How do we remove negative black stereotypes from movies and television? Dr. Mark Sullivan reveals two small victories that helped black people in the media.

This is the fourth of a five-part interview about the racist media portrayals of African Americans. Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University, teaches a class called Mass Media and Society.

The previous segment ended with Sullivan saying, “In successful shows that the producers, the networks, so far and so forth are never going to change [media depictions of African Americans] as long as they remain successful. And they’re going to continue to be perpetuated.”

I asked Sullivan what it would take to change that, and he tells two stories two small victories that assisted African Americans in media.

The best quotes:


Make 8 of your own natural cleaning products to save money and get green

three generic, plain household cleaner bottles, arm & hammer baking soda box, bunch of lemons with one sliced open, Heinz vinegar bottle

(photo compliments of

The following advice will help me:

  • save money?
  • use natural products in my home?
  • eliminate toxins from my life?
  • be green and environmentally conscious?
I wanted to share them with you:
. Continue reading

Buy brand names over these 5 “bargain” products

32oz bottle of Dr. Bronner's lavender scented liquid castile soap

(photo compliments of

We all want more for our money.

When shopping, it’s easy to look at the price or (smartly) the unit price, and opt for the store brand or $1 products. Don’t do it! Some name brand products go a loooooooooong way over the cheaply made, and cheaply sold common goods.

So here are five products worth the extra few bucks.

Continue reading

The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence: exploited and objectified both as Katniss and as herself

Katniss Everdeen is a participant in the Hunger Games.

In preparation for the televised competition, she is taken into custody by publicity professionals. Her body hair is waxed off. Her hair is styled. Her face is redesigned with make-up. Her body is dressed in a red, form-fitting dress that emits flames when she spins in a circle. She is paraded in front of spectators.

Katniss Everdeen, character of The Hunger Games played by Jennifer Lawrence, sits very stiffly with great posture in a big white chair on a stage in a form-fitting red dress

(photo compliments of

Jennifer Lawrence is an actress in The Hunger Games.

In preparation for the movie release, she is taken into custody by publicity professionals. Her body hair is waxed or airbrushed off. Her hair is styled. Her face is redesigned with make-up. Her body is dressed in a gold, low-cut shirt that emits sparkle when she presses her arms together to create visible cleavage. She is placed in front of check-out line guests.

A major theme in The Hunger Games movie is this idea of exploitation and objectification for ratings and viewership.

Need more parallels?

Weekend activity, weight loss and exercise: Ice Skating

With the admittedly cheesy title of “free-your-bum Fridays,” this post will kick off a new category: ideas for getting off your butt or away from a screen on the weekends (or whenever).

This week: Ice skating.

Find a rink. has a  list.

I used their list to map Maryland’s ice skating arenas and rinks. Click on a blue placemark to see the admission costs, deals, public session times, addresses, phone numbers, and Websites of the ice skating rinks in Maryland:

This Google Map of Maryland's Public Ice Skating Rinks and Arenas serves as a guide to this weekend activity challenge. It was created in April 2012.

Not from Maryland? A simple Google map search for “ice skating rink or arena near ______ (city, state)” will connect you with local rinks.

Prepare for your ice skating outing

Press ‘1’ for English? Ugh, how inconvenient.

uncle sam pointing with text reading "this finger wasn't made to 'press one for English!'"

(photo courtesy of

This post is about to be straight rant. You’ve been warned.

You’ve seen the t-shirts, the bumper stickers, the chain-Facebook photos: Boo hoo, the world is ending because I have to press the number ‘one’ for an English phone menu.

First, how dare you cry over having the privilege of a phone, a budget for a phone, a home with a phone line, a country with rampant access to cell phone coverage, time to make phone calls, the luxury of over-the-phone customer service access, and privilege and access to the services for which you’d call customer service in the first place.

Second, this is America. That’s the reason stated with these slogans, right? Let’s talk about America. America is a land where Continue reading

Doughnuts will kill you

(photo courtesy of

Over dramatic? Yes.

How about, “Doughnuts will kill your diet.” Better?

In the words of Baz Luhrmann, “The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…”

After weeks of a successfully balanced and healthy diet, there were a few mornings I used my one-a-day dessert token in the form of a giant, fresh-baked, vanilla-iced, gorgeous, fluffy doughnut.

Every morning that I ate my whole wheat toast, two scrambled eggs, and 8oz cranberry juice, I had a successful day of healthy eating without struggle.

Every single morning that I had a doughnut, I fought (kicking and screaming) to escape cravings for junk for the rest of the day. Most times, I caved and lost.

So tell me what that means?

A healthy breakfast sets a day’s diet pace. Think about it.


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