Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

A package of Original Fruit Skittles.

Is this worth a child's life?

This blog post actually started as a series of tweets regarding the sheer injustice of the Trayvon Martin saga. However, I quickly realized that 140 characters were not nearly sufficient to capture the depth of feelings I have for this case. I have not been filled with such righteous indignation since the execution of Troy Davis.

Those who have followed this blog for a while know that I haven’t written regularly for some time now. However, this case has brought me out of my blog hibernation! The blogosphere, mainstream media and social networks are already buzzing with details regarding the case so I won’t bore you with details here. My goal is to simply add to the dialogue and share my response as a pastor, father, and young black man in America.

As I stated in an earlier tweet, the sad reality in today’s society is that kids are killed every day. We have become numb to it…almost expecting it. It should not be so, but that is the reality. The reason, I believe, that Trayvon Martin’s death resonates with so many is that, apparently, justice died with him. Whenever a vigilante, posing as a neighborhood watchman, can summarily profile, follow and fatally shoot an unarmed teen…AND NOT BE ARRESTED…there is cause for outrage!

George Zimmerman was told by a police dispatcher NOT to pursue Trayvon Martin, yet he chose to disobey that direct warning. There is no doubt that Zimmerman’s pursuit of Trayvon DIRECTLY led to his death. Simply put, if Zimmerman had not disobeyed the authorities, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. However, as senseless as this death is, the lack of response by the local police makes Zimmerman’s actions seem light in comparison. Zimmerman’s actions led to the death of one child. The Sanford PD’s refusal to arrest Zimmerman has the potential to lead to the death of countless others.

Additionally, the lack of justice in this case (at this point) further deepens the wound of a global community and further victimizes anyone who has ever lost a loved one to violence whose killer has never been brought to justice. Every day that George Zimmerman goes free, that fatal gunshot wound continues to pierce the hearts of Trayvon Martin’s parents and the people who love and support him. Justice must be served!

Mr. Zimmerman (and the Sanford PD) are standing behind Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law. This law is designed to protect citizens who respond to an imminent threat against themselves or others in an attempt to defend themselves. The fact that this law is being applied in this case would be comical if it were not so egregious. George Zimmerman was CLEARLY the aggressor in this case. He chose to follow Trayvon. He hunted and confronted an unarmed child and killed him in cold blood. His claim of self-defense is utterly ridiculous! Last I checked, Skittles have not been classified as a deadly weapon. What was he afraid of, that Trayvon would make him “taste the rainbow”?

The lack of justice in this case should be felt far beyond the confines of the Black community. This should enrage the HUMAN community. Whatever your color or creed, we must all unite to speak out against this and any injustice. Parents, pastors, politicians, people of faith….we must demand “Justice For Trayvon.” Perhaps someday a child won’t be considered suspicious because he’s walking down the street with his hoodie on…IN THE RAIN. But until that day, we must continue to do as the prophet, Isaiah admonished us. We must “cry aloud, and spare not.”

Cry a little louder…I still don’t think the Sanford PD heard you!

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A few weeks ago, my five year-old daughter eagerly opened her Happy Meal from McDonald’s and pulled out the toy ‘Smurf’ she had been waiting on. When she opened it she looked up at me with a puzzled face and asked, “Is this a girl smurf?” I looked down, expecting to see ‘Smurfette’ but much to my surprise, she pulled out a ‘Vanity Smurf’ from the box.

'DJ Lance Rock' from Yo Gabba Gabba

After I explained to my daughter as best I could that ‘Vanity Smurf’ was really a boy, I began to think about how kids today are presented with images that are designed to blur the lines of sexuality. While the Smurfs have been around since I was a kid, many newer kid shows have built on the foundation laid by ‘Vanity Smurf.’ Characters like Spongebob Squarepants and the androgynous, ‘DJ Lance Rock’ from Yo Gabba Gabba highlight effeminate male characteristics that, I believe, serve as the entry point to openly introducing alternative lifestyles in the tween and teen years.

In fact, this systematic agenda was brought to the forefront recently when hundreds of people signed a petition for Sesame Street to officially recognize Ernie and Bert as a gay couple and have them get married on the show. On the heels of the New York legislature approving same-sex marriage in their state, advocacy groups decided the best way to push their agenda forward was to target a CHILDREN’S program!

Parents must be aware that children’s programs are now the primary battleground for the introduction of sexual themes and discussions. We cannot allow our TVs to educate our kids about such important issues. With the explosion of the internet age, our children are exposed to so much more than we ever imagined. It is our responsibility to guide the discussion regarding sex and sexuality in our homes – that should not be left up to PBS or Nickelodeon.

Parents must be proactive and protective. Watch what your kids watch. Take the time to sit through an entire episode or episodes and see if there are any veiled or overt references to sex or sexuality. If you feel that the content is mature or misleading…don’t allow them to watch that show.

Some may call that ‘old-fashioned.’ I call it ‘parenting.’ Just because the TV ratings say that it is approved for all audiences doesn’t mean that you have to approve it for your audience. Shows like Sesame Street should stick to educating kids about A’s and B’s…it is the responsibility of parents to teach them about the birds and the bees.

Months after the uproar about Ernie and Bert, Sesame Street was in the news once again this week because hackers replaced their YouTube channel with porn. I guess the message is clear: You can’t let your kids play in the street unattended…even if it is Sesame Street.