The use of corporal punishment to rear children has been the topic of much debate and discussion as of late due to the recent indictment of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson on allegations of child abuse.
Peterson was indicted on Thursday, Sept. 11 in Montgomery County, TX for reckless or negligent injury to a child. Peterson allegedly whipped his 4-year-old son with a switch for pushing his other son off a motorbike video game, according to a police report obtained by Sports Radio 610. The child suffered injuries to his back, ankles, legs, scrotum and hands.
There is a horrid history attached the child beatings in the black community. The culture of whippings is rooted in American slavery.
Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs, two black San Francisco-based psychiatrists, authored “Black Rage,” which examines the roots of the now cultural practice of whippings in the African American community.
Grier and Cobbs argue:
“Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feel that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated. This kind of physical subjugation of the weak forges early in the mind of the child a link with the past and, as he learns the details of history, with slavery per se.”
It is no secret slave owners or overseers beat their African captives unmercilessly. This was done to instill so-called discipline in African men, women and children.
Slave owners even used the Bible to justify their actions. Ephesians 6:5 reads, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”
This culture of extreme beatings was routine for over 400 hundred years of captivity. Sadly, this practice was adopted by African slaves during the course of slavery and continued well after its conclusion and into the present. Not only do many black parents beat their children, they also call them derogatory names during the act, which is a practice also taken from slavery. A slave was called vile names as he or she was whipped. A slave owner would often mock the ethnic features of a black slave, including but not limited to his or her eyes, nose, lips and skin tone.
CNN analyst Don Lemon also linked the culture of spanking in the black community to slavery during a debate with co-host Alisyn Camerota and guest Chris Cuomo.
“For me as an African-American, the question is where did you learn that from? Was that learned from the slave master? Getting the switch? Being beaten?” he commented.
“It’s part of the story,” he continued. “It’s part of the narrative we need to examine.”
Peterson has since been deactivated indefinitely after the Vikings placed him on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list. Peterson is prohibited from attending team activities during his child-abuse case.
Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.
The film “Goodbye Uncle Tom,” released in 1971, explores the brutality of American slavery and the psychological impact it has left on African Americans in the present. Definitely worth the watch.
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