Black Folks and Spanking: Where Do You Stand?


By Gary A. Johnson

Clutch magazine’s Kirsten West Savali wrote an interesting article about why many black parents resist the science that says hitting children is not the best thing to do.  I have NEVER advocated “hitting” children.  I think the only message you are sending when you do that is “I’m bigger than you and I can beat you up.”  There are other times when you hit a child out of frustration.  That’s not good either.

I’m not against an occasional  “popping” on the hand, but I am against whippings, beatings and slaps.  My wife and I raised two young men into adult and NEVER had to resort to whippings and beatings when they were children.  And we did not raise “bad” kids who “talked back” and threw a bunch of temper tantrums.  By all accounts we raised two very well-mannered and respectful young men.

I know firsthand, how it feels be hit and beaten with a belt that leave visible marks and scars on your body.  One can argue that I turned out OK.  I’ve never been in trouble with the law, I don’t drink and never used drugs–NEVER.  Trust me, my being a model citizen had nothing to do with being whipped and beaten.

My friends ridicule and tease me mercilessly for my belief that black folks whipping and beating their children can be traced back to slavery.  Their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were whipped and they are just continuing the tradition.  I say STOP it!

There’s another school of thought that says black folks spanking their children is a part of our culture, much like fried chicken and Kool-Aid.  OK?  And your point is what?

There are many reasons for corporal punishment.  I chose to break the cycle when I became a parent.

Click here to read Kirsten West Savali’s entire article at Clutch MagazineYou can also click here to read an article by LaShaun Williams who argues that spanking is part of black culture.

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5 Responses to “Black Folks and Spanking: Where Do You Stand?”

  1. Gotta take a look at the article. My wife and I were just discussing this yesterday. You don’t have to be what you’ve been taught to be. Come check out my blog and comment if you see fit. It’s time we all started speaking to one another.

  2. I believe there are times when a spanking is warranted. When a child is willfully disrespectful, disobedient, and knowingly puts themselves or someone else in danger. However, if this is your only form of discipline then that speaks more to your shortcomings as a parent. I don’t expect a child to have the same reasoning skills as an adult so more often then not, situations require you to be able to have a discussion with your child explaining actions and consequences. If this is done at an early age, the need for corporal punishment will lessen. It worked for me and my kids.

    • Can’t say that I disagree with you Jim. Your point is well taken that spanking should NOT be your only form of discipline and that a child does not have the same capacity for reasoning. So much of this is situational. When you know better, you should do better. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. Hi. While I appreciate your writing, I need to ask you to please remove the photo of the crying African child from your blog. The photo is mine and I do not wish for it to appear here. As a photojournalist, it’s important for my photos to only appear in connection with the stories they tell. You can read more about why this is important to me here. http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/08/the-real-story-about-the-wrong-photos-in-bringbackourgirls/

    Please take the photo down. Thank you.

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