The racial parenting divide: What Adrian Peterson reveals about black vs. white child-rearing

The racial parenting divide: What Adrian Peterson reveals about black vs. white child-rearing (Salon)

“In college, I once found myself on the D.C. metro with one of my favorite professors. As we were riding, a young white child began to climb on the seats and hang from the bars of the train. His mother never moved to restrain him. But I began to see the very familiar, strained looks of disdain and dismay on the countenances of the mostly black passengers. They exchanged eye contact with one another, dispositions tight with annoyance at the audacity of this white child, but mostly at the refusal of his mother to act as a disciplinarian. I, too, was appalled. I thought, if that were my child, I would snatch him down and tell him to sit his little behind in a seat immediately. My professor took the opportunity to teach: ‘Do you see how this child feels the prerogative to roam freely in this train, unhindered by rules or regulations or propriety?’

‘Yes,’ I nodded. ‘What kinds of messages do you think are being communicated to him right now about how he should move through the world?’

And I began to understand, quite starkly, in that moment, the freedom that white children have to see the world as a place that they can explore, a place in which they can sit, or stand, or climb at will. The world, they are learning, is theirs for the taking.

Then I thought about what it means to parent a black child, any black child, in similar circumstances. I think of the swiftness with which a black mother would have ushered her child into a seat, with firm looks and not a little a scolding, the implied if unspoken threat of either a grounding or a whupping, if her request were not immediately met with compliance. So much is wrapped up in that moment: a desire to demonstrate that one’s black child is well-behaved, non-threatening, well-trained. Disciplined. I think of the centuries of imminent fear that have shaped and contoured African-American working-class cultures of discipline, the sternness of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ looks, the firmness of the belts and switches applied to our hind parts, the rhythmic, loving, painful scoldings accompanying spankings as if the messages could be imprinted on our bodies with a sure and swift and repetitive show of force.”

This essay reveals uncomfortable truths about our culture that we don’t like to acknowledge, making her words all the more powerful and thought-provoking.


Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed

Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed

“While Mr. [Vincent] Zandri celebrates Amazon as the best thing to happen to storytellers since the invention of movable type, many other writers are denouncing what they see as its bullying tendencies and an inclination toward monopoly.

From household names to deeply obscure scribblers, authors are inflamed this summer, perhaps more deeply divided than at any point in nearly a half-century. Back then, it was the question of being a hawk or dove on Vietnam. Now it is not a war but an Internet retailer and its unparalleled grip on the cultural machinery that is provoking fierce controversy.

At first, those in the publishing business considered Amazon a cute toy (you could see a book’s exact sales ranking!) and a useful counterweight to Barnes & Noble and Borders, chains willing to throw their weight around. Now Borders is dead, Barnes & Noble is weak and Amazon owns the publishing platform of the digital era.”

Excellent breakdown of the Amazon controversy. Why should you care? Because Stephen Colbert said so. Seriously, though – Amazon is a giant, and we should know who we’re buying cheap e-books from. (Not to mention every other household item; I’ll admit to buying bulk toilet paper, toothpaste & shaving cream, too.)

Interested in learning more? Fresh Air did a great interview with Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, entitled One-Stop Shop: Jeff Bezos Wants You To Buy ‘Everything’ On Amazon. 

The Conservatives Who Rebel Against Obama by Blowing Diesel Smoke at Priuses

The Conservatives Who Rebel Against Obama by Blowing Diesel Smoke at Priuses

“Prius Repellent” is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes.

I had initially posted a different article about Rolling Coal, with the hilarious title, Rollin’ Coal Is Pollution Porn for Dudes With Pickup Trucks, but then I thought… let me find something a little bit more thoughtful, and less reactive. This idea still baffles me, but y’know,

“the motivation for political coal rolling is roughly the same one that gets people buying guns and ammo after mass shootings. The expectation, every time, is that liberals will capitalize on the shootings to ban guns, so it’s time to stock up.

The use-it-before-liberals-ban-it instinct is powerful. Since 2007, environmental activists have campaigned for an Earth hour, 60 minutes in which people turn off all electricity. Since 2009, the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute has responded to this with Human Achievement Hour, a call to spend those same 60 minutes by keeping the lights on.”

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

P.S. My friend Emily read this and responded, so I decided to share her comment here, because she knows things about cars, and she’s funny:

The main mistake in all of this is putting a political spin on it. It didn’t start as anything political. In the automotive world, there has always been tension amongst groups… Import cars vs domestic cars, lifted trucks vs lowered trucks, Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge, Audi vs BMW… You name it.

Rollin coal as a “street trend” got its start and popularity when diesel trucks would puke smoke on import cars (mainly Hondas). Why? Because it’s obnoxious. It’s right up there with purging your nitrous valves on another car, revving as you pass another modded car on the highway, and a slew of other silly stuff that car people do to each other. The dislike of the Prius was fueled by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear UK, but it represents a general attitude that follows a population of Prius owners: Simply, they have their nose up in the air because they drive a Prius (complete with Coexist and Namaste stickers) and shop at Whole Foods. The video of the woman going off on a diesel truck owner who had his truck idling in a parking lot did nothing for the popularity (or lack thereof) of the little hybrid.

The attitude “against liberals” has very little to do with who is in office or not in office… It’s more about the attitudes that have been displayed (mainly the condescending tone which both articles posted above are dripping with). The really funny thing about the original article posted is that the truck in the very middle of the photo collage, the red F150… It’s actually burning biodiesel or vegetable oil. Pump diesel gives the dark black smoke. Other alternative fuels burn lighter and with a slight brown tint.

Too Poor for Pop Culture

Too Poor for Pop Culture

Pieces like this remind us to check our privilege at the door.

“It’s amazing how the news seems so instant to most from my generation with our iPhones, Wi-Fi, tablets and iPads, but actually it isn’t. The idea of information being class-based as well became evident to me when I watched my friends talk about a weeks-old story as if it happened yesterday.

Miss Sheryl doesn’t have a computer and definitely wouldn’t know what a selfie is. Her cell runs on minutes and doesn’t have a camera. Like many of us, she’s too poor to participate in pop culture. She’s on public assistance living in public housing and scrambles for odd jobs to survive.”