Quoted: Even When A Study Talks About the Harm of Spanking Many Adults Still in Denial

Renee at Womanist Musings writes about spanking in the black community:

Spankings are often posited as the solution to the high drop out rate, teen pregnancy, and of course the high incarceration rate. If this was really the solution, would these problems continue to plague our communities? Children are being spanked even as I write this and some of them are most certainly headed on a path that is not positive. Discouraging adults from getting help when they need it through shame and other forms of manipulative acts, only exacerbates the problem.

The problems in the community have everything to do with the fact that our children are reared in a White supremacist, patriarchal, homophobic state. They are set up for failure from birth and spanking them is not going to change the issue because the problem is not them, but the culture into which they have been born. Even if they manage to stay out of trouble with the law, avoid pregnancy and drugs, even a university education does not necessarily mean an escape. When you have people with doctorates applying for food stamps, clearly the imbalance is causing a system wide collapse.

What our children need is love and support, not more violence in a world that is more than capable of being violent towards them in various forms. They need to see their parents as a safe place to land. They need to feel comfort from our touch, not fear. By the very nature of being children, they are going to make mistakes, attention seek in negative ways and just generally be irritating but none of that should result in physical violence. If I cannot hit an adult who has done something wrong, then it should not be legal to slap, spank, or push a child who is so much more vulnerable. Read more…

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A love poem for single mothers

originally published at Crunk Feminist Collective

Hey girl, I’m calling

Cause I got your text

Seems you might need a hug

And a minute to vent

So you spent one more night

Trying to find the words

To explain that joint parenting

Means JOINT WORK!

That what he can’t pay for

Can be supplemented with time

Especially since you’re working

And studying at night

He seems to believe

That you are well paid

Even though you are overqualified

For a job that you hate

But you stay cause you have to

And your boss knows that well

But her singing your praises

Is not paying your bills

And you’re tired I know

Because you tell me so

From the bullshit at work

To the bullshit at home

Cause he said he was coming

But then something came up

You finally made plans

But now you are stuck

He says they can visit

Now that he’s moved away

As long as you pay for

Plane tickets each way

Now he’s taking you to court

Because he has not seen them

But has not paid ANY child support

Since you left him

You are buying the school clothes

Supplies and new shoes

Paying for aftercare

Shopping for good schools

There’s soccer, dance class

And pediatric care

Dropping off, picking-up

Brushing her hair

Managing the five emotions

they have in five minutes

Begging for bathroom privacy

until you are finished

All this seems to happen

In a matter of weeks

You are wanting to scream

You can barely speak

So just bring them over

You need some time

To breath, do yoga,

Sleep and unwind,

Have sex if you want to

Do nothing at all

They can hang with their auntie

I was waiting for your call

And here is some money

For that overdue bill

Some tickets to a play

A container with a meal

Don’t fight me just take it

You deserve a full day

To get yourself centered

To just get away

And when you return

Feeling rested and loved

You’ll get your children, a small bag of dirty clothes

And that hug.

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No, I’m Not Her Mammy, Thanks

I’ve been a mama for eight years, nine if you consider the 36 weeks my uterus was being rented out by my daughter Tiny Smalls. I’ve been a Black woman for over three decades and have experienced various levels of overt, covert, poorly hidden and slickly disguised discrimination and racism. I’ve seen and experienced some things. And while I’m not one to lament, there have been a few situations where I may have suppressed my desire to clock someone in the eye.

Picture it, Brooklyn, summer 2004. I was a brand new mama, enjoying a park bench with Itty Bitty Smalls as she sat in her stroller giggling and throwing her hands in the air, waving them like she just didn’t care. Of course this was spurred on by my rhyming MC Lyte’s “Paper Thin” because I couldn’t recall any lullabies and wanted her to nap; we were having a blast. A white woman in her mid-30′s or so approaches us, smiles, and casually mentions how “well I am taking care of her.” She then asks me how long the baby had “been in my care” and if I were interested in “caring for others.”

Gasp, cough! Say what now?

It took my mind a few seconds to register what she meant and scenes from Pinky and Imitation of Life (1934 and 1959 versions)raced across my mind. This woman thought that I was my child’s mammy nanny. I’d already gotten funny looks from folks when she and I would be the only brown mama-child duo out in the middle of the day chillin’ as we are known to do. It was if the public visibility of day was reserved for white women and children or nannies and charges and I should be in the fields harvesting that cotton crop. Insert Negro Spiritual.

Now I’m not mad at nannies, maybe I’m a little pissed at a culture which exploits brown women’s labor and the smug, self-righteous folks (not all, but I’ve met quite a few) who indulge in paying subsistence wages for childcare. But I was pissed that this woman assumed that I, a Black woman, having a hilariously tender moment with her 4-month old daughter on a gorgeous day was not her mama. Yes, Tiny Smalls is lighter complected than I, but so what? If you’ve ever seen more than 2 Black folks from the same family, you know that we can vary widely. And hell, I am pretty confident in saying that most everyone in these modern United States have been exposed to the Huxtables. Denise and Sandra sure looked a lot different than Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. Not to mention that this took place in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a neighborhood lauded for its elitism liberalism; a community filled with educated folks who if they have not a) known more than 1 Black person in a family; or b) watched Cliff and them; then they definitely were exposed to c) Mendelian genetics in high school, so there is no excuse for the assumption, at all. Because you know, Black women just can’t love their children in broad daylight.

As I quickly gathered my thoughts, I decided to speak freely and responded something like, “I’ve been taking care of her ever since I peed on the stick and received a positive response.” It was her turn to gasp, get flustered, turn red and stammer. She mumbled an apology and walked off. Itty Bitty Smalls and I went back to our cipher of 2, right after I called my mama and told her what happened.

Since then, I’ve continued to get questions from strangers asking what Tiny Smalls is mixed with and I usually respond with “Negro and Black” or “Gullah and Colored” primarily because it’s none of their business. Really, what does it matter to them? Folks are always going to be fascinated with “race” and it’s “mixtures” for whatever reason, but as long as Tiny Smalls continues to introduce me to her friends as “My mommy, Aiesha Turman”, she and I are going to be alright.

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Gender-fluid piece in NYT insulting to girls and women

Written by Love Isn’t Enough contributor Margot Magowan; originally published at Reel Girl

The New York Times piece on gender-fluid kids reinforces so many stereotypes, I’ve got to go through them.

Let’s start with sentence #1:

The night before Susan and Rob allowed their son to go to preschool in a dress, they sent an e-mail to parents of his classmates. Alex, they wrote, “has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows).”

Here, the writer, Ruth Padawer, sets up a series of stereotyped binary/ boy-girl opposites: soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas, lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows. I waited for her to explore any reasons why our culture promotes this symbology. Unfortunately, I waited for the whole article.

Why are princesses considered to be the epitome of femininity? Could it, perhaps, have little do with with genes and everything to do with the fact that perpetuating the image of a passive, “pretty” female is popular in a patriarchal culture? Just maybe?

A few more sentences down:

Some days at home he wears dresses, paints his fingernails and plays with dolls; other days, he roughhouses, rams his toys together or pretends to be Spider-Man.

Most kids on Planet Earth would paint their fingernails if they weren’t told and shown by grown-ups that it’s a “girl thing.” Nail polish has nothing to do with penises or vulvas or genes, or even anything as deep and profound as “”gender fluidity.” To kids, nail polish is art play, brushes and paint. That’s it. Oh, right, art is for girls. Unless you’re a famous artist whose paintings sell for the most possible amount of money. Then art is for boys.

On an email that Alex’s parents sent to his school:

Of course, had Alex been a girl who sometimes dressed or played in boyish ways, no e-mail to parents would have been necessary; no one would raise an eyebrow at a girl who likes throwing a football or wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt.

What? Does this writer have young daughters? Has Padawer heard about the boy’s baseball team from Our Lady of Sorrows that recently forfeited rather than play a girl? Or what about Katie, the girl who was bullied just because she brought her Star Wars lunch box, a “boy thing,” to school? Does Padawer know Katie’s experience isn’t unusual? How rare it is to find a girl today who isn’t concerned that a Spider-Man shirt (or any superhero shirt or outfit) is boyish and that she’ll be teased if she wears it? My whole blog, Reel Girl, is about that “raised eyebrow.” Has Padawer seen summer’s blockbuster movie “The Avengers” with just one female to five male superheroes? The typical female/ male ratio? Or how “The Avengers” movie poster features the female’s ass? Think that might have something to do with why females care more than males about how their asses are going to look? You can see the poster here along with the pantless Wonder Woman. Does Padawer get or care that our kids are surrounded by these kinds of images in movies and toys and diapers and posters every day? How can Padawer practically leave sexism out of a New York Times piece 8 pages long on gender?

Continue reading

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LIE Links

Olympic Oppression? Gabby Douglas and Smile Politics [Crunk Feminist Collective]

I’m cheering for all of them, but I have a soft spot for the girls of color on the team, including African American Gabby Douglas, and Kyla Ross, who is of African-American, Japanese, Puerto Rican, and Dominican descent.

As with most sports coverage though, every time a Black girl participates in a sport traditionally dominated by white women, you can count on the commentators to show their asses. And they did not disappoint yesterday.

17 year old, reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify to compete for the individual all-around finals. As shocking as it was for all of us, it must be truly tough to have your life long dream dashed before a watching world. And I agree with Bela Karolyi that the top 24 girls regardless of country should compete in the all arounds, rather than the top 2 from each country.

Be that as it may,  Jordyn’s best friend and teammate Aly Raisman will compete for gold along with Gabby Douglas. But Jordyn’s understandable disappointment in no way justifies the uneven and downright biased coverage that Gabby received for her performance.

Disney’s ‘Doc McStuffins’ Connects With Black Viewers [New York Times]

Aimed at preschoolers, “Doc McStuffins” centers on its title character, a 6-year-old African-American girl. Her mother is a doctor (Dad stays home and tends the garden), and the girl emulates her by opening a clinic for stuffed animals. “I haven’t lost a toy yet,” she says sweetly to a sick dinosaur in one episode.

The series, which made its debut in March on the Disney Channel and a new cable network called Disney Junior, is a ratings hit, attracting an average of 918,000 children age 2 to 5, according to Nielsen data. But “Doc McStuffins” also seems to have struck a cultural nerve, generating loud applause on parent blogs, Facebook and even in academia for its positive vocational message for African-American girls.

“It truly warmed my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes when my 8-year-old, Mikaela, saw ‘Doc McStuffins’ for the first time and said, ‘Wow, mommy — she’s brown,’ ” Kia Morgan Smith, an Atlanta mother of five, wrote on her blog Cincomom.com. Myiesha Taylor, a Dallas doctor who blogs at CoilyEmbrace.com, took her praise a step further, writing, “This program featuring a little African-American girl and her family is crucial to changing the future of this nation.”

Why the Muppets Are Cooler than You [Ars Marginal]

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Open Thread

What’s on your mind this week?

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Gratuitous Cute Kid Pic

LIE reader Melissa sent a photo of her sweet Emma with this note: “Emma’s first hair cut! We went to an area AA salon and Emma loved it! Fabulous experience! :)

What a cutie!

Got cute kids? Send us a photo so we can show them off! Repeat submissions welcome.

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No Booty Shaking Allowed

We’ve all probably seen our fair share of internet videos with little girls dropping it like it’s hot and giving it all they’ve got. I’m not linking to any of them, because I pretty much think they’re kiddie porn. All of the ones that have crossed my path have been set to the latest hip-hop release; music that I don’t think that little kids should be listening to.

But hold up, wait a minute!

The last thing I would do is tell a parent what and what not to share with their child, but regardless of race, class, or any other systems or dividing lines, some things really should be universal. Now this is coming from someone whose mama has been a Prince fan since he was on album covers wearing panties and thigh highs. In fact, I was “put out” of preschool singing the lyrics from his hit “Head” during station time. I mean, what else would I sing while making pretend lunch in our tiny play kitchen? So you see, I know what I’m talking about.

I also happen to be anti-remade music with young folks singing songs formerly made by adults. You know, anything with the word “Bop” in the title. They’re hollow, soulless and stunting, but I digress.

I can’t control what Tiny Smalls hears when we’re out in the street, but I have a pretty good reign on what she hears at home, though sometimes, keeping the radio on our local R&B station I just let it play and she’s wound up incorporating the chorus of R. Kelly’s “Share My Love” into a personal love song for yours truly. I may have my own issues with R-uh, but this was pretty harmless. And if you ask her who her favorite musicians are, you’ll get a range from Michael Jackson, Shalimar, Earth Wind & Fire to Beyonce and Jill Scott. While there’s no hip-hop on that list (yet), she gets a good earful of all the groups I loved during the golden era of the 90′s–songs that were good musically, lyrically, and consciously. She recently realized that Salt-N-Pepa were saying “push it” not “squish it.”

When the time comes and she’s listening to more of what she wants to listen to, I’m taking my cue from my own mom who came home with N.W.A’s first CD, gave it to me, an told me to listen. We later had discussion about it, covering all the bases from race, class and gender and everything in-between.

Until then, I’m going to relax and watch her bust out the robot to “Dancing Machine” or gaze in awe as she choreographs modern dance pieces to Otis Redding, because up in here, there is no booty-shaking allowed.

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Including Racial History in School Curricula

Written by Gwen Sharp. Originally posted at Sociological Images

Way back in January, Dolores R. sent us a link to an illustration of how not to integrate social studies into the math curriculum, posted at SocialisTexan. Apparently some teachers in Gwinnett County, Georgia, thought it would be good to have some math word problems that connected to lessons from social studies, including racial history and slavery. One of them wrote some questions, which nine different 3rd-grade teachers approved; when the issue came to light, four had distributed them as part of a homework assignment. Parents complained upon seeing the questions, which many felt were inappropriate. For example, some questions asked students to calculate how much cotton or oranges slaves would pick, while another asked, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”:

The teacher who created the questions later resigned and apologized. From all appearances, he really was trying to think of some way to connect different aspects of the curriculum. However, this chosen method was…very poorly thought out. The homework questions are insensitive, seeming to trivialize the violence of slavery rather than reinforce history lessons about it in a useful manner.

So how might topics from social studies, math, and other areas of the curriculum be integrated in a useful way? Sylvia Glauster, a middle school math teacher at The Ancona School in Chicago, emailed us about one example that I think connects discussions of racial history to math in a much more constructive manner.

Sylvia said that she often uses Soc Images posts to spark discussion among students, and that some of her students became particularly interested in racist images, including those in a post Lisa wrote several months ago about the historical meanings behind images of African Americans with watermelons: “Initially, they were not sure why some of the pictures could be viewed as racist, and hypothesized that their friends might also miss the connections that the blog post explains.”

So they got busy and developed a study to investigate further. Two students — 5th-grader Morgan and 6th-grader Sara (whose parents gave permission for their names to be used here) — chose five images and surveyed a random sample of 34 other students to see how many found the images racist. The students explain:

We started out by making a survey chart and getting pictures that we thought were racist. Next, we surveyed people anonymously. With all our data that we collected we made pie charts [for African Americans, Whites, and Other race/ethnicities].

The students had two hypotheses:

Before we started the survey we thought that the African American people would have more yes’s because they might have had similar racial experiences. Most of the pictures are targeted at African Americans. We also thought that the 7th and 8th graders would say yes [they are racist] to more of the pictures because they are older than the 5th and 6th graders [and have had more experience].

The overall results:

The students had a good introduction to the research process. While one of their hypotheses was upheld, the other wasn’t:

We found that the 7th and 8th graders said yes to more of the pics. Our hypothesis was right. But our hypothesis for the African Americans was wrong. The Caucasians said yes to more of the pics.

Interestingly, Sylvia says that “students were least likely to find the caricature of Jafar [from Aladdin] racist, which my students think is probably because our culture is more aware of racism against African Americans.”

This, I think, is a more thoughtful cross-curricular activity. It doesn’t just shoehorn some references to slavery or racial history into a math problem in a superficial way. Students thought critically about the topic and the larger social and historical context, all while practicing important skills in math and statistical analysis.

I’m sure that guiding students through a project of this sort takes significantly more planning and effort than writing the word problems did. But that’s part of the point: if you want to help students understand our complicated racial/ethnic history, as well as how race operates in our society today, you can’t do it on the cheap. It takes careful thought and a lot of preparatory work by the instructor to create activities and materials that foster critical thinking in a sensitive, appropriate way. Kudos to Sylvia for providing a good example, and to Sara and Morgan for doing such a nice job on their project!

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LIE Links

African American Youth At Risk: Stress from Racial Discrimination [Washington University]

Exposure to stress can increase the risk for violent behaviors and depressive symptoms for African-American young adults. Different types of stress, particularly racial discrimination, can influence the level of this risk, finds a new study by Lorena Estrada-Martínez, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

The study, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, examined whether different kinds of stressors equally influence the risk for violent behaviors and depressive symptoms among African Americans transitioning into young adulthood (ages 19-25).

“Results indicate that stressors do not equally impact the risk for violent behavior,” Estrada-Martínez says. “African-American youth who were at greatest risk for engaging in violent behaviors while transitioning into adulthood were those who experienced higher levels of racial discrimination in addition to general daily stressors.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning [Heart, Mind, and Seoul]

From the moment she was born and arguably even in utero, my daughter has never not known a time when her needs have not been acknowledged. The timely responsiveness of attentive and consistent caretakers, namely the woman who gave birth to her, is her only reality. From her first cry, the same person has been there to validate and affirm her existence. The same can be said for my brothers (who are my parent’s biological children) as well as many of you who are reading this. In my opinion, my daughter had unlimited access to every resource available as she started her life. Not so for myself or my son or for most other adopted persons. Many of us were abandoned and our cries for food, for touch, for recognition fell upon deaf ears until we were found. Some of us were hospitalized and were not able to have access to skin-to-skin contact for days, weeks, months or even years. And still some of us had a revolving door of caretakers who depending on the circumstances, could not attend to even our very basic needs in an acceptable amount of time that told us that we mattered, that we were important to someone – that we actually existed.

In the case of the opening scenario, it’s easy to see how one’s circumstances in life can more easily influence our choices than others. It’s not that I consciously wanted to feel unworthy, unloved or unwanted throughout my life, it’s just that given my life’s beginnings I had to work that much harder at feeling worthy, loved and wanted in life. One could argue that since the day I was adopted I have never been shown anything but continuous acts that have repeatedly demonstrated just how worthy, loved and wanted I really was, and that would be true. And to be sure, that went a long way in not only helping me to find my own self-worth, but believing it, too. But so too did my earliest beginnings marked by abandonment, separation and loss go a long way in inscribing an imprint in my both my brain and in my body that will forever be with me. Understanding that notion has allowed me to more gentle and much kinder to myself. I was adopted in an era where the impact of abandonment and loss was minimized at best, some even thought of it as a myth that we adoptees used as an excuse for our “poor choices”. Adoptive parents today know better and today’s adoptees deserve for our beginnings to be acknowledged and affirmed.

Class and Race as Competing Self Interests or Whiteness as Symbolic Politics, Part. 1 [race-talk; Kirwan Institute]

If we accept the proposition that symbolic attitudes like party-affiliation and racial prejudice are more powerful drivers of political preferences and voting behavior than self-interest, how can we use this information to frame the dialogue for a progressive political agenda, to build support for liberal ideology and liberal political candidates? Within this context, will an appeal to class interests, absent a salient discussion of race and American racial politics further this goal? These questions cannot be answered without an understanding of “whiteness,” the implicit need to maintain boundaries around idealized and tangible white space.

In America, “whiteness” is a dominant symbolic attitude. It is the collective unconscious belief that certain people are entitled to a position at the top of an imagined social/political/economic hierarchy, that this is the natural order of things. Author Ruth Frankenberg (1993) defines whiteness as a structural location that confers exclusive privilege, “a standpoint from which to view and assess Self and Other, and a set of cultural practices that is usually unmarked, unnamed, and normatively given.” Even among white ethnic immigrants, whiteness is profoundly important in America. Frankenberg maintains that conflicts over the meaning of whiteness and Americanness precipitated by European immigrants have been resolved through processes of assimilation, not exclusion. Euro-ethnic mobility into whiteness, she suggests, was facilitated by shifts in social climate that the 1940s war effort engendered by state policies and subsidies. Scholar john powell (2005), currently Director of UC Berkeley’s Haas Diversity Research Center, has suggested that the development of racialized identity in America coincided with the historic development of the American psyche and that, therefore, White Americans are heavily invested in maintaining the boundaries around whiteness that regulate the distribution of benefits. This view suggests a dynamic synergy between whiteness and patriotism.

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Oh No, Not The TV!

Written by Love Isn’t Enough contributor Aiesha Turman

I don’t own a television. In fact, on one of my mother’s recent visits, she jokingly called my lack of a TV barbaric. At least I think she was joking. When I tell people that I don’t own a television, they usually give me a glassy-eyed stare or an exaggerated gasp. I’ve even had people say that I’m “on that crazy white people hippy stuff.” Um, no. It’s not as though I am telling them I don’t own a shower or I own a brothel–not that being a brothel owner is wrong or anything–I just don’t own a television. It’s not the end of the world, really.

I gave up owning a television when my now 8 year-old daughter was around 5. Yes, I owned a television. I’ve been to the darkside, but it was time for me to give it up. You see, past the age of 5 or 6, there really isn’t much culturally relevant media, let alone television. Unlike my childhood, where I had everything from Reading Rainbow, Soul Train and Wonder Woman (in my child-mind, Lynda Carter was light-skinned) to being able to see an all-Black cast in that cinematic epic, The Wiz, my daughter has scant choices. She’s outgrown Little Bill and lost interest in Dora quite some time ago. She’s not quite old enough for Raven or True Jackson on DVD and frankly, I got tired of all the materialism pushed on child television. Really, how many types of cereal are there?

Here’s the thing, I think it’s vitally important for my daughter to view, engage and interact with media that represents her. I am not interested in a show where there is a token brown person used as filler. I see myself as lucky. As I continued to grow and develop, there was always great media that reflected me from my childhood, to my adolescence and beyond. I had everything from The Cosby Show, A Different World, BET’s Teen Summit, Family Matters, 227, and Martin to films like the House Party series and everything Spike Lee made in the 80′s to mid-90′s. I was able to see my life and the lives of my friends reflected–the good, bad and the fly.

That’s not the case these days and instead of inundating my daughter with media that doesn’t reflect her or her life, we got rid of the television. It may seem a drastic measure, but it’s not. This also doesn’t mean that we keep her away from all media, because we don’t. There are Netflix and Hulu and she and her dad are big movie-goers–mostly animation and sci-fi.

The benefits of our having no television, to me, are priceless: I get to be extremely selective with the media we view; we actually spend more quality time with one another and the money I save from paying a cable bill has been re-allocated to her dance and art classes with a little extra each month allocated to her college fund. And let’s face it, television is addictive. There have been many times that I’ve sat down to watch an hour program and by the time I take a bathroom break, thre hours have gone by. However, I must admit that I do miss the epic specials on A&E and the History Channel, but I’m good. I can still stream PBS online when I need my docu-fix.

One day, maybe when she’s 10 and ready have and understand deeper conversations about media representation, I’ll re-subscribe to a cable service. Until then, we are perfectly fine with our DVDs, occasional YouTube viewing and the extra time to just be with one another that not having a television affords us.

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Introducing a new Love Isn’t Enough Contributor!

LIE is thrilled to welcome Aiesha Turman!

Aiesha is a Brooklyn-based mama, educator and filmmaker who is passionate about Black women and girls and their self-actualization. She believes that music heals and can be often be found having an 80′s dance party with her daughter in their living room. Find out more from her website.

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Open Thread

Tell us what is on your mind this week.

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Gratuitous Cute Kid Pic

It’s Thursday, time for another gratuitous cute kid pic. Here’s LIE reader Heather’s sweet Natalia, 20 months, trying on sunglasses. What a cutie!

Got cute kids? Send us their photos so that we can show them off!

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LIE Links

Girls for Gender Equity Helps Girls Take Aim at Sexual Harassment [Clutch Magazine, by our very own Tami Winfrey Harris!]

Catcalls were such a common experience to Kayla, a youth organizer with Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), a Brooklyn-based, grassroots organization devoted to the development of girls and women, that she did not view those things as sexual harassment. In Hey Shorty, GGE’s guide to combatting sexual harassment in schools and on the streets, Kayla says, “It’s this thing that happens to you, because you’re a girl.”

Supporting young women of color in combating harassment is just one way that GGE enacts its mission. GGE and its allies are among those doing real work to help the next generation of women grow up strong and self-assured. According to its mission, GGE is addresses the physical, psychological, social and economic development of girls and women through education, organization and physical fitness.

Joanne Smith, group founder, says GGE arose from her work with young girls and the realization of how few outlets and services were available to them. Smith wanted to help protect girls from unsafe streets and provide a place where they “could express themselves and feel a sense of agency and freedom.”

Video HERE.

Working Mother Smackdown? Moving This “Debate” Where It Needs to Go [PunditMom]

While this is a discussion worth having, the one question we rarely debate is about whether or not men have it all. Do they want it all? Do they care? And how do we create a society where the questions about tackling the issues of parenting are ones that are shared equally by mothers and fathers? I know that my husband, the guy I affectionately call “Mr. PunditMom” doesn’t have the same expectations of where and when he’s supposed to be at work vs. doing the dad thing. And he doesn’t struggle with it. There’s no question that parenting is a team sport. And my husband has definitely done his share of all sorts of parenting duties. But someone needs to stay in a job with insurance benefits and that has a salary to pay the bills. And, yes, that could have been me if I’d stayed on the professional path and he’d been the one to step off. But we made a decision that worked for us, without me realizing that there would be a whole lot of judgment going on in the world of moms and the media.

I’m just glad I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t take it to heart (much) anymore when others share their disappointment over how my personal life decisions impact the feminist movement and the advancement of all women.

“Dear White People”: Hollywood, are you listening? [Washington Post]

“Dear White People” is the brainchild of Justin Simien, 29, who started writing a screenplay about the cultural nuances that come along with being “a black face in a very white place”after he graduated from Chapman University, where he studied film. Two years ago he claimed the Twitter handle of the same name and started a chorus of tweets and retweets.

His screenplay features four black students and their experiences at the fictional, predominantly-white Manchester University, where an “African American”-themed party thrown by white students results in a riot.

Simien used Twitter to fine-tune the voice of “Sam White,” one of the main characters. In the trailer, Sam echoes some of the Twitter account’s quips. “DearWhitePeople. No need to start a Dear Black People. The programing on @VH1 has made us acutely aware of what you think of us.”

[Note: You can help fund "Dear White People" at Indiegogo.]

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Open thread

Anything you’d like to talk about? It’s been awfully quiet around here lately!

I thought this was a really interesting piece on the mixed messages kids get about bullying. Caught it last night on the drive home.

Feel free to share other links to things you’ve been listening to or reading in the comments.

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Gratuitous Cute Kid Pic

It’s Thursday–time for another gratuitous cute kid pic! Here’s LIE reader Kureen’s darling baby.

Got cute kids? Send us a photo so we can show them off!

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Just for fun

Michelle Obama jumps double-dutch, something I always wanted to do as a kid but never mastered. Enjoy.

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LIE Links

We’ve been getting all kinds of pingbacks since this Huffington Post piece came out–it references an old LIE article on racial preference in adoption:

Why are so many celebrities adopting black babies? [Huffington Post]

In the last month, both Charlize Theron and Jillian Michaels went public with the news of adding to their family through adoption. In both cases, their new additions are black children, which has sparked a flurry of Internet commenters to question the “trend” of white celebrities adopting black babies. This conversation has become a predictable subject every time a celebrity adopts a child of color. It usually takes a cynical tone, as if black children are a fashionable accessory… this year’s Manolo Blahniks. Frankly, I’m a little weary of the scrutiny, and of the idea that transracial adoption is merely a trend. I’m going to attempt to answer that question, and then I’m going to suggest some more relevant questions we should be asking about race and adoption.

Video Report  on Protest Vs. Stop & Frisk Policies

From Democracy Now, a report on Sunday’s silent march to protest the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policies:

Petition to Boy Scout board leader to end discrimination against gay scouts and leaders [Change.org]

Jennifer Tyrell was told a couple of months ago that she could no longer lead her son’s Cub Scout troop because she’s gay. A petition she started garnered nearly 300,000 signatures, and for the first time, the Boy Scouts are considering allowing openly gay scouts and leaders.

Tyrell has started a new petition to one of the most prominent members of the Boy Scouts board: AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson. The petition urges Stephenson to support the resolution to allow openly gay scouts and leaders.

Sign here.

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Longer Link: The Scars of Stop-And-Frisk

[The New York Times]

[Extraordinarily moving video of Tyquah Brehon here.]

The practice of stop-and-frisk has become increasingly controversial, but what is often absent from the debate are the voices of young people affected by such aggressive policing on a daily basis. To better understand the human impact of this practice, we made this film about Tyquan Brehon, a young man who lives in one of the most heavily policed neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

By his count, before his 18th birthday, he had been unjustifiably stopped by the police more than 60 times. On several occasions, merely because he asked why he had been stopped, he was handcuffed, placed in a cell and detained for hours before being released without charges. These experiences were scarring; Mr. Brehon did whatever he could to avoid the police, often feeling as if he were a prisoner in his home.

His fear of the police also set back his education. At one high school he attended, he recoiled at the heavy presence of armed officers and school security agents. “I would do stuff that would get me suspended so I could be, like, completely away from the cops,” he recalled. He would arrive late, cut classes and refuse to wear the school uniform. Eventually, he was expelled.

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