I was a guest on Real Talk with Michael McFadden this week to talk about my new book, Ending the Blame Game. One of the first things he asked is what I thought about Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Russell Simmons when he commented about Beyoncé’s Partition video (which, like so many others, has strong sexual content), saying that she was not a good role model for young girls.
Following the “hot” news stories is not what I do, but a recent one that got my attention is the incident in Steubenville, OH where a 16 year old girl was raped and onlookers broadcast it on their social media networks instead of getting help.
Those that chose to treat as an event worthy of tweet and social media broadcasting instead of calling for help are (IMO) just as guilty as those who physically committed the crime.
Indifference or Ignorance?
Our culture is insensitive to victims of rape, especially when the victim knows her attacker(s) and/or alcohol/drugs are involved. But what about the attitude of young people toward all this… is rape just a part of the casual hook-up culture among young people these days?
Were those kids really that indifferent? Too scared to be a courageous bystander? Was it just another party? Consider this snippet from an article in The Christian Science Monitor:
Without some forum for discussing these societal images and counteracting their influence, teens’ sense of right and wrong can be obscured.
“Students should have the opportunity to have conversations about media literacy and the understanding that what we see in the media is not always a great reflection of consent,” says Ms. Rosenstein of Advocates for Youth.
What if this 16 year old were your daughter, sister or cousin? Where do we draw the line?
Men Can Stop Rape is an international organization that mobilizes men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women. They recently launched WHERE DO YOU STAND?, a new bystander intervention campaign for college men. WHERE DO YOU STAND? positively portrays young men as vital allies and invites all men to consider their own stance on men preventing sexism and sexual assault. Continue reading “Juvie Rape and Jada’s Plea”
When people see a movie that was based on a book that they have read, they often like the book better. Is it because certain details were changed or left out of the movie? Maybe. But I think it has more to do with your imagination. As you read, your mind fills in the details of the setting and the characters. What you see in your mind’s eye almost never matches up with what is portrayed on-screen. I guess in that way, vision is better than sight. Or maybe vision is more like “insight.”)
What group of people have more imagination than children? My only child loves playing with others, but if we’re at home together, she has no problem taking out her dolls and playing school, or creating her own “story” with them.
As a part of our homeschool, I have her read to me from selected books on various subjects. I also have her read practical things to me in real-life scenarios. Continue reading “Vision is Better Than Sight”
I talk and speak about media literacy quite a bit. It’s a topic that I find fascinating, and the issues and implications surrounding the subject will be here as long as technology progresses. But there are two common misconceptions regarding media literacy and “regular” literacy that can be taken for granted:
- digital media literacy implies basic reading skills
- most adults in the 21st century are literate
Unfortunately, you can count the number of positive reality shows featuring Black casts on one hand. However, there is a bright spot with OWN’s Sweetie Pies, which features a Black family in St. Louis that runs 3 restaurants. In an episode last fall, there was a heartbreaking moment when one of its stars, Charles–the 22-year old nephew of the owner–admitted that he can’t read that well, and walked away from the camera with tears. He encouraged his 17-year-old cousin Andre to stick it out in school so his life wouldn’t be as hard as Charles’ is. (See a portion of this in the clip below.)
So many adults are illiterate, and it’s not their fault. Illiteracy is not caused by a lack of intelligence. (There are various kinds of intelligence.) It is often a result of outside factors or disabilities that can be addressed. Illiteracy is a problem that affects our entire society and not just individuals. Continue reading “You Can Be Intelligent Yet Illiterate”
Me and the girl are coming towards the end of our first month of homeschooling. I say “our” because although my daughter is the student, I am learning right along with her. The skills that I place the most emphasis on in our homeschool all have to do with literary skills: scripture memorization, reading aloud and other components of language arts (handwriting, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension). Never mind how I started this paragraph, ok?
The other day, an administrator at her STEM home study school* asked her, “Do you want to be a writer like your mom when you grow up?” She smiled politely and said, “No, I want to be a researcher.” There are quite a few things she’s interested in right now, including becoming the FLOTUS (who’s not inspired by Michelle Obama?), a detective’s desk assistant (“I don’t wanna catch the bad guys–that’s scary”), and a forensic scientist (probably not in that order). She is endlessly curious about her world and how things work, which is awesome. Also, I can always fall back on a quote from an interview with FLOTUS about family life for leverage when my girl doesn’t want to straighten her room.
It seems that we’re headed in the right direction. According to a statistic compiled by the National Coalition Literacy, family literacy is the key to setting up a child on the right path: a mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.
As I think about the many resolutions people are making this week, the word that comes to the forefront of my mind is “clean.” I’ve blogged about my self-imposed challenge to eat clean, and a lot of people are thinking about cleaning up their act or their life in various ways, usually in setting new goals or re-establishing neglected ones. A few popular ones are:
- getting organized
- eating a healthier diet
- eliminating toxic friendships
- purging clothing and other items that no longer serve you or bring you joy
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Psalm 139:23-24
Now for a silly question: Would you consider going weeks or months without taking a shower or a bath? I doubt it–you don’t want your body to be dirty and stinky. So why is it ok when we let our minds get dirty and stinky with the polluted images, music and messages we take in day after day? When we let our minds and hearts get filled with thoughts of lust, envy, discontent, greed, and so on, it affects us in a negative way–even if you don’t realize it. It affects how we behave, what we say, where we go, and who we talk to. It fuels our goals. It becomes a part of who we are. And if you’re a believer, it affects your relationship with God. You can’t witness as effectively with if your spirit is filled with pollution.
Sometimes the pace of life is just a little too fast, and we don’t reflect enough. I challenge you to take a break from something or someone that is polluting your mind or your life. With clarity of mind, you can allow the Spirit to tell you what you need to do about that situation, and how to proceed from there.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
– Psalm 51:10