Dorothy Gilliam cannot have it both ways. She cannot give a slight backhand slap to Mayor Marion Barry for a "less than admirable attitude toward women in general," {"The Consistent Marion Barry," Metro, Aug. 13}, praise him for being consistent because he "talked black and slept black" and then expect that young black men should "take pride in themselves" and show respect for her daughter and all of our daughters {"An Act of Racial Terrorism," Aug. 16}.

Why should those young black men show respect for her daughter, or anyone else's daughter, if the mothers of these sons and daughters are not going to demand that the fathers -- Marion Barry included -- show respect for them? And frankly, I am sick and tired of the clinical psychological, poverty, lack-of-socialization, feelings-of-worthlessness excuses that are used as a rationale for a lack of respect by young black people for themselves, family, friends and neighbors.

As Henry Fielding said, "to whom nothing is given, of him can nothing be required." Instead of feeding our young the pap of excuses, we ought to be providing them with the solid sustenance of truthfulness, respect and responsibility that will enable them to use their strength to enhance their lives and the community. ANNETTE J. SAMUELS Washington The writer was press secretary to Marion Barry from 1981 to 1987.

I share Dorothy Gilliam's sense of anger for the insults and threats hurled at her daughter by the "three young black men" in Georgetown. However, in the light of that dreadful incident, would it be unreasonable for Dorothy Gilliam to recall her column of Aug. 13 absolving Marion Barry's behavior toward black women and to suggest that there is a relationship between the viewpoint excusing the mayor's behavior and the incident involving her daughter? It is "consistent" for Mr. Barry to exploit black women (as long as he did not sleep with white women) and for those three young black men to insult and harass a black woman. If we don't expect Mr. Barry, a black leader, to behave according to accepted standards of decency and civility toward black women, how can we expect it of the three young black men?

Young black men will not realize their full potential until our expectations equal that potential. Excuses and even explanations that lack a moral judgment insidiously erode those expectations. Also, while it was right and proper for Dorothy Gilliam to express her gratitude to the black cab driver who at personal risk interceded in the Georgetown incident, she might have expressed her appreciation to her daughter's white co-workers who also did "the right thing" that evening. SIDNEY HART Silver Spring