Define frustration… Sitting down in front of your television on your day off to watch shows you missed on DVR only to find that it is full and your shows were not recorded.
That is my frustration. My oldest daughter, Kennedye, is a reality show junky. 16 and Pregnant, Dance Moms, 19 Kids and Counting, Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Live and Hip Hop Hollywood, and the list goes on and on! I despise reality TV. Kennedye says that it motivates her to keep her life in check. As far as I can tell, it’s working for her. Unfortunately, I see reality television as one of the contributors to our social ills.
I don’t understand why the advocate groups aren’t storming Capitol Hill. For years, various groups have attacked the television industry, demanding responsible broadcasting. Remember Mighty Mouse? His strength used to come from a powder he snorted. What about Popeye? He ate spinach and then beat the crap out people. Usually in self-defense, but the advocate groups didn’t care. The most memorable for me is the movie The Program. In the original release, there was a scene where the quarterback for the team and other players laid down on the double yellow line, at night, while cars whizzed by showing how tough they were. Unfortunately, in two separate incidents in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 1 teen was killed and 2 were seriously injured imitating that scene. Touchstone Pictures immediately released a statement announcing they deleted the scene.
In each of these examples, youth were imitating what the saw on the television or movie screen and it was deemed unacceptable. Why are we turning a blind eye to the reality TV is showing today? I’ve watched episodes of Basketball Wives, Flava of Love, Bad Girls Club, and a few others. These shows are riddled with mutual disrespect, threats, and assaults. This is the entertainment we’re tuning into everyday. What about the under 21 population who are very impressionable? They are watching real people in real life situations. By watching these shows young ladies are learning that its OK to call each other bitches. Young men are finding it acceptable to be players and disrespect women. Young men and women are learning that it is OK to physically attack a person that does not agree with them.
The majority of us knew Popeye and Mighty Mouse were cartoon characters. Imitating them would get your butt whipped by your momma or another kid. Now we are watching everyday people go about their lives. The lives that we are tuning into are the things that we all despise. If we saw these situations unfold in front of us, we would be shaking our heads and dialing 9-1-1. Many will say, it’s television… it’s staged. It’s not staged when you’re trying to enjoy a night out with your family and two girls start fighting with each other. That fight grows into a brawl and you and/or someone in your family get hurts. That’s real and it’s happening in our community everyday. How can we demand bullying legislation, when our kids are coming home and watching bullying 101 with their parent(s)?
Do we need to watch violence and disrespect to be entertained? If we are ever going to take our community back, we need to remove the negative influences.
Prince said, “Don’t let you children watch television until they know how to read or else all they’ll know how to do is cuss fight and bleed!’ Memphis are you listening?
We have a less that 70% graduation rate in our city and about 5% of graduates are prepared for college. That’s reality.
For more information on the effects of television on our children check out this book.