A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Social-Networking Sites: Are They Right For You?

This blog topic, like many others that I write, was spur of the moment. During a sneezing attack while on Twitter, I wondered, “How would a person know if a social networking site was for them?” Again, this came about during a sneezing attack which means that most of these ideas are Benedryl-induced. That…that is my disclaimer.

Many questions have been asked about sites that allow people to congregate and interact with like-minded people that they would otherwise NEVER meet. The most “popular” of these sites, Facebook & Twitter (I use these two because my login information is saved to my phone), have come under fire. There are issues with privacy (Facebook), server space (think Twitter and its infamous fail whale), cliques (well that’s everywhere), and other things that people are often wary about. If these regular issues don’t sit well with you, then of course, social networking might NOT be your thing.

Then there are the oft forgotten issues that people never think about…until they’ve thought of a clever username (that others are sure to have) and that great alphanumeric password (that they are sure to forget). So, I present to you:

REASONS THAT SOCIAL-NETWORKING SITES ARE NOT FOR YOU

1. Grammar and Sentence Construction are “Near and Dear” to your heart

It’s a tricky game, that one of sentence construction. It’s one that many people lose. By lose, I do mean “fail to win”. I’m often appalled by the number of people who see nothing wrong with their very apparent errors. It literally makes my soul hurt. This is especially noticeable on Twitter where there is an ingenious tool that allows you to RT (or Re-Tweet) the 140 (or less) statement of another user. It is here that I realize just how many people struggle with grammar because many people see nothing wrong with RTing a sentence that is just…wrong.

*Same holds for spelling.

2.  Commonly confused words being confused often bother you.

When I say bother you, I don’t mean that you go, “Oh…look they meant to use lets (as in allows) and not let’s (as in let us). I mean, you wish that there was a strike-through feature OR that you could report them as Spam because their mistake is an obvious one and since you know it, everyone should know it! Yes. If this you, then I invite you to join a support group…yet to be named…and yet to be scheduled for a meeting. I will be there. You just bring the cookies. By joining said support group, I will also mention that you might want to think twice before joining that networking site.

3. Do you feel the need to punch a Baby when people “Type L!k3 diis!”?

I probably did that wrong. I don’t want to go copy anyone’s clever (sarcasm) status. I would hate to piss on their wittiness…because well, I’m sure they tried very hard to figure out how to butcher the language that we speak in such a way that makes other people cry. All because it took us 4 minutes and the only thing we left that status with was a migraine and a devalued appreciation for our human brother/sister. Yes. It is that deep.

*There are exceptions of course. By exceptions, I mean, there are people who are allowed to type like that because they are a teenager at a failing school in America. Point of caution: I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to be cool. I do see Universities/Colleges googling students in the future and denying admission behind this…or is that just me?

4. Everyone is an Expert…

By expert I mean, they apply the things that work for them to everyone and quickly denounce any person and their idea should they disagree. I see many experts, from ones on “relationships with significant others” to “how you should live your life.” In each case, I’m filled with a sense of dread…and the sudden urge to find a ladder and sit on my roof. I find it disheartening to know that so many would slam others simply because they choose to disagree (especially if they are an “everyone needs to be original and/or free thinking” kind of person). I’m also reminded of my 8th grade English teacher (I think she taught English) and I didn’t like her in 1999-2000 and I still don’t like her now.

Other Signs That Social-Networking Sites Are NOT For You:

5. You dislike people who don’t know the difference between constructive criticism and destroying the esteem of others for the sake of a laugh…or whatever.

6. You really do enjoy the individuality of others. Social networking is proof that too many of us enjoy saying/doing/speaking/acting as others.

7. You despise those who make jokes of debilitating diseases/illnesses. There’s a lot of this that happens.

8. You Want To Smack A Person That Capitalizes Every Word Of The Sentence As Though It Is A Proper Noun Or Their Tweet/Status/Update Is The Title Of Some Ebony and/or New York Times Bestseller. How do you know if this is you? Did you want to punch me after reading that? Yeah…this is you.

While I’m sure there are other signs that you should REALLY think twice before joining a social networking site, these are the ones that the Benedryl brought to me in a vision. I hope that you can learn from my Pet Peeves so as not to make the same mistakes.

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Counter-Narrative: What’s Behind African-American Views on Swimming?

I have a habit of reading news articles and blog postings in the morning. It’s my way of staying abreast of “hot” topics and I get to hear others’ opinions on issues that I deem relevant. So imagine my surprise when I saw @BlackInformant tweet of a blog posting entitled, “Hair or History: What’s Behind African-American Views on Swimming?” I thought, “Oh, someone is taking a look at why African-Americans (largely) don’t swim.” I clicked and immediately became disappointed. In keeping with the current trend to garner readers and generate hits to blogs, this author immediately took the spin that African-Americans don’t swim because women are afraid of their hair reverting to its pre-relaxed state. *yawn*

 Before I get into my opinion on this matter and offer to you all a different perspective as to why African-Americans don’t swim, I’ll say that this is tired. This angle (let’s lambast African-American women and their choices about themselves) is old news. Can we let it go already? Please.

 To begin with, my initial reaction to this piece was negative. Since when did African-American women become synonymous with African-Americans (as a whole)? Our designation, racial or otherwise, includes two genders: male and female. This point alone cannot be argued and the fact that the author chose to focus only on African-American women devalued whatever point they wanted to make. In keeping with the misleading focus, the only “historical” evidence is the connection drawn between the European standard of beauty (e.g., straightening one’s hair so that it’s less African). In my opinion, this perspective, while valid in a sense, is indirect and doesn’t lead to a critical analysis of the topic at hand.

 Now the question is, “What should have been said surrounding this issue?”

 It is true. African-Americans, in large part, do not swim and our children are put at an increased risk of “accidental drowning” (a death that is very preventable). According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), “in 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day; more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger; and the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans across all ages was 1.2 times that of whites.” Studies also show that 6 out of 10 African-American children are unable to swim. This is the reality that we live with today, but why?

 In taking note of our historical record in the United States, it is no surprise that we are largely unable to swim. I’m of the opinion that children do as their parents have done – if a parent can swim, there is an increased likelihood that you can. This seems common sense to me. So why haven’t our parents learned to swim?

 If we examine largely segregated neighborhoods TODAY, we’ll see that many do not possess the facilities that would allow daily, or even weekly, swimming. Our high schools, by and large, do not have swimming pools, so there is no need for a swimming team or the need to swim. If a child does attend a school where there is the requirement that they swim for Physical Education credit (and subsequently a passing grade), there are ways to get around this issue and many educators/facilitators of this class readily sign slips because it’s hard to teach a person how to swim.

 If we examine the racial housing practices in the 80s, we see that a large number of African-Americans were relegated to “red-lined” neighborhoods (this practice had gone on for quite some time but it was brought to prominence as the Black middle class began to grow). Again, these neighborhoods, while a step up, may have lacked the facilities.

If we examine the practices of Segregation in the 60s (and before), we see that community pools prohibited African-Americans on the grounds that allowing a non-White person to swim in the pools would lead to water contamination. I commend the author of the original article for mentioning this briefly, but more has to be said about this.

 I’ll pause here and note that I’ve already gone back about 3 generations. So is it fair to say that African-Americans don’t swim because of something as simple as “hair care” issues? Isn’t that “blaming the victim” in some ways? Back to my argument.

 If we examine racial tension prior to the 1960s and dare to go back to slavery, we’ll see that there was no reason for African-Americans to swim. Largely, we were not given the opportunity for free time and I’m pretty sure that there weren’t very many swimming holes in the South…that were safe. For any person that is familiar with the landscape of the South (or the North before industrialization), you’ll realize that swimming holes were in isolated places…and it was never a safe bet for a Black person to be caught alone and/or having fun during these times.

 I think that I’ve made my point, but in the even that I haven’t, I want you all to take a few points with you:

1. We should encourage our Youth to learn how to swim properly. There is nothing more exciting in the summer than to cool off at a local pool and given the rates of accidental drownings in African-American youth, the ability to swim is a necessary skill.

2. Don’t reduce (or mislabel) a topic that applies to an entire diaspora to one sect of that population. If you want to write on African-American women, be up front about it. If it’s your intention to generate critical thought about the racial group as a whole, then speak on the group as a whole. I speak for many women when I say, we’re sick and tired of being the scapegoat simply to generate hits to your blogs/articles.

3. Finally, if you wish to analyze an issue historically, then do so. Provide evidence that backs you up. Provide anecdotes from older people. Look up statistics, it’s not that hard.

 But remember: be pure about your intentions. As a writer, the only thing that you have is your name.

Original article: Hair or History: What’s Behind African-American Views on Swimming? 

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

Despite Olympic Gold, Swimming Statistics Are Grim. Author: Tara Parker-Pope