Blacks get a LOT of backlash for whooping their kids, or as we say in the community, “beat” our bebe’s lol. When I step outside of the box and think about it, is history NOT repeating itself? I mean, we are the descendents of slaves who were LITERALLY beaten into oblivion. Is that why it is so easy for us to participate in the practice and view it as the norm, while other cultures (Whites) may view it as inhumane and abusive (ref: the treatment of slaves)?
When I was growing up, I RARELY received whoopings, mainly because of my passive-aggressive nature (I’m non-confrontational). My mother is very passive and her form of discipline began with talks. “Ashley! Why did you hit your brother?” or “What do you say when I call you? You say, ‘Yes,’ not, ‘What.’” I remember as a child, rolling my eyes like, “Ugh, okaaaay Mom, fine!” before running off and soon
after becoming a repeat offender. Her family didn’t support her form of discipline and believed her to be soft and mimicking White forms of discipline. I’ll never forget the day her mother/my late grandmother
demanded I go outside and pick my own switch. My mother stood helplessly nearby and silently watched.
My father on the other hand was SCARY! He was a police officer and was rarely home it seemed. I was terrified of him. The little interaction we had was usually if I was doing something wrong. It always began with my mother’s threats. “Ashley, if you don’t stop I’m going to get your father.” Yikes! Or, if my father was around and actually witnessed my behavior, all he had to say was one word to get me in check. “Ashley.” I’d immediately stop right in my tracks, terrified that his face would erupt and his belt would come off. I didn’t need that in my life!
My younger brother, Ty, on the other hand seemed to ALWAYS be going through it. After my parent’s divorce he experienced some behavioral issues and literally got whoopings EVERY SINGLE DAY for awhile. Dad would take his belt off and tear Ty up! During this period, I remember getting whooped once, for spilling red Kool-Aid on the white carpet (lol man!), but Ty would get torn up for EVERYTHING! It seemed like Ty never learned!
I was speaking with my S.O. about this very topic a few days ago and he was mentioning how as a young child he’d be torn up as well. He thought of his whoopings more like beatings and believes they’re the reason he was no longer a “bad” child after a young age. My older cousin Shelby also received whoopings as a child, up through elementary-Shelby had a VERY opinionated mouth and did not care who she was talking to. Ultimately, whoopings didn’t work for her-she’s as opinionated today as she was at three-years old in day care (go visit her blog at http://www.shelbystonesteel.com).
Speaking of the effectiveness of whoopings, what do they implicate when it comes to matters of physical abuse? By that I mean, what’s to be said of a father who teaches his daughters that any man who raises a hand to you is wrong and should be punished, yet when this daughter accidentally spills red Kool-Aid on the white carpet, the first thing the father reaches for is his belt to whoop her so that it elicits pain/fear and hopefully/eventually respect?
Are these not VERY mixed messages that are being taught to Black children? We teach our children that fighting/hitting is wrong, yet in many households it’s the first line of disciplinary defense. Furthermore, we claim that we’re trying to protect our children and keep them safe, yet we seem to be the very ones introducing them to harms way. I think about this often enough-what will become of my children (contingent upon me getting married and deciding to have them)? Despite all of the obvious red flags that alert me to the issues, I personally am an advocate of spanking. I am however a bit torn when it comes to matters of a father putting his hands on his daughter. While I myself have suffered no damage from the minimal spanking my father gave me (from memory, I can only recall three whoopings from him my entire life), I’m sure the same cannot be said of other women out there. And what happens if I marry a man who’s against whoopings, period? I do believe boys need whoopings and I’d be hurting my hands/wrists/arms trying to give them. Thoughts?