In December of 2011, Michael Taylor was shot to death outside of his home, in spite of his uncle’s intervention.  Taylor’s mother admitted that as a result of the video going viral that her son was bullied at school, and his uncle questioned whether or not his actions made Taylor feel like he had something to prove. “I was led by the right spirit when I did it, but now the enemy is twisting it in my head like I did something wrong,” Ward said. Intent is not a magical elixir that absolves one of responsibility or culpability.

Ward not only physically assaulted his nephew; he demanded the video of his violent act be placed on the internet for the world to see.  Despite Ward’s so-called intervention, and the many that championed his actions, Taylor is dead. Clearly, whipping Taylor with a belt and publicly humiliating him did not lead to a positive result.  On the other hand, it most likely led to resentment and anger because it was a violation of his person.  It is also highly likely that through his actions, Ward eliminated any chance that Taylor would feel safe to turn to him in a time of need or trouble, because of the violation of trust.

Taylor Ward isn’t just a sad story about gang involvement; he is a cautionary tale about the futileness of depending on archaic methods of discipline and eroding trust between parent/guardian and child. Germany, Sweden and New Zealand are three of the thirty-one countries that have already outlawed spanking. The African-American experience is certainly a unique one, but that uniqueness should not extend to barbarity (or employing the practices of our oppressors).  Beating our own children reduces our communities to the savages that we are constantly constructed to be by Whiteness, because not only is it violent – it presents as a lack of intelligence and imagination.

Womack may well feel that in physically disciplining her son with an extension cord that she was asserting control and affirming their family’s moral code, but what she taught him that day is that his safety and his bodily integrity are not a part of her priorities.  How long are we going to keep performing the same actions with negative results, before we realize that spanking is not the solution to behavioral issues?  The only way to avoid more deaths like that of Taylor Ward, is to actively begin to parent in a manner that is more consistent with the results we hope to achieve.

  • LAD86

    How one can think that hitting a child makes them behave better is not something I understand. Children don’t behave better because they now respect the person doing the whipping and/or spanking. They may temporarily stop the behavior because they don’t like being hit. And if a parent has to spank/whip their child more than once, then obviously it’s not working.

    Just last weekend, as I was walking around the neighborhood, I saw a mother and her young daughter (no older than two-years-old) coming out of their building. The little girl must have tripped, which upset her mother, because she starts fussing at the little girl to watch where she is going as she picks her up by one arm and pushes her forward. The little girl started crying and all I could do was shake my head, because the mother’s actions would definitely classify as abuse even though a lot of Black parents and non-parents would have considered that normal behavior.

    Countless times I have seen mothers smack their kids in their face because their kid dropped a freaking toy or bottle.

    Countless times I have heard mothers and grandmothers curse out their kids for asking for something and/or telling the kids they don’t care if other people see them cry, but I digress.

    So yes, I agree that whipping and spanking is abuse. I mean, if as an adult we were to whip an adult (not sexually), they could press charges for assault, so why is it any different for a child?

  • Lee in London

    I don’t necessarily think that spanking is abuse. My parents certainly gave me spanks as a child when I was naughty and I definitely learnt not to do anything bad again, or at least not in front of them lol. Beating, kicking, pulling, and pushing a child is abuse, no doubt though. But spanking, not so much.

  • Drew-Shane

    Whipping and spanking isn’t abuse. Beating is…

    I don’t see anything wrong with discipline your child. I think as a parent you have to decide which method works best for you and your child. Everyone doesn’t respond the same. Even in the neighborhood I grew up in, I saw white people spanking their kids; despite the fact we think ‘we’re’ the only ones that participate in this behavior.

  • Natalie


  • Sasha

    I absolutely agree with everything you said. When I see people dragging their young children by the hands it makes me cringe- they’re legs aren’t even 12 inches long. Obviously they can’t keep up with you! When I see people hitting and/or verbally attacking their child(ren) I am just shocked and feel so bad for that child, if the parent is comfortable doing it in public imagine what they are capable of behind closed doors.

    Granted I do not know what it is like to raise a child, I have no kids however that does not negate what I have to say. If you have to hit your child more than once, as a matter of fact if you have to hit your child at all, then you need to change your parenting methods because you are doing something wrong. I read somewhere that at a certain age, before a child is capable of speaking/ understanding between the ages of 2 and 4, then is alright to give your child a smack on the hand or bottom but that’s the extent of it.

  • mamareese

    See this is what’s wrong with kids nowaday and why you end up with brats that run your homes. They know they can get their parents in trouble if they discipline them so the parents live in fear….My kids already know…next to God I’m the man….act up…out or whatever different from how you’ve been taught to act….you know better so I’mma get you! All day… my saying goes….I’m not raising no clowns thugs or what have you….I got college funds for you….not bail or funeral money for you. Get it right! Ya’ll got it twisted thinking spanking a child is not healthy…..please we all come from GENERATIONS of tail whippings!!!!!LOL!

  • CurlySue

    To me, there’s a big difference for giving your child a spank on the bottom and then explaining why what they did was unacceptable and smacking your kids around because you’re frustrated or annoyed. It always pisses me off to see mothers in stores or just out and about dragging their toddlers by their little arms or shouting at them to “shut up!”. There is NO reason to EVER tell a two year old to “Shut the f*ck up!”

  • Tonton Michel

    The incidents in this article are on point, they were definitely abuse and humiliation, but what they were most definitely NOT was spanking and disciplining. Countless cultures have used spanking as a way to correct children’s behaviors including white Americans so this idea that black people have a jones for it is BS. The kid Taylor didn’t die because he was spanked on the internet he was killed by other kid who was lacking in discipline and guidance in his life. That kid was going to get bullied regardless if he was on video or not, that is one of the reasons why they join gangs for protection. His uncle has no reason to blame him self for what happened. Spanking should be used rarely as a last line of corrections for hard headed kids, after all avenues have been explored, but outlawed under some twisted belief that it is turning a community into savages. No, there are as whole lot of other external forces responsible for that.

    BTW I didn’t see any alternatives to spankings given in this article either.

  • mdottwo

    Marxist psychologists started this campaign to stop Americans from spanking their children back in the 60′s. Looks like they’ve accomplished their goal.

    Good parenting avoids spanking as often as possible. But I reserve the right to
    spank my child for the appropriate thing and the appropriate moment.

    These are the people who have brought us the out of hand rebellious, disrespectful
    crew of kids who yell at their parents, get in the faces of adults and spew “I hate you!”

    Where I come from, and the church I go to, we lovingly keep our children in line.
    And when they get too far out of line, we impose discipline – “the parent that does not discipline the child, hateth the child.”

  • LA

    So for those of you who classify a beating as abuse but think a spanking is fine: what exactly is the difference between a spanking and a beating?

    I’m not rying to be sarcastic. I didn’t get spankings as a child so I really don’t know what the distinction is. In my family the words have been used interchangeably.

  • LemonNLime

    First spanking is not something found solely in the black community. If anything it is more a reflector of regional culture IMO. I have noticed, among blacks and whites, the closer your family connections are to the South, the more likely you were spanked growing up. I’m a second generation Ohioan whose family is still VERY much connected to Georgia. My black and white friends who have southern roots that are still apart of their family eat catfish, greens, yams and were debutantes and got spanked.

    Secondly, there is a difference between spanking and abuse. Swatting a kid on the butt, not hard enough to bruise or scar, as punishment for doing something very wrong or potential dangerous is spanking. Spanking is usually the last resort NOT the first option. Beating a kid because you had a bad day and your child accidental trips is abuse. Beating your kid and posting it online to humiliate the kid is abuse. Hitting your child so hard with objects that it causes bruises, scars, or blackouts is abuse.

    My Mom would spank but my Dad didn’t and guess whose rules I ALWAYS followed? My Dad would put me in corners…please. When my Mom told me to do or not to do something you best believe I fell in line. As a kid, I vowed I would never spank my kids but when I became an adult that flew out the window as did my patience for these lame a** parents who would rather be a friend to their 5 y/o rather than a parent. Spanking didn’t stifle my creativity, make me abusive, or scar me mentally, emotionally, or physically. I grew up well rounded and I have very healthy relationships with my parents. And looking back I deserved those spankings, excepts for one – I STILL rub that one in my Mom’s face but also I still remember the pain in her face when she found out she spanked me and took away Christmas, not because I did anything wrong, but because my teacher lied to her and told her I did. I also know LOTS of kids who were spanked who are on their 2 kid while single, in jail, or involved with foolishness.

  • LemonNLime

    *I also know LOTS of kids who were NOT spanked who are on their 2 kid while single, in jail, or involved with foolishness.

  • CurlySue

    Hi LA. Here’s my take on the difference: A spanking is never meant to leave a mark, should be done over the clothes on the fleshy part of the behind and is ALWAYS used in conjunction with an explanation as to why the behavior was unacceptable. It’s not meant to “hurt” but more to startle the child into attention. To me, a beating is meant to inflict harm and is more a way for the parent to vent their own frustrations than anything to do with discipline. Also, I do not believe a child should be spanked past the age where they can reason pros vs cons. After that, a system of consequences for bad behavior should be put into effect. For instance, you didn’t clean your room when I asked you, no computer for a week.

  • CurlySue

    Also, a spanking should never be with anything but an open palm. No paddles, wooden spoons, belts, switches, or extension cords (Extension cords!? Seriously!?That’s pure brutality).

  • Nicole83

    This author takes extreme examples(no disagreement that these examples are tragic, excessive and indicative of abuse) and attempts to apply the results of these tragedies to ALL incidents of whippings and spankings. This application discredits the points she is trying to make. I do agree that violence in the home perpetuates violence outside of the home, statistics back that up, no doubt. However, the author seems to only consider the extremes and not the happy mediums of the two. Personally, although I definitely got the belt, a police belt no less, as a child, I don’t believe in whippings and wont be whipping my son. A slap on the behind or hand can be considered a spanking though, are we really ready to say this is tantamount to abuse and can lead to the death and/or other tragic circumstances of a child? Very extreme. Truth is, plenty of psychologists and children and family services agencies ALLOW corporal punishment i.e. spankings because some children have dispositions that simply respond better to this form of discipline. Frankly, if we don’t render the appropriate form of punishment to the more “Spirited” children who need it, we are doing them and the community the ultimate disservice. The author seems to have no alternatives other than to decry every form of physical punishment.

  • Socially Maladjusted


  • Socially Maladjusted

    Fantastic post.

    The Clutch writers have been on fire lately –

    go dere!


    There’s nothing in TRUE African culture that prescribes the beating of children, we didn’t bring child abuse with us off the enslavers boat’s – they beat child abuse, by using beatings as a way to “pacify” us to our enslavement.

    Beating children, for blacks – is a learned behaviour, and our awareness of it as a learned behaviour means it is longer tenable for us to employ beatings as a method of disciplining children, indeed, there are some who would even decry the need to disciplne children at all.

    I’m one of them – children don’t need disciplining, which by defintion means to control and inevitably involves some form of coercion eg. beatings or threat of punishment..


    Children simply to be SOCIALIZED, taught how to live peacefully and co-operatively and in HARMONY with other humans being and the natural living world around them.

    And how do you do that? – just by being that yourself.

    I’m convinced that much of the rage and violence we see in black adults has its roots in the beatings/smacks/spankings we suffer in childhood. For too many of us, as adults, the reflex response to threat, insult and even embarrassment – is violence.

    Really have no tolerance for people who insist that beating/smacking et al are appropriate ways to socialize children – my guess would be that your child’s bad behaviour is proporationate to the amount of beatings/disciplining you inflict on them.

    Not the other way round.

    Stop hitting those kids.

    You’re not practicing good parenting – you’re just a bully who is too immature to handle the responsibility of raising a child.

  • MsQuita

    Spanking your children is totally different than beating and abusing your children.

  • Socially Maladjusted

    Fantastic post.


    There’s nothing in TRUE African culture that prescribes the beating of children, we didn’t bring child abuse with us off the enslavers boat’s – they beat child abuse, by using beatings as a way to “pacify” us to our enslavement.

    Beating children, blacks – is a learned behaviour, and our awareness of it as a learned behaviour means it is longer tenable for us to employ beatings as a method of disciplining children, indeed, there are some who would even decry the need to disciplne children at all.

    I’m one of them – children don’t need disciplining, which by defintion means to control and inevitably involves some form of coercion eg. beatings or threat of punishment..


    Children simply to be SOCIALIZED, taught how to live peacefully and co-operatively and in HARMONY with other humans being and the natural living world around them.

    And how do you do that? – just by being that yourself.

    I’m convinced that much of the rage and violence we see in black adults has its roots in the beatings/spankings/smacks we suffer in childhood. For too many of us, as adults, the reflex response to threat, insult and even embarrassment – is violence.

    Really have no tolerance for people who insist that beating/smacking et al are appropriate ways to socialize children – my guess would be that your child’s bad behaviour is proporationate to the amount of beatings/disciplining you inflict on them.

    Not the other way round.

    Stop hitting those kids.

    You’re not practicing good parenting – you’re just a bully who lacks the maturity, patience and wisdom required the responsibility of raising a child.

  • Ashley Ford

    I’m a writer, but being a nanny is my day job. I’ve also worked in other childcare facilities. In my experience, the best behaved kids were the ones who weren’t spanked. There’s this idea that we hit our kids so they don’t end up in trouble or in prison. I’ve worked with incarcerated men: the overwhelming majority were all spanked, whipped, or beaten as children. So, that argument doesn’t really hold weight.

    It’s not that spanking is fundamentally wrong it’s just that too few parents care to learn how to do it effectively. They spank or hit out of anger, rather than the desire to truly teach the child a lesson about their behavior. And when you hit someone out of anger, you always hit them harder than you mean to. Always. In most cases, once parents give themselves a moment to calm down, they find that they don;t even want to hit anymore. They feel like the situation can totally be addressed verbally.

    I was spanked, whipped, and beaten. I turned out okay. But my relationship with my mother is still tenuous. Mostly because she always hit harder than she thought she did and because she’d hit us out of anger then never tell us what we got hit for. There is such a thing as a parent bullying their own child. Kids recognized when they’re being disciplined out of love vs. the need to be controlling. If you exhibit the latter, get ready for those adult children to resent you.

  • gryph

    excellent post.

    i like the connection you make between parents taking over the role of `slave-master’. it really says something about how black people seek power – usually by imitating whites.

    i’ll go a bit further. parents beating black kids actually LEADS to domestic abuse and gun violence.

    it might seem counter-intuitive, but isn’t really. what a parent teaches a child when they beat them,or others, is that violence the ultimate a way of establishing one’s will, earning respect and proving authority. so, in life when the child has conflicts with others – or want to suppress others – they’re more likely to choose violence.

  • D2damurf

    I totally agree you and I think that your point that it’s the child’s disposition that determines whether this style of parenting is effective is well made. I feel like a good portion of these extreme cases of abuse we see in the media can be chalked up to the parent using a method of discipline that their child doesn’t respond to and instead of doing something different they are upping the ante past the level of what’s ok.

    While I think the author is highlighting some really important issues that provoke us to be more critical of our communities, at the end of the day parenting is tough business and I really don’t think you can come in a lay down such a bright line rule that putting your hands on your kids is abuse. I also don’t think its fair to essentially label everyone who was raised under the “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy as a victim of abuse–I sure was a lot of things growing up (awkward, nerdy, self-conscious) but abused was definitely not one of them.

  • gryph

    excellently articulated and argued. thanks for this!

  • mile’s mommy

    We all know what abuse is. Even the parents who do it. I’m expecting my first child. I see the difference in children who are disciplined and who aren’t. If you spank a child and explain to them why is that really abuse? Now handling your child by swinging them around grabbing them up such and so forth, we already know what that is. Every child is different so as a responsibly I have the right to discipline my child how I want. The same people telling me how to discipline my child will not be there nor have to deal with when he’s in trouble. I got spankings and to be honest I’m glad I got them compared to ppl I know. It all starts in the home. My young black son will be disciplined. Laws or now laws.

  • au napptural

    I just don’t know. On the one hand, I was spanked as were all my sibs and pretty much everyone I grew up. We grew up to go to college and become professionals. But at the same time correlation doesn’t mean causation. It could be that our parents raised us right in the other ways, educating us and loving us, and that’s we we’re awesome :)

    Long story short, I’ve heard slavery and corporal punishment linked a lot lately. That frustrates me. There was corporal punishment in West Africa long before slavery and it still exists today. We carry traces of our culture apart from slavery. But I am beginning to question the effectiveness of spanking. I’ll try other methods with my children (when I have some. lol) but if they don’t work, I’m going with the tried and true!

  • Socially Maladjusted

    “It’s not that spanking is fundamentally wrong . . . “

    just this ^ of disagreement.

    Yes it is wrong,

    because it’s the use of violence by one human being to control another human being.

    Children don’t need to be controlled by any means. That stifles their creativity and the natural curiosity that makes them want to explore the world around them,

    They become restless, (“badly behaved”) they never learn to channel their energies into productive activity teenagers/adults, and then we resort to drugs to control them.

    Or worse – they grow up to be stunted adults who can only think and function within one-dimensional framework.

    Big problem among blacks I’d say. We teach ourselves to stay in our place. Rather than teach our children that the world is as much ours to explore as everyone else – by letting em mess with everything.


  • Socially Maladjusted

    “but if they don’t work, I’m going with the tried and true!”

    Well that’s why hitting children should outlawed.

  • au napptural

    “Well that’s why hitting children should outlawed.” The cops can still hit them, shoot them, and hang them if they choose. I’m trying to prevent that.

  • au napptural

    Word! Everyone should examine their childhood. Who did you listen to as a child? Personally, I was spanked by both parents and I treated their word like the Word of God. My grandparents were super sweet and pliable and I ran rampant at their house- until they called my dad.

  • Socially Maladjusted


    “it might seem counter-intuitive, but isn’t really. what a parent teaches a child when they beat them,or others, is that violence the ultimate a way of establishing one’s will, earning respect and proving authority. so, in life when the child has conflicts with others – or want to suppress others – they’re more likely to choose violence.”

    exactly Gryph – I don’t see what’s so controversial about that. If you beat children, especially at an age when their personalities are still forming, then you’re conditioning them to be violent and -

    to expect violence.

    Which we can see in those who argue that spanking didn’t hurt them.
    It didn’t hurt them so they’re going to do it to their children.


    No clearer example of how violence begets violence in my book.

  • CherokeeSmiles

    I was spanked as a kid, not beaten but spanked. Believe me, I needed it. I spanked my kids when they needed it. What wrong with America today is that our kids are allowed to run wild without discipline or consequences. If I had kids today, I would use spanking as appropriate as my first option despite big brother’s control. My kids are successful, well-behaved parents of beautiful children who have respect for everyone. Spanking works and it is not up to the government to tell us how to raise our children.

  • Tricia

    I agree. I can’t understand why it has become wrong to discipline your child and then years from now your child ends up in jail because of not correcting that child. The Bible says it so why has it become wrong to do!

  • Tami

    I totally agree with you, Tonton Michel

  • myblackfriendsays

    I appreciate you writing this article. I have a few problems with spanking/hitting your children.

    1) It teaches that hitting is acceptable behavior.
    2) It teaches that people who love you sometimes hit you.
    3) It teaches it is okay for larger person to use their size and strength to dominate a smaller person.

    None of these things are messages that I want to send to my child. And common sense shows that if you hit someone that is too small to defend him/herself, it is only going to make that person angry and resentful towards you.

    There are many other effective ways to discipline children, I wish that more people would look into them.

  • African Mami

    You are using EXTREMES to debase physically disciplining a child! I almost went to cardiac arrest, when you inferred that comedians use their jokes as a cover to some trauma/pain-call it whatever, caused by spanking. Ward did NOT assault his nephew! I do agree posting the video was unnecessary, but I do applaud him for having taken action. In Africa-the land of your ancestors, spanking.beating/whipping/-choose whichever is most politically correct for you-are culturally ingrained! We use rubber slippers, wooden cooking spoons-like the one used to make fufu. We do not have 911 to call and report “assault” or a system in which if I see you spanking a child-I immediately call child services-if anything, I help you discipline-not necessarily, by joining in but by giving words of wisdom after you are through spanking!

    Disciplining a child is NOT assault. What is assault is having to call 911 because the child is unconscious, or when blood starts oozing out….otherwise spanking IS a disciplinary measure, that we all need to embrace! It is NOT the end all be all, it is one of the many measures that can be used to ensure your kids is NOT a statistic. It should be coupled with effective communication before, after and during the actual spanking…..I started taking college ed communication classes, while I was still a child. I am GRATEFUL for all the spanking I got!!!!!! They have helped with my wit and foolishness!!!!!

    #Occupy spanking!

  • apple

    beating won’t change nothing mostly..
    i however after being beat down from ages 5-7 i stop acting up..but i can’t act like the fear isn’t still in me, im a grown ass woman and im afraid of my mom to this day.. i dont do the things i want in fear she might jump on me .

  • SheThrives11

    I’ve worked with children before and would never dream of hitting someone else’s kid. As a childcare worker, I learned useful ways to discipline children so that they know the consequences of their actions as well as the difference between right or wrong without spanking/wooping. I plan to use the same techniques when I have children. There are more effective ways if you are willing to learn instead of giving into tradition. Spanking/wooping will not stop your child from becoming a thug, ghetto princess, teen mom, drop-out, or exhibiting any other form of bad behavior no matter how many black parents claim it’s the best form of discipline.

  • full moon

    I was spanked on occasion as a child…and I’m a reletively normal human being who is non violent, implores a tight moral code, and has some sense.
    I understand some of the points the author made, however she has taken the worst instances of spanking (the spanking that is clearly a dot away from child abuse) to make her point. Everything in moderation. A few taps on the behind, the hand is acceptable forms of disipline in my house, when my childs behavior warrents it. Child abuse is sick… Disiplining your child mildly is ok…(and yes there is a fine line.) Time out don’t work for all offenses, our children are wilful.

  • The Taker

    1,2,3… what happened, where’s my post.

  • I got sense!

    Lol, some of these posts are hilarious. For those who say it’s wrong and should be outlawed, what do you think cops and correction officers are going to do to you child? So it would be better for them to beat your kid?

    I think what many people are missing is that physical discipline is just one of many methods that should be used. Every offense doesn’t warrant hitting. Not to mention physical discipline isn’t a cure all. Know your child. Pay attention to them. For example, If your son is acting up because his father isn’t there you can beat him all day. It won’t make a difference. Never hit your child when you are angry. Give real consequences for their misbehavior. Parents are supposed to be preparing their children for thereal world. In the real world if you get caught speeding the traffic cop doesnt hit you. He/she Gives you a ticket. Kids shouldn’t be getting spanked past the age of 6 years old. I say that because of their mental development and at that age they are better age to understand right from wrong. No they don’t understand it fully but they understand it enough to not be hit but to receive a more appropriate and creative punishment that fits the crime. I believe in spanking, not abusing or beating children but within very specific situations.

  • The Taker

    OMG! I didn’t know the boy from video is dead now. That is really sad. Wow…. And the uncle should have knew that video will be seen by the entire world and that video would lead to future problems. I understand wanting to teach kids a lesson because they can get out of hand and end up going down the wrong path BUT these videos to me only further alienates and humiliates the child. No lessons are learned and the resentment and anger for the adults that are supposed to protect these children are only going to deepened…greatly.
    To me, sagging pants is gross and I hate that young boys and men take to such a fashion but that shouldn’t warrant an extension cord across a child’s back nor legs. That is way too extreme. Talking to him, taking away things that he likes could have worked. I know I used to be beat for minuscule things like not always understanding my math homework in the second grade, I mean I got beat with a shoe because I couldn’t solve a particular problem. Could you just imagine a 7 year old girl being beaten with a shoe when she really just needed a little more help. I love my mom but I despise her for that particular moment in my life. I believe there are much more effective ways to discipline children. Even my nephew, who is all of 3 gets slapped up and yelled at like he his some damn teenager by his mom (my sister) for doing things we all know 3 year olds like to do. I told his mom that its not cool to treat him like that. He’s still a baby (yes I think a 3 year old is still a baby). He’s doesn’t always fully understand nor get that he is doing the wrong thing sometimes. That abuse will forever be a permanent stain in his memory because he know’s fear and he fears his mom when he’s done wrong. I could even tell when he know’s he done something by accident and didn’t mean it and will try to ‘fix it’. It’s actually quite adorable, I must say.

    Anyway, I do wish beatings would cease to exist in our culture because it’s not like fixing the MANY problems black youths have. Communication, guidance,love and understanding is something our community really needs to work on. I don’t think there would be so many lost souls walking the streets.

  • Whatever


  • Drew-Shane

    Could you please share some of ‘these’ methods with us?

  • full moon

    +2 @Tonton Michel

  • Heems

    I would NEVER! hit my kids or any kids because it’s not right . It’s ABUSE I was beatin as a kid and that s*** HURT!!!

  • LAD86

    Oh yes, I always imagine that what they do at home is much worse.

  • African Mami

    errm, it IS supposed to hurt not soothe.

    Now granted that I don’t know how you were beaten (spanked-if you wanna do political correctness), it may have been abuse, but a simple smack on the butt… that is NOT abuse! It is simply correcting behavior through physical touch-OH SNAP!

  • EnsomCityEmpress

    the way these kids growing up nowadays; thats what they need! I am going to continue to whip my child, and I was whipped as a child and I am perfectly fine.

  • Rastaman

    I am no social scientist, so I cannot speak emphatically on whether it is better to spank or not to spank. What I do know is that being involved with your children, providing for them and nurturing them as people makes for successful parenting. I was spanked as a child and I never did like it but I also never felt like I was abused. My mother today says she does not remember ever hitting me but considering that I was bigger than my mom by age 12, I can see how it could slip her memory. By all accounts I was a good kid but I also had the benefit of witnessing my older sisters getting the business and my parents having better parenting skill dealing with me than my older siblings. But most of all my parents were solid and secure during most of my formative years and thus were fully equipped to raise children. Those are some of the distinctions that those who are opposed or for spanking do not seem to include in the debate.
    Disciplining your child is necessary when raising children but how and when we discipline them has a lot to do with the environment in which they are being raised. Depending on that child, stern words and time-outs may be all they require but some kids are going to require more intense actions. Violence is never recommended to solve any problem but we can never eschew violence as an option. \

    Plus, people need to stop with the might don’t make right argument. Where in our society does the strong and the powerful do not exercise control over their weaker compatriots?

  • binks

    I agree with most of the comments, spanking and flat out abuse aren’t the same. Spanking can be an effective form of discipline but it shouldn’t be a main resort nor is it effective for all children. My brothers and I got spanked on ocassion as kids and we turned out fine. I think people need to look at the whole picture of corporal punishment instead of just the extreme cases. However I do believe today that a lot of lack of parenting is going on by parents that they aren’t rearing or teaching their kids right so when they spank it is out of frustration or anger but of course spanking isn’t going to work if the child already lacks struture

  • habibah

    @African mami, your comment is really on point. I remember how much i feared egba (cane),slippers and soup ladle as a child. I was actually surprised to see a comment implying that spanking isnt a part of African culture. It is a part of our culture in West Africa. We are are actually the worst offender because no cop will arrest you for spanking your child. An elderly member of the family aside the parent can also spank/discipline the child. Its a norm here in Africa.

  • habibah

    @African mami, your comment is really on point. I remember how much i feared egba (cane),slippers and soup ladle as a child. I was actually surprised to see a comment implying that spanking isnt a part of African culture. It is a part of our culture in West Africa. We are are actually the worst offender because no cop will arrest you for spanking your child. An elderly member of the family aside the parent can also spank/discipline the child. Its the norm here in Africa.

  • Socially Maladjusted


    I wish blacks could just for once not be so conformist. Whatever fiiting in with a sick society demands, we must do,

    Why can’t we ever be pioneers of something beautiful and compassionate? Why can’t create new ways that make life a little easier, a little kinder, a little less fraught among ourselves?

    Why must we always have the highest levels of everything no good and be the greatest advocates for it?

    Why can’t we say that in our culture there is a strong taboo against hitting children?

    just because NOT hitting is actually a good thing – a much better thing than hitting them.

  • arlette

    i will never get people who spank their kids, it makes no sense. how can you spank your kid as a punishment for hitting another child or doing something else.

  • kaya

    I dont know where the people who thinks spanking is abuse than turn around and have this holier than thou attitude. As parents the best you can do is provide,nurture and care for your kids the best way you can and no that no matter what you do your kids will come out a lil mess up rather thru corporal punishment or thru other means. Taking your kids things can bring up selfish materialistic human beings, for example– they can become possessive when they do have their stuff and can place higher value on it because of it as well. Corporal punishment can lead to some kids having anger issues and what nots but that’s not every kid. Not every kid subject to corporal punishment turns violent or have issues with anger or feel betrayed,. Just like not every kid who dont receive corporal punishment is bratty. You mold your discipline to your child and dont do too much of one thing but balance out the best way possible your disciplinary actions. Its foolish in myopinion to say one method works better than the next, because for every example you have of someone coming out well adjusted without every being hit, someone who got “spank” as one for you too.

  • TAE

    spanking, beating, open palm, closed fist, whatever…. it’s all the same thing. It’s basically one person, a much larger person, using physical violence and to dominate and control the behavior of another and usually that other is small and vulnerable. It’s not a fair fight and you’re the adult, why do you have to put hands on your child to make them respect you?

    I’ve seen examples of parents who have never hit their children and those children are some of the most exceptional young people I have ever met, I have also seen examples of people who employed corporal punishment on their children that have raised exceptional young people as well. So I guess it all comes down to the parent and their particular method but violence is violence. Spanking is violent. Beating is violent. I guess we justify the type of violence we use against children by making sure it’s violence of a “gentler” nature or a lesser degree.

    For myself, the sound of a child getting spanked makes my skin crawl. And using objects like shoes, belts, spoons, extension cords, and the like is just plain horrific. So you’re an adult, you’re big, you’re already scary, and your hands pack a hell of a lot of force, but you need to use a weapon too? The weapon is just to increase the pain and discomfort similar to how instruments and objects are used in torture.

    I’m black and from the south so I know all about that and the respect that I had for my adult disciplinarians was never heightened because the beat/spanked me. I just feared them, disliked them, and got extremely good at hiding everything from them. Beating/spanking just teaches you that getting caught hurts. Teaching a child right from wrong essentially has nothing to do with your hands, belt, shoe, or extension cord, it has to do with your ability to permeate that child’s mind with knowledge in turn building within them a system of values and morals that they will follow because they understand why they should do so.

  • Socially Maladjusted

    Thank you for this

  • c0c0puffz

    I just don’t like it. I remember my mom going from one extreme to another beating us growing up. If I have kids, I will never put that fear in them that my mom did. She went from belt, extension cord, brushes, hot combs, pushing us downstairs and punching us like we were strangers on the street. She even starved and left my brother outside.

  • QoNewC

    @The Taker

    Your sister is evil and your nephew needs to be rescued from her cruelty. Why dont you whoop her behind and protect your nephew? She is criminal and deserves to be in jail.

  • QoNewC


    Apparently youre not “perfectly fine” if you are visiting the abuse you suffered to your child. Imagine if you were molested. Seek help.

  • QoNewC


    The next time the subject of the dead beat dad comes up and how it ruins our children, Im going to remeber some of the comments here of people who were abused as children and those who continue to abuse their children (enthusiastically even.)

  • E.M.S.

    I think the results depend on the child’s personality. For some, it’s a good incentive to stay out of trouble, for others it just makes things worse. You never really know.

    I was only spanked a few times as a kid, and it wasn’t that bad. It was manly done once as a warning, then I would straighten up. Am I emotionally damaged from it? Not at all. I had a great childhood, despite the few tiffs when I disobeyed, and I harbor no hatred towards my parents, it was an effective form of discipline in my opinion.

    As far as the rest of society is concerned, I think the reason spanking so looked down upon is because extreme cases are publicized. And extreme cases are just straight up abuse.

    Let us also consider that children can still misbehave just as badly when they’re not spanked, because they have no fear of punishment. They know they’re just going to be sent to their room or put on time out. That lack of consequence can just as easily lead to bad behavior as spanking.

    In the end, if you disagree with it, don’t participate when you raise a child. However, if it’s not severe & it’s producing results for another parent, I say mind your business.

  • African Mami

    @ habibah,

    EXACTAMUNDO!!! It’s not a big deal where we are from, it’s actually a rite of passage….oh well! It is deemed as assault in the West. whatev!

  • chanela

    black people are the only ones who spank their kids??? oh okay. talk to asian kids they get spanked with a big ass bamboo stick (called getting caned) and guess who dominates the world when it comes to math and science? guess who is the most disciplined law abiding citicens??? they have it worse. aha

  • CB

    I don’t think spanking is always abuse all the time…but I don’t think it’s good parenting. You said it yourself: you learned not to get caught. There’s prettty clear statistical evidence that kids who experience corporal punishment have more behaviour problems in general. It’s possible that the cause runs in the other direction, but it doesn’t seem likely since I don’t know many parents who hit one kid and not another, and if the behaviour caused the spanking it would only be the kids naturally inclined to misbehave.
    I wouldn’t support, say, putting a kid in foster care because of spanking, but something doesn’t have to be abuse to be a bad idea.

  • Ocean Breezy (LAD86)

    I agree with everything you’ve *said here.

    I also cringe when I see an adult hit a child. I always look at the child’s face to see their expression and wonder how a parent can look at their child and not see that they are hurting them emotionally.

  • Ocean Breezy (LAD86)

    But then again, education is valued much more in those cultures.

  • Trishana

    I thinking spanking should be a last resort BUT if your child is younger than 5 or so and is going to run out into the street/touch a hot stove or something a tap on the behind or hand is fine. but then you bring in belts and shoes and wire hangers. YES I’ve seen my sibling get beat with a wire hanger and it left visible imprints. When a child is really young, they can’t understand explanations of why things are wrong so a spanking is warranted. But when a child becomes older, taking privileges away is probably most likely the most effective strategy. And lets say a child grows up and you’ve beaten them with belts, and switches and extension cords. That child will grow to resent you and go ahead and do the things you thought you were stopping them from doing by beating them. I was beaten with a belt but it was never that bad. I did grow to become really good at hiding things/not necessarily doing the right thing. but I’m college educated and I think I’m a very well adjusted person. But I think alot of beatings come from parents who are stressed out with things that have nothing to do with their children. I do not want to beat my children with weapons. I think if you’re going to give your child a spanking, your hand is good enough. But it should be a last resort not the first thing you do.

  • Pam Greer

    Spoiled kids everywhere… that’s what I see when I go to the market and the lazy mothers have a cloud of hollering children milling about like a dirty tornado. Too lazy to discipline their kids, and then the kids grow up with a concept of getting away with “whatever” with no real consequences.
    The school shootings and similar violence are probably a result of the past couple of decades’ “don’t spank” parenting.
    The bottom line is, spanking works. It should only be used when it’s needed, and with the appropriate level of force from a parent who loves their child. Which means, just enough to sting the buttocks (and leave them stinging for a couple of minutes) but not nearly enough to bruise.
    Folks, grow up and realize that spanking is natural and necessary. Be responsible for your children and care enough for their upbringing to do what hurts you both.

  • Kam

    One question Black people, looking the state of our community, how well is spanking working out for us?

  • Ocean Breezy (LAD86)

    CB, you may not know parents who hit one child and not another, but it most certainly happens.

  • chanela

    Omg you can’t be serious! a quick pop on the wrist or behind is a million times different than throwing a child down the damn stairs or starving them. now THAT is abuse. abuse is also spanking the child for no reason. you people on here are trippin

  • meduhh

    Some people really do take discipline a little to far. However, I feel as if every child is different, who are we to say what works with others peoples children. I heard of some children who laugh when they get spanked, some respond just fine with just a look you give, or even a warning, others you might have to raise your voice. Let me tell you I can not think of one time I got spanked and didn’t deserve it. I am still sane, non-violent and very respectful. Idk maybe a balance between discipline and love is what children need. Too much discipline AND too little discipline both are dangerous. I just think what people aren’t doing is paying attention to THEIR OWN children and to busy criticizing others.

  • Bella

    Why would anyone debate what constitutes abuse, to what extent a child is spanked and whether or not that is abuse shouldn’t be an issue. Even a mild “bitch slap” is enough to make an adult respond with fear, terror, or at worst, the urge to fight back, nevermind a child that is physically smaller than the adult. Often, the physical spanking isn’t even the worst of it, it is the emotional abuse of fear and anxiety that is the worst part. How can any parent expect their child to trust or respect the parent that uses fear and violence to control the child, especially when the kid grows older and has bigger problems. If a kid gets hit as a form of discipline growing up, how are they to reach out to these parents when they are beating themselves up about a problem like teen pregnancy or drug abuse?

    Lastly, how is it fair to discount the opinions of commentors here because they say they were physically abused themselves. If anything, a person who has been abused and resolved their issues enough to be open about it probably have greater insight to the issue of corporal punishment.

  • Bella

    Beautifully put!

  • Bella

    But who says that Asian kids aren’t messed up in their own ways? Look at Asian suicides for not meeting parental academic expectations and abuse in Asian communities such as wife battering. Also, like the previous commentor says, education is highly valued in these cultures so you have parents who beat their kids but also throw a lot of resources and pressure towards educating that kid. Also, think about how Asians primarily got to the US through education and work visas not slavery. An education was the ticket to escaping poverty to make a better life and compete with rich westerners. It isn’t fair to compare the tolls of physical abuse between these two communities in this manner; it ignores the social issues of the black community from it’s historical core.

  • Jonah

    Thusly, a new BDSM freak is created.

  • lulu

    i’m not for abuse- but some of the bebe kids need a spanking – so i say no to abuse yes to spanking bad unruly kids and of course discpline before


    Actually, of the ppl I know who needed to be spanked and were, they’re doing very well. Those that needed it and were not, well, they’re taking regular trips up north where someone else can do the spanking. I was spanked all of one time in my life, for doing something I knew better than to do, and I appreciate my parents for doing it. Part of the problem here is ppl saying ALL black ppl spank their kids, and spanking is abuse. We only hear the extreme cases of abuse in the media. Judging by the comments here, plenty of ppl were spanked properly, not abused, and have thrived into normal well adjusted adults.

  • Thank, Q

    We’re discussing this on my radio show tomorrow. I’d love to have some of you call in and voice your opinion on this very topic. I was spanked as a child and although I don’t have a problem with it, I do think that there’s a time/place for every thing. Each kid is different and some kids seem to require a belt on the butt while others can straighten up after a time out.

    When it comes to spanking any where other than the butt, then I would say that it was abuse. However, I do realize that there’s a thin line between spanking/abusing. I will say this though: tough love is not being practiced like it was 25 years ago.

  • Zahra

    Physical discipline pre-dates slavery. All cultures and nationalities punish their children in this manner, so according to this article, the whole planet is barbaric except the EuroPean.

  • Bella

    Certainly, anyone, European or not, who can discipline their kids without hitting, is progressive. Most of the planet did progress and abolish slavery, afterall.

  • AliciaA

    I know a woman who hands out “spankings” like nothing ever seen before, according to these comments spanking is a light-ish hit, with an open hand (no weapons), but how often should this occur in order for it to be effective? because this woman “spanks” her 7 y. old daughter for forgetting to put her jacket in the closet after coming home from school.. to me that seems like lazy parenting.

    If you cannot discipline your child without raising a hand to them all the time you’re really not raising them, you’re threatening them. I don’t mind spanking (although I do throw some shade my mother’s way for the way she spanked me sometimes), but I do remember having a lot more fear and respect for my father (who never hit me) as opposed to my mother (who did it when she felt it was appropriate).

    I think that if at 16, 17, 18 etc. you still have to “spank” your child, you’re lazy. period. Because, contrary to popular belief, most teenagers just want to be spoken to and understood, talking to teens works A LOT better than trying to seem as though you’re dominating them, parents should remember, at that point they’re transitioning into adulthood and beginning to grow into their own skin, spanking an adolescent is unnecessary and uncalled for, Michael Taylor’s uncle didn’t need to spank him, he needed to learn how to communicate, IJS.

    However, I will say that I fully intend to spank my CHILD, not large teenager, but young child (2-5), only because at such a young age it is not to easy to comprehend certain things, so if my three year old runs into the street, or touches something he/she isn’t supposed to a light tap/slap may or may not occur, but as children get older parents do actually have to start working harder at giving out actual punishments.

    What happened to Michael Taylor is sad, because it might have been preventable, but his uncle was not knowledgable about the more effective ways to get through to teens. “Spanking” a teenager will never work, I have a friend now who won’t leave her 3 year old son alone with her dad because of the way he used to discipline up until her EARLY 20′S (22 y. old). I will never understand why parent’s think its appropriate to raise hands to potentially 6 foot teenagers, who will be living on their own in college in a year/or two/or few months, as opposed to guiding them. Every teen wants guidance from their parents, not dominance.

  • c0c0puffz

    It started with spanking and as we grew older, my mom got frustrated and let’s say creative with her beatings. That is why I said I don’t like it because some parents don’t know how to control their kids other than beating them or scaring the shit out of them. My brother and sister stole things growing up and the beatings did nothing but make them sneakier. I would get blamed for most of the things because we had to tell on each other just to survive. We resent each other and hate each other and I still can’t talk to my mom.

  • pink

    lulu: So true. If more kids were spanked then there probably wouldn’t be as many rude, thuggish, dropping out of school, disrespectful kids. Spanking (mostly) worked back in the day. Spanking is definitely something the government/police need to get out of people’s business about. There’s a different in abuse, and disciplining


    Spanking, I believe is okay…now abuse is not. My mother spanked me. She explained why I was getting punished, spanked me after she calmed down, and then revisited the whole situation to remind me she loved me and that I had to learn obedience or could end up in a horrible situation. I resented her at the time, but she saved my life and led me to the right place to save my soul.

  • Kam

    I meant the state of the community as a whole. Because we know spanking is commonly done in the community, yet it doesn’t translate to success for us as whole. Or else our jails would be full with those that weren’t spanked, and we know that the majority of them were.

  • Bella

    If a kid can take spankings and learn from instead of being traunatized, shouldn’t that same child have the ability to learn and be disciplined in a non-violent way that actually teaches that child a lesson in a cognitive way about consequences? Consequences of bad behavior should teach why that bahavior is bad rather than the lesson merely being to be afraid of the parents.

    As for kids that are to young to be reasoned with, spanking is unconscionable. We’re talkind about a wee child that barely comes up to an adults kneecaps that is still developing its neurological system. One can more easily pick that child up and remove it from danger, over and over, if need be. That is the parent’s job, this kid can’t think yet. It can barely talk intelligibly.

  • Fuchsia

    While I was growing up every punishment was about choices. I had to explain what I did, why I chose to do what I did and then I had to choose my own punishment, and spanking was ALWAYS an option. And to be honest I usually chose a spanking over other forms of punishment. It was easier than a long drawn out process of taking my things away or limiting my time with friends. If children are taught that every choice has a consequence then regardless of what the punishment is the job will get done. I prefer corporate punishment, but my children will make that choice for themselves. I believe that children should be active participants in the lessons we aim to teach them.

  • CB

    I’m aware that it happens – my point is just that it appears to be less common than parents who spank either all or none of their kids, and that I therefore doubt that spanking “bad” kids can fully explain the higher levels of negative behaviour associated with corporal punishment.

  • Chris

    Spanking is a more extreme version of bullying. I happen to be against bullying, too.

  • Chris

    That sound like mental torture to me. Did you have to pick out your own switch to be whipped with, too?

  • AI

    Do what works for your child.

  • bella

    craziness…you favor spanking but not abuse….to me its the same thing! a spank can def go too far and who is to say how much pressure to apply for a “spanking” that wont make it abuse…dont give me that bs smh

    you dont have to spank your children if you set standards early on and stay consistent with them and your behavior….besides are we trying to train our children or help guide/support them to be better people??

  • bella

    “I just feared them, disliked them, and got extremely good at hiding everything from them.”

    bingo!!!! thats the end result of spanking….

  • Fuchsia

    Discipline is about the parents ability to prepare their child for society. Only you can answer the question of which one is more likely for your child, death or jail. If it’s death then spanking is a must. If it’s jail then all other forms of discipline may work. Is it a cultural issue? Maybe.

    Here are a few thoughts on spanking, abuse and discipline. If you give fair warning before you punish your child for the offense it’s not abuse. You give them power the moment you warn them of the consequence, and they now have the choice to do right vs wrong. Obey authority or disobey authority.

    I believe there are some things in life that require a spanking. Straight up in-your-face disobedience needs a spanking, especially if the worst thing that could happen to your child is actual physical pain, dismemberment, or death. Albeit the lesson that was lost on the child should’ve been taught within their first 5 years (who’s the boss?). The likelihood of having to spank them for something should be nonexistent by a certain age. If you have to spank your child past a certain age it becomes weird. And anytime a spanking becomes weird it’s 2 seconds away from being abuse.

    Discipline is a private matter. When it becomes so obnoxious that people can actually see it from the outside there is abuse going on. And what the public sees is only the tip of the iceberg. A simple “we’ll discuss it when we get home” works wonders. And if you are at home then “time out” followed by the discussion of rules and consequences should suffice. Build up to a spanking after a few discussions if necessary, but some kids actually hate lectures enough to do the right thing.

    Having a plan of action with your child before you ever have to spank them is ideal. This was the way I grew up. I knew spanking was a part of the overall discipline routine, yet I was spanked less than a handful of times. When I was spanked I always knew it was coming and I always felt empowered by my ability to make a weighted decision about my own fate before the severe consequence. I was able to to ask myself “was it worth it?” That’s the power of a spanking, never to be confused with abuse. Physical abuse means having no power, no choice, no expectation of how bad it could be at any given time. Abuse is traumatic, spankings are liberating.

  • gryph

    excepting for the `spanking is liberating’ part. this was a great, great break down. thanks for taking the time.

  • full moon

    Very well said Fruchsia. Interesting perspective.

  • Thea

    Brother I don’t think there is such, a thing as tough love anymore. I watched my sister talk my niece to death and make excuses for not disciplining her for 11 years. Now she is a terror that no one wants at their home our around their children. My neighbor has a 4 year old son and the same pattern I saw with my family I am seeing with her. She yells and threatens all day while he ignores even her simplest request like “come here”. And both, sibling and neighbor, have the “nobody better not touch my baby” syndrome. In other words “I am not doing a thing to discipline him/her so you had better not either.” How do we combat this other than to avoid them like the plague?

  • Thea

    Case closed, someone bang the gavel.

  • Carly

    Dear Renee,

    The Op Ed “Whipping and Spanking Are Not Cultural Discipline, They’re Abuse” discusses the use of spanking and how it is dangerous. Martin says that spanking behaviors are usually carried out by African American families. She says that there is pressure on the Black community to raise their children to become the opposite of what is expected in them with school. They want their child to show that they are educated and willing to learn instead of dropping out. In order to instill good behavior whipping and spanking seem like the right thing to do. With schools using corporal punishment for “not following the dress code” and other incidents, spanking seems normal in the black community. However, Martin argues that just because you are black, doesn’t mean spanking is ok. Spanking leads to a violent path and it is abuse to the child.

    I agree with spanking being considered abuse. I think that being exposed to physical punishment and a young age leads to a violent and disturbed path. However, spanking is a huge cultural factor. Even though Martin says that it is not cultural discipline, I think it has everything to do with their culture. If family members accept spanking, then the less likely they will give into social norms and stop spanking. In the south corporal punishment is used so the black community sees it as okay and the normal thing to do.

    There is a lot of reasoning behind why a parent would spank, but I think culture and religious beliefs have mostly everything to do with it.

    Carly Kaplan

    Champaingn, IL

  • Almamater

    Maybe that’s because you learned to respect only people who would physically harm you instead of learning to respect people who are in authority because that is the right thing to do.

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