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Is Disrespect the New Chivalry?

Listeners respond to a young woman's claim that chivalry is dead. In the first of an ongoing "What Is the New What" series, Alana Germany of Youth Radio urged young men to change their approach.

A month ago, a girl had forgotten her asthma inhaler in her vehicle and was beginning to suffocate. While another guy ran to her car — parked few blocks away — to recover it, I began asking bystanders if they had an asthma inhaler on them. While the guys simply shook their heads, women looked at me as if I were asking them to do something indecent. I will continue to open the door for women even if they don't thank me; but if women expect men to be "gentlemen," we also expect women to be "ladies."

-- Juan, Chula Vista, Calif.

Please address the women who answer to the negative cat-calling. Unfortunately, the response that some men get only encourages their bad behavior. I agree as a 35-year-old father and husband, but when I was growing up, it seemed that the jerks who disrespected women got all the play. I guess I was square.

-- T. Imani

Alana Germany's lessons on chivalry reminded me of a story of an older gentleman friend. Once, when opening a restaurant door for a young lady, she responded, "I can open my own doors." He replied, "I'm sorry, Miss. My mother always taught me to open a door for a lady. I did not realize that you weren't one."

-- Brad Ledbetter, Salt Lake City

I don't think sound bites of several ignorant individuals constitutes "What's What." NPR is comprised predominantly of Caucasian listeners, and I was embarrassed to be represented in such a way. This "opinion" of the norm is sure to leave the wrong impression. Ms. Alana Germany could better serve herself and the culture she represents (be it young people or African-Americans) by reporting on what's what, instead of offering a brief diatribe on idiots she has encountered or the songs a wannabe "gangsta" wrote.

-- Jeff, Newark, Del.

I found the report on chivalry interesting and all too true. I'm 31, married and occasionally still get cat-calls. Do men, or boys, rather, really think that will get a positive response from a woman? When I become a parent, this is one value I hope to instill in my child.

-- Tiffanie, Glenwood Springs, Colo.

Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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