Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yes, it's so much simpler to just demonize bad parents for being bad parents.

My response to a column in my local USAToday network paper this weekend.   The original column, linked here.  

Dear Editor,

I believe that the column your paper chose to run in the March 25 Living section, by Ana Veciana-Suarez, under the headline “Crocodile Tears for Teen After Suicide,” was a deeply flawed piece that should never have been given national attention. 

While I agree with Ana Veciana-Suarez’s thesis that the mother of her piece is clearly trying to make a cash grab in the wake of her personal tragedy, I find it appalling the lengths to which the article goes on about demonizing the woman.   The texts quoted in the piece are justly horrifying.  But the article’s insistence on naming only the woman involved, and none of the other people who had wronged young Naika Venant seems to me to be doing just what the mother claims, recasting her as the sole villain in this piece. 

If this article had been bought, and paid for, by the State of Florida’s DCF it couldn’t have been a better attempt to shift blame away from “the black hole of the system.”  The acceptance that foster care is going to involve rape, and neglect, and that “[Naika’s]  journey through foster care made her even more disrespectful and rebellious, too. Her behavior, however, was an expected result of the great trauma she endured,” is frankly horrifying.  This shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to pile upon a woman who is herself deeply flawed, but a chance to shine a light upon the often desperate straits that the whole nation’s foster care system is facing – often enough because of inadequate funding and impossible caseloads, as has been highlighted by the investigations locally in the wake of the Brook Stagles case. 

It seems to me to be not merely unfair to send this article out nationally where it is falling into the public’s purview without any context, nor any direct follow-up to be expected, but a dangerous over-simplification – presenting the parent of a child who died while in care of the state’s as the sole named villain of the piece – when anyone who took the time to think about it would realize that the parents of all the children who find themselves in the foster care system are going to be deeply flawed individuals – and excusing failures of the system by blaming them for blatantly predictable failures is going to leave us with a system that isn’t bothering to ask what can it do better, and what resources does it need to meet the real-world demands placed upon it. 


Michael D. Taub


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Power Disparity and Humor

I just saw the new McCafe ad today - it seems to be titled "Enlighten-Mint" and it's got me wondering just how in the hell it got greenlit.

For a look at the ad here's an iTV link.

The short synopsis for this is that a white asshole comes by to a black woman's desk, takes the McCafe drink from her desk, and walks off it it.  And then because for every fifth one the woman buys McDonalds will give her a free one she just accepts this, and goes about replacing her stolen drink.

This wouldn't have been funny if it were two people on an equal power level.  As it is, having a guy of any race taking something from a woman of any race is fucked up.  Especially if the only recourse the woman seems to feel she has available is to replace her stolen drink out of her own resources.  The power levels here are just so fucked up it's really infuriating to see.

As it is having a Caucasian of any gender taking something from an African American of any gender is fucked up.  Especially if the only recourse the African American seems to feel they have available is to replace their stolen drink out of their own resources. The power levels here are just so fucked up it's really infuriating to see.

Combine both those seemingly obvious fucked-up levels into one spectacular shit sandwich and I'm fucking pissed.  Pissed at McDonald's for running this ad. Pissed at the ad agency for thinking it up.  And pissed that we're in a place where no one who noticed how fucked up that ad might be felt safe speaking up against it.

This ad needs to be pulled.

And people who think this is funny, like say, OBL and the Attorney General of the United States, need to get a clue.

P.S.  I've been rather stuck lately with helping out with a family medical emergency.   I'll be posting more regularly, soon.