Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Reading Still is Fundamental

with one comment

Call me your friendly neighborhood pusher.  I got the hook up, yo.  I got what you need.  Even if you think you don’t, I can show you.

“Yo, D?  What you read last?  You need another?  What you like?  Sports?  Mysteries?  Sci-fi?  I can get it for you?  I can find a book for you; just tell me what you like.”

My daughter is trying to put a stop to it.  It embarasses her that I give books as gifts for Christmas, birthdays or just because I think someone would like the message or the story.  No one else gives books, so that is my niche.  When she was 10 she asked me not to give them out anymore.

“Mom, they don’t even want to read the subtitles in movies so they don’t want to read books,” she said angrily trying to reason with me.  “It’s embarassing. Don’t give them out anymore, please.”

To appease her I stopped giving gifts to that side of the family.  To me, giving is like giving a part of myself because I totally feel you can lose and find yourself inside a book.  Fiction and non fiction can help you realize a part of yourself or help you see things in a while different way.  Some feel movies can do the same thing, but its passive where reading is active and sometimes reactive.  I can listen to a story and get one thing but if I read the story myself I get it on a whole different level. 

But then I am in a shrinking minority.  Last month the Associated Press reported a quarter of U.S. adults didn’t read a book in the past year.  For those who did read, women read more than men (reading nine books to their five), liberals read more than conservatives and religious books and popular fiction were the subjects most widely read.  They didn’t break it down along racial lines but if my friends are any indication Zane and other chic lit would be at the top for black women.

So, if Americans on the whole are reading less, then is there a reason to be upset about the latest offering on BET?  Amid the booty shaking, mindless hook videos they are playing a Schoolhouse Rock inspired crunk cartoon that chants “Read a Book”.  CNN had a short segment talking to black parents about whether the cartoon was offensive.

I want to know, have these parents watched BET recently?  One guy was talking about Teen Summit!  That show has been off the air for years.  Have they heard what DJs are playing on the radio?  Last week  a friend of mine told me she had a talk with her 13 year old daughter who was a song that had the term “cock blocking” in the lyrics.  She asked her daughter not to sing it and then had to explain to her what the phrase meant.  Her daughter, who was mindlessly singing the words, was appalled.

“Why did they put something like that on the radio?!”  she cried.  My friend told her she didn’t know, but told her to sing the song around her father because she didn’t want her husband going ballistic.

So, I’m sitting here wondering how parents can be up in arms about the mindless chant of a cartoon to go read a book, take care of your kids and use good hygiene.  Of all the subliminal messages in today’s music that’s put out under the drone of a driving beat I think those are a couple of good ones.  Aside from the profanity I can’t slam the cartoon that much; it makes more sense to me than Soulja Boy’s hit right now (is he speaking English?).  But are we really that worried about what the outside world thinks of us?  Didn’t that kind of go by the wayside with the Luke Skywalker videos back in the early 90s?  Perhaps these parents can petition BET to have better programming on during the afternoon with music videos that don’t look like they were taken from the Playboy channel or maybe have shows that talk about serious issues that concern the community or a show that highlights Black teens making a difference.

Or, better yet these parents can just turn off the TV and have their kids… uh… read a book.  What a novel concept!

Make up your own mind about the video.


Written by rentec

5 September, 2007 at 2:06 pm

One Response

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  1. Freedom,

    Kudos to you! I really love your blog – the names, the posts, everything. You have such a broad knowledge base that you freely draw upon to write for your posts. And you’re so prolific. I stopped by for the first time about 3 days ago and you’ve already zoomed past what I read initially…

    As a fellow bibliophile (sadly with no free time to read) I have to say Reading is Fundamental! I want to be you when I grow up (smile).


    5 September, 2007 at 2:56 pm

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