Dear Black America, I am a Black mom who doesn’t believe in spanking.
This is in response to some people justifying Adrian Peterson beating his four year old child with a switch. He has been charged, indicted and released on $15,000 bail for reckless or negligent injury to a child in Montgomery County, Texas. Read more about it here.
Accept it. Some of us don’t believe in spanking, beating or hitting. Just because I don’t make my kid pick switches from a tree or have a belt specially set aside for beating my kids doesn’t mean I want to emulate Whites or something other than Black. It is insulting to even think that way. For me it is the opposite. Because of Black American history and how our ancestors spirits were broken, through beatings and whippings, I find it repulsive. If I have to resort to hitting a child it means that I am lazy and failing them as a parent. I prefer to talk and reason with my kids. But that is just me.
Quite honestly I am also not surprised that some Black folks are defending beating kids or are even mad that I don’t. Why? Because violence is all some people know. They see nothing wrong with violence because it is normalized dysfunction. Heck, some don’t even see beating as violence. That could explain Worldstar’s popularity and their justification because their grandma and momma did it and they “turned out fine.” Those folks in turn will beat their kids too. That cycle of violence doesn’t sound fine to me. Look beating children with switches, belts or other objects like a run-a-way slave is not acceptable. Ask Child Protective Services. Better yet, don’t worry. They will ask you when they visit. They don’t care what bible verse you quote.
“In 2004, a Child Trends’ analysis of the General Social Survey [pdf] .found that “94 percent of non-Hispanic black women, compared with 72 percent of Hispanic women, 65 percent of non-Hispanic white women, and 46 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander women, agreed that a child sometimes needs a ‘good hard spanking.'” Is Spanking a Race Issue, New York Times
I believe that Black folks who justify the beating of children do so because it is a multi-generational learned behavior directly from who? The slave masters. They are only OK with beating children because their mama did it to them, granddad did it to her, great granddad did it to him and great granddad’s slave master did it their great granddad. It is all they know. It is kind of like a post traumatic slave disorder.
“Beyond its immediate impact on behavior, spanking increases children’s long-term aggression toward peers and others. Parents who spank are, in fact, modeling violent behavior, which young children in my own studies have described as unfair and ineffective. Spanking also is linked to a host of harmful effects on children’s well-being: increased anxiety and depression, impaired cognitive development and academic performance, lower self-esteem and, sometimes, bruises and broken bones. ” “Spanking Is More a Product of Stress Than Race”, New York Times
When I see kids get beat I feel like we are taking, contouring and breaking their little spirits into something we want them to be. What is that? An empty unthinking shell of themselves. A shell who is obedient, unquestioning and dependent on authority, just like the slave masters did to the enslaved. Check out the stats. Kids, especially Black children aren’t doing well now. I suspect all those ass whipping sessions y’all claim are legitimate forms of abuse, I mean discipline ain’t working.
I believe as parents we must teach our children to use their heads and think instead of using force and violence. Violence begets violence and it sure won’t end inequality in America. Ideas and action will. Ten years from now I don’t want children to romanticize family beatings as the grand and great grand children of the formerly enslaved do. That is dysfunctional. By the way, I don’t care if White people do it or what the same bible used to enslave my ancestors said. I am not talking about them and who would want to emulate violence? I want our children to remember how we taught them to be good human beings, how to think, question and how we let their individual personalities shine. I hope you understand me when I don’t spank.
The parent of two freethinking, progressive, kind and intelligent young men.