For many of us growing up, it was nothing to hear stories of someone getting beat with a “Hot Wheels” track, or an extension cord or even a switch if your family was old school enough. While these shared occurrences have often served as a source of humor amongst our community, the issue of beatings or “whoopings” can also be physically and emotionally traumatic for a child.
The most recent, high profile example of this, came out in an interview with rapper DMX and Dr. Drew. In his book, DMX writes that he was beaten as a child. DMX tells Dr. Drew that while he feels the beatings made him a better person, to some extent, some of them were extreme.
“It got pretty bad…there was plenty of days I couldn’t sit down at school. She used to have these three extension chords that she braided together. Sometimes we would get it with that. THAT was rough!”
As a child who was spanked and not beaten, I can’t relate to this type of discipline; but, I can understand where it comes from. The practice of beating our children for many black parents was a protective measure. A measure that reaches back to an ugly time in our nation’s history.
Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs state in their book “Black Rage” that beating comes from slavery.
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.
While this logic is a little off, I understand it. Beating a child during slavery could serve as a protective measure. If I, as your parent, beat you and train you to obey authority at the threat of physical punishment, maybe you won’t have to endure the beatings of a less amicable, less concerned overseer or slave master, who might ultimately take your life.
The logic makes sense for that period and even far after when blacks were still expected to submit to whites during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. But what is the reason for beating a child, particularly a black child, in modern times? Aside from the notion that old habits die hard I don’t get it.
Fortunately DMX is raising his children differently.
DMX -”You don’t really have to beat them. That one time…smack them on the a__ with a belt a couple of times and they’ll get the point. It was not continual beating. Anybody you’ve got to beat over and over again, evidently it’s not working.”
Dr. Drew – “More like spanking?”
DMX – “…you give them a spanking that one time. After you explain to them not to do it…”
Dr. Drew – “But with your mom it got out of control?”
DMX – “Yeah. That’s why I talk to my kids first. I sit them down and explain to them what they did wrong. If I see that they are genuinely remorseful about the situation, then I’ll let it go.”
It seems that DMX, despite his own upbringing, has gotten it. Hopefully we can learn something from him.
What do you think, do beatings have a place in modern day child rearing?
You can watch this segment of the interview in this clip below.
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