I don’t disagree with you. I am an aunt who uses creative punishment and rarely if ever spanks. I have six nieces and nephews, I can count on one hand the number of times I have spanked any of them. I’m not defending spanking, which I think is what some people are walking away from the article with, and I’m sad for that because that’s not my point at all.
What I am trying to say is the conversations around spanking are highly one-sided and tend to take place in a vacuum. We discuss the harmful long-term effects of spanking without discussing the reality of a world that frequently employs a form of racial terrorism and corporal punishment that can take your child’s life from you. I don’t think any discussion of spanking can be complete without facing this reality of black life.
It’s like when people want to take away access to birth control and abortion rights but are unwilling to discuss what you do with a child you can’t afford. We want women to have babies without discussing the reality that we are constantly cutting back on programs that help them raise children, feed children, protect children. I don’t think that any discussion of welfare reform is complete without talking about birth control and reproductive rights. Similarly, I don’t think conversations about spanking are complete without talking about external and corporate corporal punishment. you can have your child removed from the home because you spank them, but if the police kill your child for a minor infraction, you have virtually no hope of any justice through our legal system. We are moving towards further legal punitive measures for parents, but we are not moving toward anything that keeps their children safer, We are not even discussing the fact that children with brown skin are less safe in this country than their white counterparts or any of the roots of spanking, or any other reasons why a parent might feel motivated to psychologically hobble their child to preserve their physical life.
Again, I’m not defending spanking, I’m saying it developed as part of a psychology of fear, and the root causes of that fear are legitimate and valid. I don’t think it’s right to demonize Black mothers for caring more about their children’s bodies than their minds. I just don’t think any discussion of corporal punishment is complete without also discussing how we got here and why.
I’m glad you are able to find creative and effective ways to keep your child alive.