I didn’t think it would happen, but this morning it did.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been hypercritical of V103 Atlanta for basically ignoring the viral conversation occurring about Atlanta’s overwhelmingly negative portrayal through “reality” television. However, I was impressed this morning when they presented a balanced and diverse conversation on the subject. Kelly S. Beaty, author of the viral essay “Will the Real Black People of Atlanta Please Stand Up,” joined Frank Ski, Lorraine White, Mo Ivory and Lovette Russell for an often intense conversation with the city.
Below are tweets from this morning’s discussion. If you have trouble viewing the slide show, click here.
The theme from this morning’s conversation that stood out to me was the fact that it is parents’ responsibility to control what their kids watch and teach them the difference between fiction and reality. I agree with this statement one hundred percent; however, it offers a simplistic perspective on a complex issue.
1) When you have a choice between working two (three or four) jobs to ensure your kids can eat or staying home to ensure they aren’t watching “reality” television shows on cable television, parents are going to choose survival every time. Poverty is real in our country, yet it’s often overlooked or dismissed by those residing in the upper and middle classes, even if they are barely gripping those statuses themselves and can slip down at the loss of one paycheck.
2) Some folks are just bad parents. Period. They are either not raising their kids or mis-raising them. And while we would like that think this is a problem isolated to the households where bad rearing is occurring, it isn’t. These kids ultimately become society’s problem and have a huge impact on the world we live in. If their parents aren’t going to do the job, doesn’t it become our responsibility to pick up the slack and do what we can?
3) Even if I monitor what my child watches, he/she is going to interact with kids who are watching or listening to media images that are negatively affecting them. These kids then influence my child who I have worked diligently to shelter from negative and destructive behaviors. Now what?
It’s imperative for parents to teach and rear their kids. Undoubtedly, parents should be the strongest and most positive influence in their children’s lives. However, this isn’t the reality in a large number of homes any more than what you see on “reality” television is reality. Unless you’ve tried to rear children in our heavily media-focused society this may be extremely difficult to understand. However, I beg of you to attempt to view the situation from a different perspective. At the end of the day community is what gave us–my people, Black people–the strength to overcome 300 years of slavery and the systematic racism that was Jim Crow. Unfortunately, the lack of community we have today is the reason why James Crow is systematically kicking our…butts.