Weekend Reads: What Teens Need From Their Parents, Female Protagonists, and Lots of Olympics

Happy Weekend Readers, the Rio Olympics are halfway done. Like Steph, I’ve been a little appalled at NBC’s sorry coverage of the games, and we’ll see some of that in this weeks links!

The Wall Street Journal (of all places) had a great piece this week on What Teens Need Most From Their Parents.

Does your kid have a security blanket like Linus Van Pelt? Or a favorite teddy bear like my Grommet has George? Transitional objects like these can be very important in developing a child’s independence.  

Do you consciously consider the balance of male and female protagonists in the media you consume or create? Jo Eberhardt at Writer Unboxed thinks you should. 

A Kentucky High School’s dress code bans most natural hair styles for African Americans, COMPLETELY COINCIDENTALLY OF COURSE… </sarcasm>

Lindy West has a handy guide for confused journalists covering the Olympics, How to Talk About Female Olympians Without Being a Regressive Creep- a Handy Guide.

Simone Biles was adopted by her grandparents as a small child and has called them Mom and Dad since. NBC’s Al Trautwig couldn’t wrap his noggin around the simple concept that adoptive parents are real parents.  (He has since apologized.)

Libby Anne examines a different attack on Simone Biles’ family history, taking on an anti-choice meme that gets the story all wrong.

They have since lost a nailbiter to Sweden, but at the time this was written the US Women’s Soccer Team was undefeated, and still underpaid.  

In other Olympic Simone news, Simone Manuel brought home the very first individual medal for an African American swimmer  with an amazing final 50 meters in the 100m freestyle to tie Canadian Penny Oleksiak for an Olympic record.

The significance of Simone Manuel swim is clear if you understand Jim Crow.

There is a reason the Centers for Disease Control found in 2014 that black progeny between the age of our daughter, 5, and that of Manuel, who turned 20 just before the Rio Games commenced, drown in swimming pools at a rate greater than five times that of white children and teens.

There is a reason that we hear from time to time of tragic stories like that which rocked Shreveport, La., a few years ago, when six black teenagers drowned in a river trying to save another with them who slipped into the water.

There is a reason why 70 percent of black teenagers, like those who died in Shreveport, and 60 percent of Hispanic teenagers can’t swim.

But it isn’t due to some genetic disorder, as some actually believe. It is because of abject irrational racism and Jim Crow and its vestiges.

It is rooted in complete ignorance that somehow the melanin from our skin could wash off, contaminate the water and infect any whites nearby. It is anchored to this country’s historical racial sexual hysteria, an unfounded fear of placing less-clad white women in too-close and contained proximity with black men considered innately lascivious, particularly when it comes to white women.

It can be heard in the scream of the segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1948: “I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theatres into our swimming pools into our homes and into our churches.” Thurmond’s name now adorns the University of South Carolina Wellness and Fitness Center, for all students, faculty and staff.

It can be seen in the infamous mid-1960s photo of a motel manager in Florida pretending to dump acid into the property’s pool as black occupants took advantage of newly passed public accommodation laws.

By the way, NBC didn’t choose to air Simone’s medal ceremony live, instead turning to 7 hour old Russian gymnastics. The historic moment wasn’t shown until an hour had passed.

In happier Olympic news, the Try Guys try the traditional ancient Greek Olympics! Naked and everything!


Featured Image: Grommet and George take a power nap by Blotz Photo Arts

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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