In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:
Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »
“My niece was given a date rape drug that weekend. She’s 20-years-old – thank God nothing happened because she was with some responsible guys that took care of her. She was safe because she was with a group of friends that realized – she said, ‘Oh, my god, I can’t feel my … ” and she started losing consciousness. Thank god the people she was with put her in a room, closed the door, and she didn’t come to for three and a half hours. … There is an epidemic going on out here in regards to the treatment of women. We have to figure out how we can empower people in different ways. … I’m not a conventional parent, which I take a lot of pride in. The first thing I had my niece do was sit down with my daughter and a couple of her friends and tell her about that experience. I don’t just sit with Willow and go, ‘hey, this is what Mommy thinks.’ Let me just bring in a little reality to validate what Mommy’s been talking to you about.”
This is Jada Pinkett Smith discussing about #JusticeForJada, the hashtag in support of a 16-year-old girl named Jada, whose sexual assault went viral on the Internet. While speaking at an event on Sunday night and then following up with US Weekly, Pinkett Smith revealed that her niece was roofied the same weekend as Jada’s assault. So the actress asked her niece to sit down with her 13-year-old daughter Willow and talk about the experience — not to scare her, I think, but to open her eyes to rape culture in a very concrete way.
After the jump, Pinkett Smith explained more how she is raising Willow to be confident and assertive: Keep reading »
Another day, another mother arrested for trying to have it all. And by “have it all,” I mean struggling to figure out child care with little support while maintaining a minimum wage food-service industry job.
A 46-year-old Black mother from South Carolina was jailed for letting her nine-year old daughter play at the park unsupervised while she went to work. Let’s look at the facts, as detailed by Free Range Kids’ Lenore Skenazy:
- Debra Harrell works at a McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina.
- Her nine-year-old daughter had been accompanying her to work for most of the summer, bringing along a laptop and using McD’s free wifi to keep her busy while Harrell worked her shift.
- Harrell’s home was recently robbed and the laptop was stolen, causing her daughter to request being dropped off at a local park.
- Harrell’s daughter was given a cell phone to call her in case she needed anything.
- On her third day at the park by herself, a stranger questioned Harrell’s daughter about her mother’s whereabouts, called the police, and subsequently, Harrell was arrested on abandonment charges.
Keep reading »
I get it: you have kids and you love them so much you just want to give them the world, or whatever comes closest to it. But sometimes giving your kids whatever they want in life comes at a price. In the case of Virginia dad Jeremiah Heaton, that meant traveling halfway across the world to Egypt in search of an 800 sq. ft. plot of unclaimed land along the Sudanese border and decreeing it his own. Or, rather, his daughter Emily’s. That’s Princess Emily, to you. See, then six-year-old Emily really wanted to be a princess and instead of just buying her a princess costume or throwing her a princess-themed birthday party or, I dunno, telling her that being a princess is not all it’s cracked up to be, Heaton decided his little girl should not be denied her title. Heaton began with an online search of unclaimed lands around the world and then in June, he made the trek to Egypt where, with the permission of authorities, he visited the unclaimed parcel of land known to locals as Bir Tawil and (unofficially) declared it hers. On June 16, Emily’s 7th birthday, Heaton wrote on Facebook:
“Therefore, so be it proclaimed on June 16, 2014, Emily’s 7th birthday, that Bir Tawil shall be forever known as the Kingdom of North Sudan. The Kingdom is established as a sovereign monarchy with myself as the head of state; with Emily becoming an actual Princess. I kindly request that when you see Emily, to address her by official title, Princess Emily. Each time she hears this title she will be reminded of my love and the lengths I will go to fulfill her every wish. Thank you in advance for being a good sport in supporting my humble request of you.”
Keep reading »
Millennials aren’t exactly lining up to tie the knot, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
Researchers asked people of every generation whether they believe society is better off if people prioritize marriage and children. Of all the participants combined, 46 percent said society would be better off, while 50 percent thought society will do just as well if people have priorities other than marriage and babymaking (the remaining participants were either undecided or refused to respond). But what is especially notable here is that among 18- to 29-year-olds, only 29 percent said society would be better off with marriage and kids at the forefront. Keep reading »