05-24-2018  7:09 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Man gets 13 years for crashing motorhome into patrol cars

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Salem man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for assault against Salem police officers after leading police on a chase through Salem and ramming his motor home into officers in their patrol cars.The Statesman Journal reports 61-year-old Roy...

Woodburn officer gets 150 days in jail for child sex abuse

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A former Woodburn police officer has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and five years of probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from the child online.The Statesman Journal reports that 29-year-old Daniel Kerbs was sentenced Wednesday....

Worker who died in fall at Sound Transit site identified

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials have identified the man who died after falling from a light rail column at a Sound Transit construction site in Bellevue.The Seattle Times reports 63-year-old Walter Burrows was a foreman and a longtime employee at Kiewit, the company building the elevated light rail...

Case of Legionnaires' disease suspected at UW Medical Center

SEATTLE (AP) — A case of Legionnaires' disease has been suspected at the University of Washington Medical Center.KOMO-TV reported Wednesday that this is the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.Officials said the patient "has been diagnosed with a...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been disciplined for acting "inappropriately" after the Bucks player was zapped with a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation in January.Brown, who is African-American, said in a...

George Zimmerman tells court he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The ex-neighborhood watch volunteer who killed a black teen in Florida in 2012 says he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt and has no income.George Zimmerman filed paperwork detailing his financial state as he fights a misdemeanor stalking charge.The Orlando Sentinel reports a public...

Senate primary splits Arizona conservatives between 2 icons

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asking dozens of tea party activists for their backing in Arizona's Republican Senate primary when one audience member said it was a shame disgruntled conservatives couldn't send "both of you" to Washington.The man...

ENTERTAINMENT

In taking on 'Solo,' Ehrenreich faced an unenviable task

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thandie Newton jokes that there might be something off about Alden Ehrenreich — because how else could he take on the pressure-filled role of Han Solo with so much ease?"Every week, I was expecting a call that Alden had had a nervous breakdown and wouldn't be coming...

Rockwell work at center of controversy gets M at auction

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — One of the two Norman Rockwell paintings at the center of a Massachusetts museum's contentious decision to sell 40 works of art has been sold at auction for more than million."Blacksmith's Boy — Heel and Toe," also known as "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop," was...

Michael Jackson estate slams ABC TV special on his last days

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The estate of Michael Jackson is objecting to an ABC TV special on the end of the King of Pop's life, calling it a crass attempt to exploit Jackson without respect for his legacy or children.The estate said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that "The Last...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Then and now: France's World War I battle-scape

PARIS (AP) — U.S. troops fighting in France in World War I found a landscape ravaged by trench warfare and...

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been...

Feds: Uber self-driving SUV saw pedestrian but didn't brake

DETROIT (AP) — Federal investigators say the autonomous Uber SUV that struck and killed an Arizona...

More than 350 observers to monitor Turkish elections

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An international security body says it is deploying 22 long-term and 350 short-term...

North Korea demolishes nuclear site ahead of Trump summit

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea (AP) — Just weeks ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Kim...

Spanish ruling party fined in major corruption case

MADRID (AP) — The conviction of more than two dozen Spanish businesspeople and officials in a major...

By Jazelle Hunt Washington Correspondent

In this Aug. 1, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson gives his son Adrian Jr. a kiss following an NFL football training camp practice in Mankato, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)


WASHINGTON (NNPA) – As the NFL’s 2014 season warms up, Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, prepares to face charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. A week prior, news surfaced that he had spanked his 4-year-old son with a switch, resulting in major bruises and lacerations on his legs, thighs, and scrotum.

When the news broke, NBA’s Charles Barkley happened to be a guest on an NFL sportscasting show, where he explained, “Whipping – we do that all the time. Every Black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

Mainstream news coverage of the charges have been defining what a switch is for their audiences, a fact that highlights the wide racial divide in child rearing. But even Black parents and scholars are beginning to publicly question whether corporal punishment—spankings, beatings, whoopings, whatever you want to call it – is the best way to discipline children.

Commentary sprouted up earlier this month from Black thinkers such as Brittney Cooper, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, who writes for online publication, Salon.com:

“Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that the loving intent and sincerity behind these violent modes of discipline makes them no less violent, no more acceptable,” said Brittney Cooper, a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, who writes for online publication, Salon.com. “ Some of our ideas about discipline are unproductive, dangerous and wrong. It’s time we had courage to say that.”

In a New York Times op-ed, Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson called the cultural belief that spankings build character “a sad and bleak justification for the continuation of the practice.”

Times columnist Charles Blow said, “When we promulgate the notion that our success is directly measurable to the violence visited on our bodies as children, we reinforce a societal supposition that pain is an instrument of love, and establish a false binary between the streets and the strap.”

At the end of his conversation, Barkley conceded that, “maybe we need to rethink it.”

Nowadays, the issue of physical punishment as part of child rearing brings heavy debate, both in social and academic spheres. Some believe that hitting children amounts to good parenting, some even citing the Bible.

Some point to Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.”

As a Pew study showed, “…African Americans stand out as the most religiously committed racial or ethnic group in the nation.”

Even those who believe in not sparing the rod, think there should be limits.

“I think that children need to be spanked,” says communications entrepreneur, Leris Bernard. “I’m not saying that welts on a 3-year old is okay, but sometimes it just takes one little pop.”

Generally, research finds that corporal punishment is at best, ineffective in the long term, and at worst, abusive and detrimental. It is legal in all 50 states. In 31 states, however, it is illegal for schools to administer corporal punishment; the other 19 explicitly allow schools this authority.

“There’s a more gentle and productive way to discipline children,” says Yvette Harris, professor of psychology at Miami University and co-author of The African American Child: Development and Challenges. “I’m not a supporter of the physical ‘switch method’ [Peterson] used. Children get so caught up in the physical pain of the discipline that they really forget what they need to do to change their behavior.”

Bernard asserts that children are looking for boundaries, and those boundaries can be better established with spanking as opposed to words a child may not believe or understand.

“You can’t negotiate with a child with limited reasoning skills,” Bernard says. “They’re trying to find boundaries and learn is this a ‘no-no,’ a ‘no-maybe,’ a ‘no, not right now,’ or a ‘no, normally yes, but I’m in a bad mood.’ Basically, kids need to know where the line is, and a little smack puts an ‘X’ on the spot.”

Physical discipline has several roots in the Black community. There’s respect for elders, which inherently means that children are not equal to adults.

Some who object to spanking links the practice to slavery.

“I wish I could tell you that it originated in slavery, but there’s a part of me that has to say that not all African American parents resorted to that form of discipline,” Harris says, adding that it is more likely that Black parenting mirrors the social peak of corporal punishment from the 1940s through the 1960s.

“When I think of the context of slavery…I can’t speak to parenting strategies among slaves because there’s not a lot of historical data on that,” Harris stated.

And there’s also the argument that Black children cannot afford the luxury of carelessness and disobedience in a society that considers Blacks a threat.

But Harris says that message can be conveyed without using pain and fear.

“You don’t want to instill fear in African American children. I think African American parents do a great job raising their children. We have to walk them through issues of race, that’s our reality,” she says. She also points out that the world offers up many teachable moments on the subject.

“But you want to do it in a self-affirming way – a way that gives them power in their lives. Resorting to corporal punishment is not the way to do that.”

For all the data and scholarship that links childhood spankings to less-than stellar adulthood outcomes, experiential data can’t be ignored. For every person who was spanked and became a poorly adjusted adult, there’s another with bittersweet memories of belts and hairbrushes who maintains great relationships with their parents and well-adjusted lives. It begs the question: Is there a ‘right’ way to incorporate physical discipline or consequences that is both effective and harmless?

The professional consensus seems to be that one could strike a balance—but one could also be more effective without inflicting pain.

Harris recommends treating children with equal respect and including them in the discipline process. This plays out in different ways at different ages. For toddlers and young children who can’t reason yet, stern explanation of expectations coupled with repetitive, consistent consequences is enough. By middle school, children can be included in a more “democratic” way – parents lay down the boundaries, and the punishments (often in the form of revoked privileges) can be negotiated and agreed upon.

“It sounds weird but it makes for a more healthy child. If they’re part of the discipline process, they already know what they’ve done wrong and what the consequences are,” Harris says.

Harris says our past plays a role in how we view corporal punishment.

“I think maybe it’s something African Americans hear and sort of struggle with. Because we feel that if [spanking] worked for us, it should work for our children but that’s not necessarily the case,” she says. “The ecology of raising children today is quite different than it was when [Peterson] was a child, and definitely different from when I was a child.”

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