Monday, October 6, 2014

The History Of Spanking

I've never thought about the origin of spanking. Probably because it is so ingrained in American culture, that I, like many African-American's have never even bothered to try to figure out or research its origin. But why? Many would say it works. Spanking, beating, and whipping children gives them the opportunity to associate their misdeeds, mistakes, or mischievousness with pain. The ultimate deterrent is the fear  pain. A fear worse than the possibility of going without a snack, or a video game, or going without a favorite thing. But again, what is the origin of spanking? The answer has always been right before our eyes, and whether we chose to acknowledge, or ignore it,  the cause and effect remain the same. With that being said, it is completely nonsensical to reject certain elements of an atrocity and embrace others. It's like wrapping your arms around a demon while refusing to touch the devil. 

During the darkest time in Ameeican history, slavery, most slave owners and overseers believed African's would respond only to violent methods. In accordance with the racist theory of the “animal-like” nature of the so called Negro, they believed that formal punishments like fines and imprisonments failed to act as deterrents to crime. Thus, most resorted to the whip while a tiny few resorted to paddling.

Note how the same evil beliefs and practices persist to this day. Slave children observed the helplessness and powerlessness of their parents against overwhelming European brutality and understandably recognized the slaver as the highest authority. 

Furthermore, Slave parents, mainly the mother, were simply agents of their owner who conditioned their children to fulfill themselves by doing the bidding of the fiendish that so called owner. Whereas the slave owner's children were highly valued, Slave children whom the slave owner claimed as "his" were terribly disrespected, humiliated, and brutalized. When Slave children did look to their parents, they were taught through scolding and beating to submit to the system for their own safety. Slave parents therefore not only spanked their children to prevent violating the rules of Whites but also spanked when they believed the slave owner wanted that to happen, regardless of whether they thought it was justified. Hence, spankings or “whippings” became a part of the custom of the Slaves and continues to this very day in some households.

Understandably, "Problematic Parenting" was typical for many Slaves and ex-Slaves in that hollering at, scolding, and rough spankings often occurred as a learned "reflex" from their hellish conditions and, to a much less extent, because stern discipline was an African Retention.

Today the issue of how to best discipline children in general and whether or not to use spankings in particular has had a tremendous impact on society. With each passing day the best approach to disciplining youth is getting increasingly diverse. Today, authorities stand on every point of whether to spank or not. Some clinical psychologists say spanking is never, ever appropriate because it shows the child you have no control over the situation. Some say spankings increase antisocial behavior, lying, cheating and bullying, period. While others modify it by saying this occurs among in white children, but shows as a decrease in aggression among black children.

 Some say there are beneficial effects from the spankings themselves and that spankings serve to reinforce lesser forms of discipline so that children are more apt to respond without spanking the next time. 

Spanking is a direct reflection of slavery, point blank. But the physical pain of this form of discipline only has a temporary effect. However, today's form of social discipline, or modern day spanking if you will, has a far reaching, long lasting effect on not just the individual, but entire communities. When you incarcerate a segment of people in record numbers disproportionately you spank, beat, and brutalize families. In my opinion there is nothing more brutal, dehumanizing, or damaging that taking away a human being's ability to feed his or her family for all eternity by demonizing them because of their past. This cycle is often initiated with children as young as 11 or 12 years old. So,while spankings, beatings and whippings are not the most suitable forms of punishment because they are a part of bloody legacy of slavery, we must ask ourselves which disciplinarian we prefer. The criminal justice system or us as parents?


No comments:

Post a Comment