Seventy per cent of all Americans say they favor spanking, but African American culture seems to have a special attachment to it. The overwhelming majority of black parents see corporal punishment as a reasonable, effective way to protect their children from street violence, incarceration, or worse. But Dr. Stacey Patton's extensive research suggests corporal punishment is a crucial factor in explaining why black folks are subject to disproportionately high rates of child abuse, foster-care placements, school suspensions and expulsions, and criminal prosecutions -- all of which funnel traumatized children into our prison systems and away from their communities.
By examining all the layers of corporal punishment -- race, religion, history, popular culture, science, policing, the psychology of individual and cultural trauma, and personal testimonies with parents and children -- Dr. Patton encourages parents, teachers, clergy, and child-welfare providers to consider a wider range of tools for raising and disciplining black children. Spare the Kids is part of a growing national movement to provide positive, nonviolent discipline practices to those rearing, teaching, and caring for children of color.
Dr. Stacey Patton is an award-wining journalist, author, and child advocate. She serves as assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Morgan State University. She is the author of That Mean Old Yesterday.
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