I often wonder what kind of image I am portraying to my son;
what kind of image of a man am I portraying when he looks at me.
Believe me, I make my mistakes and am not always proud of the words
that come out of my mouth or the tone in my voice. I monitor not
only what he watches on the television, but also what I click on
when I think he may not be paying attention. Trust me, they are
ALWAYS paying attention. My days of watching action films, South
Park, and really anything over a PG-13 rating before 9pm are long
gone. But what happens when the image of a man is skewed by
circumstances out of your control?
I recently ventured out of Uptown, as I often do on
and came across this scene pictured in the attached photo. In my
single days, an image like this would not have caused a second
thought, but now as a parent I found it troubling and frightening.
Luckily my son was not with me at the time, but this was in a high
traffic, high crime area with many young children making their way
to school. The images on these "rugs" depict a classic '80s movie
character who happens to be a narcotics dealer holding a smoking
machine gun, and a gunned down '90s gangster rapper with the
message underneath "How long will they mourn me."
Don't get me wrong, I am not a "prude" when it comes to artistic
integrity. My work as an actor has put me on many film sets with
questionable material. I do believe in "artistic freedom." But what
happens when that "artistic freedom" spills over to our street?
What responsibility do we hold as a society to help shield our
children from the images and the inevitable outcome of the
characters on these "rugs?"
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.
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