Wise & Young

Monday, January 30, 2006


Spare the rod!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

There are certain cultural behaviors and rites of passage that every culture has that both strengthens the bonds of that culture with one another, and aide in passing on that aspect of that particular culture to the next generation, for better or for worse. In certain cultures in East Africa it is female circumcision, for Jews it’s the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah, and in Spanish cultures it’s the celebration that girls have when they are fifteen. I think that too often African-Americans think that we do not have something similar to this, some shared experience that we all can identify with, regardless of location, color issues, economic status, or education level. I dare say that we do, namely….getting spanked.

Some call it Ass-whoopin, spanking, or simply getting beat, but it is a re-occurring instance that I have yet to meet an African-American person child or Adult who never had at least one. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a group of grown folks to get together and regale each other with stories and instances of getting disciplined in that manner. Most people can even tell you what was there parent or guardians’ tool of choice, the belt, and the switch seem to be the most popular, with extension cords, and other household items deemed appropriate. Just like as the tools of discipline were varied so where the spankings took place, personally my mother was a “wait till we get home” simply because she did not want to embarrass herself or me, plus she knew that the anticipation for a spanking was worse than actually getting one. While other parents, like some of my friends believed in reprimanding their child in public, or in the nearest bathroom, while the grievance was still fresh in their mind. Either way it served the same function, as discipline.

Another part of the spanking culture that everyone can relate is their worse beating. That one beating that stood out far more than the other ones, and honestly probably warranted a call to Child Protective Services, for a lot of people it seems to happen in adolescence when they are going through puberty, and try to assert they “grown ass”. That is when the shit hits the fan, I remember mine. I said something smart out of mouf not mouth but mouf, and next thing you know my mom did a back hand smack and in one fell swoop had my hemmed up against the kitchen door frame, with my feet dangling, which is hard to do considering I was 6’3 then and my mom was about 5’10 then after that I don’t remember because I blacked out. As far as I was told, I caught a crucial beat down that the bloods don’t give to a crips on a bad day. All I remember was that I woke up in my bed. But crucial beatdowns don’t always happen in puberty, a friend of mine told me what happened when her and her brother stole some money out of their mother’s pocketbook (side note for those of you who may not understand the significance of going in a black woman’s pocketbook, let’s me just say grown men who’ve been married to their wives for 30 some odd years STILL hand their wife their pocketbook if something is in the pocketbook that the wife asked for). I can’t front when I heard that, I just felt like Cecily on the Color Purple “Beat her”. But this mom was crucial, she beat them starting in the morning, and took turns so one could rest while the other one was getting beat. Oh it did not stop there; homegirl’s mom took a nap after the morning session, and woke up and started to beat them again. Now, I do believe that is child abuse, and not too many people would disagree. But on some level there is a certain understanding why the mom did it.

There are probably some who’ll read this and think that I am condoning corporal punishment, and they are probably the same that would state that the try of punishment we as a people inflict upon our children are relics from slavery times when physical abuse was the norm. But to those I say this; there is a difference between spanking and physically disciplining your child, as opposed to beating the shit out of them. Namely it is love, parents are doing it to reprimand their child as a last resort. Whenever I was about to get spanked my mom would ask me if I knew what I did, and was this the first or second time she told me not do said action, and why I was about to get a spanking. Other parents say to their child “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”, good parents do not like to spank but realize its importance as a last resort mechanism. Whereas, in slavery days corporal punishments were not done out of love or as a last resort, but done because they had power over someone, a big difference.

Sometimes when I look around and see some bad ass kids acting up in public, I thank God my mom loved me enough to correct such behavior. I actually pity those kids, regardless of raise whose parents do not use spanking correctly. Yes there are parents who never do it, out of fear of Child Protective Services, and there are those parents who do it too often and too hard, and that is why Child Protective Services was founded. It’s a fine balancing act that Parents have to walk when spanking, but something that most African-Americans are willing to do in the sake of love.

Just my thoughts.


  • LOL you are to crazy. Yea I can remember getting beat for something one of my sisters did and they wouldn't fess up...we all got beat. I tell ya....there was no time out for us lol

    By Blogger Honey-Libra, at 4:22 PM  

  • I remember those days...I do believe in dicipline, but in moderation. Kids can really try your patience.

    By Blogger LUVIN ME, at 8:12 AM  

  • actually, the way i understand it is most slave parents beat their kids within an inch of their lives not only because it was one of the forms of punishment they were privy to themselves, but mostly because i near-death asswhippin from big mama was a damn sight better than a to-the-death ass/neck/back whippin from massa or the overseer. it was as much to keep us alive and out of love than it was physical abuse. even today, better to catch mama's extension cord than a policeman's bullet.

    still and all, i say whip dat ass (on the ass, which my mama said was the second reason for even having an ass after sitting), but tell em what it's for. with me, you get told "stop" or "no" twice. after that, apparently you can't hear so you need something a little more firm and resonant.

    By Blogger Karamale, at 8:40 PM  

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