Hand-to-Hand Combat Did I read in the "Personalities" column May 31, referring to a legal battle between two women, the word "clawing"? Does this word "clawing" also refer to the way male legal combatants treat each other? When was the last time you used the word "clawing" in an article about male antagonists? Never? That's what I thought.

-- Constance Cooper That's 'Fat-ism' You are inadvertently perpetuating a prejudice -- fat-ism. As your own paper has recently reported, 70 percent of one's weight is genetic. And for those people who are obese, there is nothing funny about it.

The Herman cartoon by James Unger, in the June 2 paper is not funny and is very cruel. I hope you will be careful not to publish more of these abusive "jokes," and you will let Unger know about this. -- Karen Gail Lewis Among Those Charged Dorothy Gilliam's May 31 column, ''Let Barry's Drug Admission Serve as a Painful Lesson,'' was mostly on target, but she should have stuck with Barry. It was an awful disservice to Neil Bush, the president's son, to include his name in a list of others (Barry, Oliver North, Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky) who, according to Gilliam, ''have in recent times betrayed us all.''

Neil Bush was the director of a now bankrupt Denver savings and loan company that fell victim to bad loans and a failing Colorado economy. He was hauled up before a congressional committee recently for questioning in a partisan effort to embarrass the president. To my knowledge, Neil Bush has not been formally charged with any crime or wrongdoing. Placing him among those Gilliam accuses of manipulating the ''public trust'' is outrageous!

-- Richard A. Webster Come in, Yangon I was astonished to find that the very name of the country discussed in your lead editorial of May 30, "A Break for Burma," is nowhere mentioned. Last year the country of Burma became Myanmar. The change was official. The Post appears to be alone among major newspapers of the world in refusing or forgetting to acknowledge the renaming of the Asian nation.

This oversight is a subtle slander to the people of Asia, especially those from Myanmar, and it perpetuates a kind of geographic ignorance to your American readership that is often tested and noted in educational studies.

Whether the mistake was technical, stylistic or a reflection of a real colonial bigotry on the part of The Post, an apology or a clarification is due.

Incidentally, the capital of Myanmar (formerly Burma) is now called Yangon (formerly Rangoon.)

-- Richard Chisolm Drop Out the Background Surely The Post must have a rule against identifying subjects of news stories by race or ethnic background.

The Post would never dream of labeling Lee Iacocca as a third-generation Italian American or of identifying Sen. George Mitchell as a third-generation Lebanese American. Alleged criminals and victims are regularly not identified by race or ethnic background.

Why, then, is "Sackler curator Ann Yonemura" identified as a "third generation Japanese-American" {Weekend, May 25}?

Should I be identified as half third-generation Dutch, one-quarter Cornish and one-quarter 13th generation English? How ridiculous! Forget about all ethnic labels, please! -- Jeane N. Olson Mr. No Name Who was that handsome young man standing between presidents Bush and Gorbachev in Saturday's front-page picture (June 2)? He was just referred to as a nameless "interpreter."

Translation, or interpreting, from one language to another is a difficult skill, far more complicated than substituting one dictionary word for another. Simultaneous translation is by far the most difficult. To perform simultaneous interpreting for two heads of state in a critical summit meeting, much of it being simultaneously televised, is a test of nerve and skill deserving the highest respect. At least, give him his name!

-- Katherine L. Swift