Monday, July 27, 2009
A scoop-full of thanks
I am a new reader to your printed publication (and just checked out your Web site). My husband and I adopted a 5-year-old boy last year. As a new parent, I am reading Chicago Parent from beginning to end—yep, cover to cover. I read with interest the item on Edy’s Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute Contest ("Let’s all scream for ice cream," March 2009) and on a whim decided to submit a short essay.
Well, surprisingly, we recently found out we are one of the winners. I am very excited to inform my neighbors. I wouldn’t have known about the contest if it wasn’t for Chicago Parent. Thank you for the "scoop!"
One pose is worth 1,000 words
I am the African-American director of a child care center that receives Chicago Parent. It is an excellent magazine that my parents, staff and I enjoy. However, I was disappointed and saddened by the picture of little 6-year-old Mykal (April 2009), who was dressed and posturing in a hip-hop pose. Even with the election of a black president, many people still see black males as thugs and gangsters. Many of the finger movements and the poses originate in the gang culture.
The fault is not totally yours. Mom and dad apparently thought it was a cute picture and worth publishing. I don’t think so; it encourages and sustains the stereotype of black men and boys as dangerous and to be avoided. We don’t have to dress like Steve Erkle, but it is very important that from an early age young black men carry themselves in a way that commands respect.
We take a lot of pictures that are published on our Web site and displayed all over our center but when our kindergarteners take the kind of pose that Mykal has, I will not publish them. I have let the teachers and children know that theses poses are not appropriate in school.
I thought and prayed about addressing this for three days and, as an educator, I couldn’t not put in my two cents.
Jackie Smizer, MEd
Safer sleeping: Babies should be placed on backs to sleep
I am writing because of the inexcusable picture and the lack of full and accurate information used for an article entitled "Putting baby to sleep safely" in the July 2009 issue of Chicago Parent. I was appalled that an article on safe sleep practices neglected to mention the massive "Back to Sleep" Campaign from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (www.nichd.nih.gov/sids) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org/healthtopics/Sleep.cfm) to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Not only did the article not mention sleep position as a part of safety measures for parents, but the picture accompanying this article has the mother putting the baby to sleep on her stomach; this is incorrect and misinforms your readers.
The safest way for a baby to sleep is on his/her back, for naps and overnight.
Michele L. Shade, MPH, DrPHc
Illinois DocAssist Program
Department of Psychiatry
University of Illinois at Chicago
I was reading your publication and noticed the small article about "Putting the baby safely to sleep" (July 2009), but noticed one problem. The picture accompanying it has the baby sleeping on its belly. Please make sure your readers know it’s not safe to place their babies on their bellies to go to sleep until they are able to roll over on their own.
In the June 2009 issue (Feedback), supposed Chicago Parent reader Raymond Kohn implies your suggestion that parents have their children write three positive things about President Barack Obama ("Embrace the differences and similarities," February 2009) somehow prostrates us all before "the altar of Obama."
That’s interesting reasoning, but Barack Obama is the first African-American to be elected president and by any objective measure was elected at a time of great economic and social despair in the United States. Those are reasons for praise and inspiration. Many American children who could name George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy might be hard-pressed to come up with Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland or James Buchanan—and there must be a reason for that.
Additionally, Mr. Kohn incorrectly states that "Forty-eight percent of the American voters voted against Obama ... because his negatives way outweighed his positives" and that "A redo of the election today might elect John McCain as president." Not only are these two highly subjective claims, but by printing Mr. Kohn’s letter in all of its pejorative glory, you do the very thing he implores you to avoid, namely, "keep(ing) politics out of further issues of Chicago Parent magazine."
My child has been and will be taught to not confuse objectivity with subjectivity and not to fall prey to the baser instincts of cynicism and hate. That’s not what this country is about.