December 2004


We were sleeping on the job On page 24 of the November 2004 issue you show a picture of a baby sleeping face down. (“ZZZs are important for ABC’s”) Not to be hyper, but shouldn’t babies always lay on their back?  I thought you guys would be careful about that. PETER ERDELYI Chicago

Editor’s Note: We apologize. You are right. We should not have run that picture. In our rush to highlight Shawalit Celso Molina, the new son of our new calendar editor, we made an error in illustrating the story on sleep. In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended all healthy infants be placed on their backs to sleep because it significantly decreased the likelihood a child would die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). That move and the national “Back to Sleep” campaign, launched in 1994, are credited with a significant statistical decrease in the incidents of SIDS. Chicago Parent regrets the oversight. Thanks for discussing asthma I cannot agree with you more in regards to your focus on the asthma problem in the city and suburbs of Chicago (October 2004). I have three healthy children who are products of nonsmoking parents, a breastfeeding mother and homegrown foods (among other factors that should keep them safe from asthma). All three of my children have asthma. We are running the nebulizer constantly. The skyrocketing prices of these asthma medications are outrageous in themselves. Thank you for trying to bring attention to this growing epidemic. Hopefully this will cause a ripple in the ocean of pollution related problems in this area. Now, if only we can do something about the water! COLLEEN MCELROY Worth Think about all racism I commend Chicago Parent for featuring a quality African-American writer. I want to make it clear, I have nothing against Harriette Gillem Robinet’s Children of the Fire, (November, 2004) but I am concerned with the cover art of this one particular book. I realize authors may have little control over covers, but based on the cover alone, as an African-American parent, I would never buy this book for my children. The power of the image cannot be understated. Once again we are treated to the image of the finely-attired Caucasian child with golden curls leading the bug-eyed, mouth-hanging-open black child with the “pick-a-ninny” hair-do to safety. These images only serve to reinforce the myth of white supremacy that too many publishers (and, dare I say, readers) are still comforted by. I am also wary of praising dubious black achievements such as “rescuing bags of cash” during a fire, as Robinet’s character, Hallelujah, does. I am also knowledgeable about black history and wonder how a man risking his life for someone else’s cash is a black achievement? Unless one thinks that a black man’s life is worth risking for a white man’s money? And I am not ignorant of the basics of marketing. I showed this article to several of my African-American colleagues and their reaction was the same as mine. Only one disagreed. They have been on the negative receiving end of these messages. If the book is about an African-American child, why was there a need to put a Caucasian child on the cover? That’s easy: Without her the book would have been characterized as a “black book,” not simply a historical book and white parents wouldn’t have bought it. It’s the same marketing tact that caused J.K. Rowling not to use her full name, Joanne. Publishers felt that boys wouldn’t want a book written by a woman. So they played to the sexism with “J.K.” and sold the books. Racism isn’t always growling cross burners on your lawn or blatant use of the “N” word. It is the subtle, almost imperceptible, everyday slight that people can barely see—the type that others call “disrespectful” when people like myself protest against them. It’s the slow poison that has black children in 2004 still using phrases such as “good hair” and calling each other black (referring to skin tone) as a slur. From what did we learn that dark skin and kinky hair is bad? The myth of white supremacy. And why won’t that monster die? Reinforcement of myths and stereotypes in mass media. At times racism is pretending we don’t even exist. White historians didn’t just ignore black contributions, they saw them clearly, knew that this information was a threat to their superiority and consciously choose to hide and deny them. Robinet, I’m sure, knows this even better than myself. Maybe someday those with power over mass images will know, too. But I suspect that they already do. They just don’t care. I plan to send my concerns to this publisher. I truly admire Chicago Parent. Yours is one of the strongest, most well-respected voices that people who care about children have. Those children deserve to inherit a world where racism, sexism, homophobia and prejudice are not tolerated in any form. OKIMA M. HITT Chicago No. Thank you, Allie Thank you so very much for putting my name in Chicago Parent (“Old is new again in video world” by Sylvia Ewing, October, 2004). My teachers and relatives were all greatly impressed. We showed the people in the library and they all said that I would have a full portfolio by age 13!  As always, thank you for making something very special. ALLIE SAKOWICZ Park Ridge School guide recommended I love your magazine and I appreciate all your hard work. I am reading a book that I think other parents would find helpful. Maybe your readers could look at: The Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child’s School With Confidence by Bryan C. Hassel and Emily Ayscue Hassel. You can find out more about it at www.pickyparent.com. DIANE DUGARD Chicago


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