Back Seat Freak?

Bill O'Reilly Interviews Russell Simmons on March 12, 2014
Bill O’Reilly Interviews Russell Simmons on March 12, 2014

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.

Continue reading here.

Crossing the Blurred Line

I’ll admit, I missed it.

Source: Spin

I’m a Robin Thicke fan, and his hit Blurred Lines has been doubled the media as the song of the summer. Although I have heard of criticism that this was a “rapey” song,  I just couldn’t figure it outContinue reading “Crossing the Blurred Line”

Juvie Rape and Jada’s Plea

mcsrFollowing 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?

Credit: Feministe

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”

Vision is Better Than Sight

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”

You Can Be Intelligent Yet Illiterate

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:

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”

Whatever You Want to Be, Reading is the Key

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.

Continue reading “Whatever You Want to Be, Reading is the Key”

The Clean Up Woman (or Man)

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:

Original source: Upwallpapers

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.

Original source: Green Jungle

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
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Thanksgiving, Thanksblessings, and Buy Nothing

Source: Buy Nothing Day UK

You might call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday” (I call it my birthday–at least this year). But what you may not know is that it’s also known as International Buy Nothing Day (Nov. 23 – Nov. 24). I want to put this at the forefront of my post today because merchants are going hard starting their Black Friday sales early, and I’ve got a different kind of message post on Black Friday. Continue reading “Thanksgiving, Thanksblessings, and Buy Nothing”

Youth Under Survelliance: Privacy Matters

My daughter leaves subtle, but obvious tell-tale signs that she was there:

  • Toothpaste in the sink
  • Sneakers in the middle of the floor
  • Socks in odd places
  • Crumbs on the table

Sound like anyone you know?

For those of us who use social media, there’s a different set of crumbs we all leave behind, even if we’re unaware of it. Our virtual footprint.

Geotags are embedded information that tag the global position where the phone was used to take the picture. It’s part of GPS technology in cell phones that was originally thought to be a feature for emergency crews to track cell phone locations, but it’s now being used in other ways. For example, you take a picture with your cell phone then post it to Facebook. Someone with just a little bit of computer knowledge can figure out location by looking at the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken. Then, the next time you post that you’re going to work or hanging out with friends, online predators can monitor your movement and uncover patterns in your behavior, opening the door for theft. And thanks to websites like (which closed in January 2012), people can monitor social media and let people know when their photos are giving away their locations.

Protecting your privacy is not just a matter of being aware and personally responsible. A friend may take a geotagged photo at your house and post it on a social media site–no malice intended.

Media Literacy Week 2012

The 7th annual Media Literacy Week is October 28 – November 4 in U.S.; November 5 – 9, 2012 in Canada, and the theme is Privacy Matters.   The goal of MLW this year is to encourage parents, teachers and community leaders to help youth better manage their personal information online.

Private Made Public

Young people today spend large amounts of time sharing parts of their personal lives online playing games, “checking in” with geolocation applications like Foursquare and social media sites, posting photos and catching up with friends on social media sites. Despite this openness, young people’s privacy does indeed matter to them, especially as their online actions become increasingly monitored by parents, educators, and corporations.
Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program

Beware of “Kid-Friendly” TV Shows

Just because a show airs on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel does not mean that it portrays characters and situations appropriate for your child.  If your child watches programs with content you’re not sure about, make time to watch programs with them and discuss what’s happening. Evaluate the message the show is portraying, talk about whether you agree, and guide your child on any similar decisions they may face. You can also write letters to broadcast executives if they air content you take exception to.

The Illusion of Choice

Did you know that only 6 companies control the media in the U.S.?

Continue reading “Youth Under Survelliance: Privacy Matters”

Parenting Past Passive Inconvenience

Patience has never my strongest asset, but being a parent has changed me (somewhat). If I really need some time to myself to relax or get some serious work done, and my only child is “bored” and doesn’t have a neighbor available to play with her, she commences to get on my nerves. That’s when I gruffly suggest that she goes to watch TV, play a game online, or find something else to do.

It’s so easy to just dismiss a kid to watch TV or park them in front of a movie with a snack or two. We know that the TV shouldn’t be used as a babysitter, but sometimes that’s just what it is. But just because a show airs on a family-oriented network such as Disney, ABC Family, Nickelodeon/Teen Nick, and the like doesn’t mean there is no questionable content. Are you sure the storylines, characters and premise of the shows reflect most of the values and morals you want to instill in your children? It’s not so bad if we are aware of what our kids are watching.

My posts all this week have discussed the high-level definition of media literacy, and points that parents should not ignore when it comes to their childrens’ media diet. However, I don’t want to give the impression that all media is bad–it’s not all garbage! Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program Continue reading “Parenting Past Passive Inconvenience”