I usually get sucked into those computerized quizzes where you can answer a few questions and "find out what animal you are most like"...silly things like that. So, when my friend posted that her blog was "Rated G" and I saw the temptation to "find out what your blog is rated," I couldn't resist.
I simply typed in my blog address and...viola:
In my mind, I was thinking, "That was easy...and cute. Now I need to stop playing and get back to work."
I had almost closed out the screen when it dawned on me that the reason my blog was rated PG instead of G was because I had talked about death and murder.
As I reflected on that, I was remembering that the death and murder entries were probably the ones about Tyree and Sammy, young adults in our neighborhood, getting shot and killed. I then pondered a little more. Ratings are there so we can protect our children, right? At the PG level, "some material may not be suitable for children." All I write about is real life. So, really, what this rating is telling me is that the real life I live is not always suitable for children. Hmmm...
I checked some other blogs I read that are also focused on urban issues. Some were rated R, some PG based on words like "cocaine," "shoot," "gun," "hurt," "drugs," "death," and "murder."
It's one thing to rate a movie and say that kids under certain ages can't watch it or can't watch it without parental supervision. But what about when that rating applies to your life--your neighborhood, your school, your community? What do we do then?
Most people who live in the communities I speak of are not in a place--sometimes financially, sometimes mentally--to move out or to do things to make the troublemakers go away . People in low-income neighborhoods are often there because something happened along the way. Some are working toward moving out eventually. Others have been in the situation so long they don't even know how to take the steps to get out anymore.
Shouldn't our goal as a community...a society...be to protect ALL of our youngest and most vulnerable? Shouldn't we be striving to help ALL of our communities become livable areas that are "Rated G"? ...I'm not talking about charity. I'm talking about long-term solutions like economic development, livable wages, affordable housing, etc.
Below, replace the word "BLOG" with "COMMUNITY." What are we doing so that we could post a sign outside every community that says: