Open Session

Becoming a better parent through open discussion of parenting issues

Motives: A Review of a Review September 28, 2011

Filed under: Bias,Race — aprilgrant @ 8:09 pm

This is a social commentary, mainly about race, so if you don’t want to read it, I’m glad you stopped by.

Over the weekend, I watched a movie called Motives and it’s creatively entitled sequel Motives: 2. I actually enjoyed them.  I emphasize this because I’m not a fan of “black” or “afro-centric” movies. I know we have a lot of talent, but there seems to be this overwhelming push to see a “black” movie (one written, directed and/or produced by someone black, then casted majority black) no matter how good the movie is (uh-hum, Tyler Perry). For the record, I respect his drive and his determination, but I hate his movies. They are progressively spiraling down into a theme of “There are no positive black people without major scars and those scars will rub off in the most negative way to the people in our lives”. 

Well, this isn’t a commentary on black films in general. It’s a review of a review. There are very few reviews for the first film and virtually none for part two. Considering I don’t think they were any worse (or better) than what’s regularly produced and shown on the big screen, I am disappointed that I never knew about these films, released in 2004 and 2007.  The premise is a fatal attraction reversed, with enough twists and turns to keep you watching, and an interesting ending. Part 2 is a revenge story, again with adequate twists and turns. I filled 3.5 hours of time enjoying these movies.

Now to the crux of this post – the review of the review. The reviews are pretty much in line with what I said above. But one particular reviewer said something that just kinda pissed me off. To paraphrase, he said that he didn’t really appreciate the mainly black cast because he felt that it was an unAmerican view of the world. WHAT?!? HUH?!?

I don’t respond that way because I feel that the most successful black people are only investigated by successful black detectives, in a wealthy area of [insert place here], but really? That’s something in your review?  Have you watched pretty much any other movie/television show/skit/etc. out there? It’s a sea of white people, surrounded by more white people. I’ll use the wonderful cliche, I have a white friend.  Actually I have a lot of white friends. I went to UCLA, and then to law school, one of the whitest professions out there. 

One of my favorite shows is the Good Wife!  It’s set in a law firm and besides the investigator, and the occasional appearance by the “successful partner in a part of the building that you never see”, it’s all white. Guess what? I’m ok with it. Not because I believe it’s accurate, but because I enjoy the story.  The writing is strong and extremely intriguing. 

I work in a law firm. This is the fourth law firm that I’ve worked in of varying sizes. I have never seen such a lack of diversity in a law firm and law firms aren’t diverse. Here’s the most recent rankings and an article attached of the most “diverse” law firms. It’s apparent that math isn’t lawyers strong suit and when you add 25.4% of one group and 18.5% of a different group, you do not get 45.9.  But lawyers need to feel good about themselves.

Anyway… Why would someone put in a review that a mostly black cast is unAmerican? As if the rest of the world is playing by these rules. Just as it’s not fair that whites don’t get the same equal protection as minorities, this guy should not be commenting on the lack of diversity unless it’s a clause in every one of his reviews.

P.S. I know I didn’t link to the guy’s/girl’s post. I didn’t actually double-check. I don’t want to drive any easy traffic to him where he would benefit. Of course, this blog may do that, I understand.


It’s After School Again September 22, 2011

Filed under: Children — aprilgrant @ 8:51 pm

Frustrated. Angry. Sad. Confused. Those are just a few words that express my feelings when my son comes home from school. I’d much rather be elated, joyful, happy, playful. The problem is homework. Well, not just homework, but the inevitable email from the teacher letting me know how uncooperative my son was that day.

You see, my son doesn’t have any illnesses or problems. He doesn’t have ADHD or autism. In general terms, this makes me very happy. Those moms are a powerhouse of strength dealing with everyday struggles. He doesn’t need glasses or misunderstand concepts.

My son is smart. I’m not saying he’s a genius or toting how bright he is, but he has so far completely understood all the materials put in front of him. The problem? He’s bored. His boredom causes him to act out in class. The further problem? Most of the time he doesn’t pay attention in class, disrupting other students.

There’s a behavior chart in class of about seven levels. The lowest three indicate poor classroom behavior, the fourth is ‘ok’ and the upper three are for above average. In the three week he’s been in school, he’s received one ‘ok’, all the rest below average.

At home, if his homework manages to make it here, we do it. If it doesn’t, we do make up materials. Somehow, leaving the house with the paperwork in his folder and in hi backpack, his work isn’t making it to the teacher. He’s regularly getting incompletes.

We’ve tried positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, daily reminders, punishments, rewards with consistency. It’s gotten to the point where the promise of a reward doesn’t even get to the end of the day. I rarely give the reward, not because I forgot or decided not to follow through, but because just getting an ‘ok’ and turning in his homework in the same day seem to be a challenge so far.

He already doesn’t play video games, watch tv or play or the computer. He doesn’t take his dance classes he enjoys. I have nothing left to take.

This may or may not seem like a problem, but this started last school year with a different teacher. If it continues, he can easily be stigmatized by the teachers as a problem child. I’m at a loss. If he would concentrate, most assignments take about 5 minutes. The teacher has more fun things to do, but he won’t finish his assignment to get to the ‘fun’ thing.

It just breaks my heart. I’m out of ideas. Please leave suggestions that you’ve tried and worked. It’s only the third week of second grade and with a baby on the way, I’m not sure I have much more patience.


Picking up Strangers September 16, 2011

Filed under: Children — aprilgrant @ 8:11 pm

I just had an odd experience.

I woke up extremely late, throwing on clothes only on my son, because we all know sweats to take your children to school is pretty standard. Luckily lunch was packed the night before, but we hadn’t taken the pre-spelling test for the week. We managed we to squeeze out the pre-test, while I filled out the obligatory reading log.

My son, who is normally fighting me at every point in the morning, moved quickly and efficiently, managing for us to get us out the door in 20 minutes, including eating.

But none of this is out of the ordinary (except maybe my son actually cooperating with me). What happened next is where it got odd. I picked up a strange kid.

As we’re running out the door, I saw a kid (alone) trying to book it to school. We were driving and I knew we’d barely be on time and thus, this kid was likely to be late. I was already on my way to school, so I offered him a ride. It was the most awkward experience ever. I told him if he felt uncomfortable, I wouldn’t be hurt that he didn’t want to accept, but I’m taking my son to school too. Of course, there are a lots of crazies who use a similar strategy to pick up kids for less than heavenly purposes.

I spent the remaining 2-3 minutes wondering if someone saw us, if someone contacted the police, if I would get in trouble. I hated that feeling. I hate that we live in a society that I have to second guess a good deed, but I know we do. I didn’t breathe until I got to school and they were both out and inside the gate.


The Dog Said it All September 7, 2011

Filed under: General — aprilgrant @ 8:41 pm

I don’t go out much. I’m a homebody. When I do go out, I try not to complain because I’m gracious to have good company and good conversation. I don’t have any animals. I’m not fond of them. I think they are a constant and long-term responsibility that I’m not willing to take on.

I also don’t understand people’s desire to take their pets out to restaurants. Their behavior isn’t conducive to a sitting and eating environment. Most restaurants don’t serve food on the floor. I don’t get it. So, now to the actual point of this post. I went out with my cousin who brought her little dog, Madison, with us to a late lunch. We sat outdoors on the patio. Maddie sat quietly in her purse for two hours, then in her lap for another hour.

Not one server, employee, etc either noticed nor mentioned Maddie’s presence. At the end of hour THREE, my cousin took her little pooch across the street for a potty break. Being a ‘dog friendly’ mall, all of the items were provided to properly clean up after the little one.

Upon returning to the table, and starting to settle the check, a manager (?) came to the table and let us know that we could not have the dog in their restaurant. That’s fine. We’re settling up.

Being that it was a Saturday night, the restaurant was packed and settling the check was taking more time than average. Then another guy, a manager (?), came over to the table without saying a word and reached across her in an attempt to grab the check, presumably because we were taking too much time to leave.

The dog snipped at him. He didn’t bite him, but I know that it scared the bejeezus out if him. If he didn’t know that the dog was there, which I find hard to believe, what he did still wouldn’t have been right. In what world is it ok to walk to the table and reach across your patron to grab the check without saying a word? It was plain rude. Not even an apology. But he was offended by the dog’s reaction to what to some would’ve reacted personally the same way the dog did.

I’m not sure why a manager would think this is ok, nor if the corporation would train their employees to act this way, but it was completely obnoxious and rude. *We went to the Cheesecake Factory on Victoria Gardens. The ‘manager’, I’m not sure because he hadn’t said anything to introduce himself to us, was about six feet tall, Caucasian, salt and pepper hair, and heavyset. I’m presuming he was a manager because he wasn’t dressed in the all-white uniform as the servers. I will be sending a complaint to the corporation as well.


Happy Labor Day! September 5, 2011

Filed under: General — aprilgrant @ 8:13 pm

Today is a great day! Home with the family. I wish my son wasn’t on punishment. I would love to do something, anything. The weather isn’t that great though either. Oh well, I’ll have to remember smiles from before!