in Florida, and when she had her first baby, she looked for someone to come to her home monthly for large-scale cleaning. She hired a husband-and-wife team who were African-American and about her age. They had a cordial relationship — until she couldn't be home one day and left a to-do list for the couple.
"My list was not well-received," Preston-Washington sighs.
Looking back on it, Preston-Washington says the problem might have been boundaries: "I feel like they treated me like it was a personal relationship, rather than a professional one." She figured the cleaning arrangement was business; they might have thought the commonalities — same race, same age — made a bond.
Through history, though, when black women had help, it often was of a personal nature — maybe a cousin came to help out, or a neighbor from down the street, or a friend of a friend. These women were paid, but they weren't referred to as housekeepers. They were just folk who came and "did" for the family. But that was then. The new generation doesn't seem to mind a little distance.
Most social observers agree that the era of the black housekeeper has faded away. The duster has been passed to a new generation: Latinas now dominate the household and personal services industry. But just as the black middle class expanded in the '70s, the Latino middle class is expanding now. Which means Latinas in the position to hire a housekeeper or nanny are going to have to ask themselves the same questions their African-American sisters did: "Can I hire someone who looks like me? Is it OK for me to be the ma'am?"
They were just little girls when they were killed in 1963, in what came to be known as the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. And now Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, nearly 50 years after the attack in Birmingham, Ala.
President Obama signed the legislation Friday to award the girls — all of them 14, except for McNair, who was 11 — with the highest honor Congress can bestow upon a civilian.
The girls' deaths, from dynamite hidden under a bathroom by white supremacists, helped propel the 1964 Civil Rights Act through Congress. They were eulogized by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who famously asked, "What murdered these little girls?" — a sentiment echoed in director Spike Lee's film about the incident, 4 Little Girls.
The prosecution of those responsible stretched out over decades. The last living defendant, former Ku Klux Klansman Thomas Blanton Jr., was convicted of four counts of murder in 2001.
In recent weeks, both the House and Senate passed the bill honoring the girls with unanimous votes. One of the bill's sponsors was Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, who attended the signing of the legislation in the Oval Office Friday.
"It's a very proud moment for me, both as an American and as an Alabamian," Sewell tells WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti on Friday's Here & Now. "I grew up in Selma, Alabama, and it was because of the sacrifices that were made by so many, including the families of these four little girls, that I get an opportunity to walk the halls of Congress as the first African-American woman from Alabama."
As Melanie Peeples reported for NPR back in 2003, the bombing is part of a violent legacy with which Birmingham is still coping. And as Tanya Ott reported earlier this year, bombing survivor Sarah Collins Rudolph, Addie Mae's sister, continues to struggle with the lingering and painful effects of the attack.
Los Angeles is the world leader in the most American of clothing items: blue jeans. High-end, hand-stitched, designer blue jeans that will you run well over $100 a pair.
But as the U.S. apparel industry continues to shrink, L.A.'s blue jeans business faces a threat: a nearly 40 percent tariff, imposed by the European Union, that could cripple the city's jean business.
When people talk about Ilse Metchek they use phrases like "she's a piece of work," "a force of nature," "she's something else." If you want to talk fashion, she's your lady.
Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, has more than 40 years' experience as a fashion designer. I went to her office in downtown Los Angeles to talk about jeans and fashion.
No sooner than I could sit down, she scrutinized every piece of clothing I was wearing — especially the fabric on my jeans.
"You see the pix, the pixel? That's treatment," Metchek says. "The fabric doesn't come like that. Some machine is streaking them that way; that's expensive. And they fit. There's a different fit. You didn't buy Levi's, you didn't buy a Gap jean. You bought those."
Seventy-five percent of the designer jeans sold in the world are made in California. Over the past 20 years, an industry cluster was created in Los Angeles. While much of clothing manufacturing has been shipped offshore, high-end or more sophisticated manufacturing stayed here.
And high-end jeans are complicated — there are different washes, distressing and elaborate designs.
"The more complicated you can make that jean look, the more expensive it is. And that is at the wash house. And we have most of the wash houses in the world right here," Metchek says.
To see how and where premium jeans are made, you have your choice of more than 30 different manufacturers in Los Angeles to visit. AG Jeans is one of the biggest, and the company makes some of the most expensive jeans — as much as $300 a pair.
More than 40,000 people work in the apparel business in Los Angeles County alone, with women's clothing responsible for the lion's share of those jobs.
In April, the European Union announced that tariffs on women's denim jeans would rise to 38 percent from 12 percent. It's retaliation for the United States failing to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling.
Samuel Ku, who runs AG Jeans alongside his father, says the European tariff puts many of those jobs at risk.
"For our women's jean that's made in this factory ... we can't continue to do the same business shipping that jean to Paris. It's impossible," he says.
Ku says he'll still make the bulk of his jeans in Los Angeles, but he also has a factory in Mexico. He's likely to shift manufacturing there for the jeans that are exported to Europe. He says it won't be so easy for his competitors.
"[Because] they've got no options. ... Let's say you have a factory. Overnight, 30 percent of your business might be gone. You're going to be afraid."
Metchek says clothing companies could easily pick up and move to China or Mexico.
"They make them here, and they trade on the Made in USA label. ... They will still be in business, but that label will come off," she says. And with it, Metchek says, could go thousands of U.S. jobs.