Monday, June 19, 2006

Slavery Effects

Discipline can be conducted in numerous forms, and parents have various ways to incorporate discipline into their child rearing strategy. My mother used physical discipline to institute fear and to teach a lesson. After several years of the whippings I concluded that if she did not whip me I would not be where I am today. I have even said countless times to my friends, “without the beatings I would probably be in prison.” In some ways I believe this because I have been in too many compromising and extremely unlawful situations that could have lead to death or imprisonment. What helped me to do the right thing was: The long walk to get the switch and then the beaten. However, after several years of parenting and witnessing other parent’s parent I believe physical disciplinary tactics can to some degree cause psychological and emotional damage if conducted in anger.

With that opening statement, I need your feedback on an incident I unfortunately witnessed.

The Beating

While waiting on the train after a very exhausting day. I saw a woman standing on the train platform with three rambunctious children. The age range was approximately 5yrs old to 8yrs old. The woman looked tired. It was another hot day in the ATL, and being underground waiting on a late train made me hotter! So, I know she was fuming. Three active kids, heat, and a tardy train. Anyway, after about two minutes of her trying her best to control the children and to no avail, she pulled out a stick. It looked like a broken yard stick.

Well, the stick was eventually used in anger to BEAT the 5yr old because he said one too many times that he was hot. After about thirty-five seconds of seeing a slave beating, and while two black policemen and other train passengers looked on (including myself) like it was a normal occurrence I began to get upset. Actually, I become overwhelmed with a host of feelings.

In an effort to “connect” with me guess who said, “I can’t believe that lady. She could have killed that little fella. Why can’t these women discipline in another way?” You got it: A white lady! I was so embarrassed, but the embarrassment turned to misdirected anger. I foolishly got mad at the 50 plus year old white lady. Why was I mad at her? She did not savagely beat a 5yr old with a walking stick! Out of respect I decided not to cut her with my tongue. Even as I type, I am wondering why in the $#% did I consider cursing her out. Interesting?

Why didn’t I save that child from being brutalized? Why didn’t the policemen stop the
in-a-rage black mother? I guess I was too tired to intervene. My day left me too BEAT. So, BEAT I could not stop what the white slave master did to my ancestors. They BEAT them to control them. They BEAT them because they hated them. However, this time around the slave master was the black woman and what she hated at that very moment was not the children, but herself and her plight; and I am guilty of indirectly supporting what the slave master so successfully accomplished: Black self hatred.

To top this spectacle off in a separate matter, one of the policemen decided to clear the steps leading to the train platform. Guess what method he selected to do it with? He took out his black club. Pointed it at the black teenagers sitting on the steps, and then yelled with intense anger and disgust, “Get your butt off the steps. Get out the way. Stupid!” Yes, an officer of the law.

Both incidents are examples of the hatred we (black folk) have toward each other. It is our internal shield we use to deflect the love and respect we are suppose to show each other. It is what will ultimately destroy us.

Questions: What is your take on both scenarios? What should the policemen, the other passengers, and I have done?

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by witnessing one of slaverys' accomplishments: Black self hatred.


FamnBlan said...

All too often we are guilty of "turning our heads" to violence or a mother discipling her child. I am sure I am guilty of it (although this usually gets a comment out of me!) I am shocked that the police officer was more concerned with the teenagers calmly sitting on the steps as opposed to redirecting the mother's anger! Perhaps the police officer should have been the person you directed your comments to...they should be serving as role models but all he did was encourage the mothers behavior and condone it.
All you can do is just promise yourself that if you see this situation in the future, that you will gently and politely comment to the mother (or father!) If anything it will redirect her rage or calm her down for a moment. We can't fix the world but we can certainly attempt to help one innocent child at a time!

Muata said...

Reader Responses:

I am not sure what I would have done if I had seen the lady BEAT her 5yr old with a stick. I think the society we live in today urges us to mind our own business even if the welfare of another human will be compromised.

The 5yr child was acting just as she should: like a child. The majority of small kids I know probably would have done the same thing as the child you saw. I think disciplining a child is warranted, but I feel it needs to be for reasons greater than a child just stating, "I'm hot."

I probably would have been outraged just like the white woman if I had seen it, but I also think I would have gotten angry with the white woman for making that statement. Why?????? I don't know either, probably because I still don't like the idea of them still attempting to control every facet of our lives; telling us what acceptable behavior should look like, how to discipline our children and etc.

I also got beatings as a child and I still believe that is why I did not go astray like some of my friends that grew up in a house where the discipline was minimal. I think part of the problem with most of our youths is they have not been disciplined.


Was the boy brutalized? I believe in whipping, but there is a limit. Part of 'our' problem is today 'we' want to implement 'their' discipline methods. Behavior is learned and genetic. Sometimes our behavior issues need to be dealt with in an old fashioned traditional way.

Police are desensitized to violence by the nature of their job. I can imagine that they deal with too many children who are products of lack of home training everyday.

To a certain extent we are conditioned to respond to certain stimuli as a result of slavery and it can't be disregarded.


First just let me say that I believe that every time I was whipped, beat, spanked...etc (even though I didn't get many) I deserved it and I believe that my mom loved me enough that she did what needed to be done to teach me the lesson that I did not learn from just being told to stop or not to do that anymore. I feel good knowing that I am raising my kids the same way. I appreciate it now and I know that one day they will also.

In this case I believe the mom (even I too would not have interfered) was completely wrong if that was the reason because the child kept saying he was hot. We as parents have all reached the last nerve point with our kids. Since we don't know if she was at that point, we can't really make an opinion. All parents and kids are different therefore disciplining is different also. These days it's not just white people that feel that way about how we discipline our children. But if we don't handle them now they (the white man) will have to handle them starts a home.

Everyone should be given POWER....sometimes it falls in the wrong hands. People wonder why kids don't respect policeman....HHMMMMMMM.. For everything there is place and a time... know when.


I see it way too often. (Mothers taking out their anger on children instead of trying to do something to keep their attention). I feel like I would be that mother beating my child because of something else that is really the issue. I pray for patience so that when I am blessed with a child, I will take a moment before I react and come up with a better way to discipline my child.

I had to point out to a friend the other day that she was verbally abusing her daughter the same way that she mentioned she was verbally abused by the woman that raised her. I reminded her of how she felt when the lady slapped her and called her out of her name…That cycle has to be broken.

I am very appreciative for my beatings, but I hope to raise kids that will not need that form of discipline as often as I did.


Muata said...

I am amazed by the number of people who have responded with, ‘if my mother and father would not have whipped/beat me I would be… or something similar.’ I even said this. I have always viewed this statement as somewhat intriguing. Look at the way we describe a whipping. We call it a beating. That sounds so brutal. I have rarely heard the word discipline come out a black person’s mouth. However, I hear discipline used among white folk all the time. Interesting? Why do we label an act of correcting behavior as a beating? Is there something psychological behind this or not? I do know that I received a beating, and the beating only frighten me and it taught the lesson not to do the “wrong thing” again. Now, was I truly disciplined? Was my behavior rectified or did I just do what was necessary to not get a beating again? Some of you are saying, ‘Brian, if the behavior was not repeated then the beating worked.’ You are correct. However, there was no follow-up discussion. Are we supposed to beat our children without a conversation? No! That is crazy behavior that needs to end. We need to think about this on a psychological level. All the way down to the way we describe our methods of discipline. Just by calling it a beating is negative and reflects a level of brutalization. Using a stick should be totally out the question. Yelling at the child while brutalizing him/her increases the devastating effects.

Take a look at both words defined:

Discipline - Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

Beating - To subject to repeated beatings or physical abuse; batter. To strike against repeatedly and with force. To defeat or subdue. To dislodge from a position.

Which, act by definition, would have the most lasting POSITIVE effect on a child?

Muata said...

Discussion (Muata and Famnblan) below:

I watched teachers everyday in the Caribbean "beat" the children in preschool b/c they would cry, urinate on themselves or not be able to learn their alphabet. This never turned out to teach them anything!! There is a huge difference b/w discipline and beating!! I watched a little boy cry every time his mother dropped him off at school. The teacher used to beat him with a stick whenever he started crying. She finally forced him to not cry when the mother left him...instead he would vomit! After a few times of this, I couldn't handle it anymore and had to intervene by taking the little boy by his hand and distracting him with activities.. Ironically he would stop crying by himself. -Famnblan

We are on the same page on this one. This BEATING crap has to end. Sound discipline tactics are needed. If it is talking, time-out, an un-anger produced spanking, whatever! Anything, but a BEATING! I have never spanked my son. I don't plan to. I talk with him first, and guess what: IT HAS WORKED!! -Muata

The caribbean philosophy is what you speak of doesn't work and it hasn't for a long time. Two years and I still couldn't convince this teacher that a child will not learn while being beaten!!

The philosophy is a slave-minded one. This is how our ancestors were taught to respond. Does not make it right at all, but it has some validity. Slavery has devastated black folk in every facet of our lives. However, I am of the belief in 2006 the most of us should or need to be aware of the effects so we can respond differently. I refuse to let the white man off the hook though. He started this problem, not my ancestors. -Muata

Ask yourself honestly what your thoughts would be if it was a white lady beatin her children? Would u feel the same? -Famnblan

I would feel the same way. The beating was wrong! -Muata

Just food for thought! -Famnblan

The fact is the effects of slavery have DEVASTATED black people. We are products of brutalization.

I am somewhat pissed that not one black or white person has acknowledged that fact in this commentary discussion. However, why should the white person? If they do they have to admit the wrong. The average white person I know will never say to me, "Brian, slavery really did a number on your people.' I wonder why?

The average black person is not referring to slavery possibly in this commentary discussion because we cannot even identify the effects most of the times. We are so quick to blame it on our general shortcomings. I am guilty of this myself. I have been blinded by my so called ability to "make it", and not consider that the effects of slavery were more damaging to the people I see every day on the streets. I, and others have had this false sense of "everything is good". That is bull crap! We have enormous issues still. -Muata

Muata said...

Black folk-
I am also amazed by the lack of focus we have placed on the Slave Master and his system of DESTRUCTION. I believe by no means we should we let the white man off the hook. He is the one that started this devastating predicament we are in. Their form of slavery stripped us of everything we knew then. Everything! Our culture was destroyed by profit hungry Westerners. While they raped us we learned from them the best forms of abuse and brutalization. All of our issues can be linked back to the effects of slavery. The woman mentioned in this commentary displayed hatred. Yes, she was tired, but what I witness was a learned behavior. A behavior that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a behavior that stems from hatred of self. The white slave master is responsible for the inception of it, but we (black folk) are responsible for eradicating the effects.


FREEDOM said...

The truth of the matter is that no one really wants to talk about slavery, white folks or black folks. It is as if the world wants to forget that slavery was alive and kickin’ only less than 50 short years ago. But, guess what, slavery is still alive and kickin’ and knocking down anything and anyone in its way!

I have to ask myself, why are black people allowing the history of slavery to be taken out of the school system? We are not only failing ourselves, but we are failing our children. ALL children whether black, white, purple, or green needs to know about black history (SLAVERY). This DIRTY LITTLE SECRET needs to be a mandatory requirement for all ages in the school system (elementary, middle school, high school, and college).

Education is the key here, we as black people have not arrived. We need to make sure our school systems are being held accountable for advocating the truth about American History, which is SLAVERY of one race over another race. Parents, please start going to the PTO Meetings and to the School Board Meetings to let your displeasure be made known. Parents and black people all over the world, start at home educating your children about slavery and the effects it has had on our race.

The dehumanization of the black race started by the white man, but the black man has taken over by pioneering a new form of destruction. This destruction has been labeled crabs in a bucket. We are hanging ourselves everyday, and guess what; the white man is looking at us laughing!! You know the saying: A man who does not know his history is destined to repeat it !!!!

Muata said...

Reader Responses:

I feel that both incidents were unfortunate. However from a black mother perspective, I personally do not discipline my children in any form when I am angry. Normally, they immediately know when I am angry with them because I do not talk to them at all. Now once the angry is gone, I will discipline them accordingly depending on what they have done. I do not believe in whipping children for everything; however children must understand that there are consequences for their actions and be dealt with. I believe if parent do not discipline their children, then we will continue to create a new generation of “MONSTERS”. These children will grow up and not feel like they have any moral obligations in life. This is one of the reasons why we see so many children killing their parents now. They have no respect for life. I am a firm believer if you do not respect your parents, then you will not have any respect for anyone else. Now, I think that mother in the scenario could have used a different approach for dealing with her child. On the other hand, I do not live in that woman house so I do not know what could be the underline issues that going on there. The father probably is a missing part/member in the household and the mother is just tired of raising her children alone. Form being a single mother, I know personally I become very tired and even depressed at times rising my children. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith in God. I always try to remember the scripture that say “God will not put know more on you then you can bear”.

Now as for the second scenario, I think the police was very wrong for what he said to those kids. As a police officer and positive role model in the community, he could have used a better strategy for approaching those young people. This is the reason why I always say that racism is still alive up and running in every race. This is one of reasons why a lot young people do not respect law officer.

Far as for you Brian, if you felt that move in your heart then you should have said something to that mother or offered to help her in some type of way. You never know, she may have welcomed your help. I see all the time man walking around that could help single mothers out and do not. You do not have to know anyone personally to offer help unto them. I do not find men these days in time willing to assist woman with their children unless they are in physical relationship with them. This should not be the case. This goes for even the men in the church. They can see a single mother needing a mentor for her son and not offer to assist in any way. It does not take much for a person to help out. However it does require a little bit of your time which most people do not want to give up. It is sad to say, but black men have been absent from their homes and their children lives for so long that black woman just have developed an attitude where they feel like they do not need a man, but for one thing. And in most case, they do not need them for that. Even the black men that are married still are absent or detached in some form from their families. However I do believe that there still some good men out here; even though they appear hard to find.


I still go back in forth in my mind about how I will discipline my children. I do not want them to fear me or feel that pain or beatings is the way to understand right or wrong. It is a hard message to convey to children. The reality is it is a one shot deal when it comes to raising children. It is inevitable to make mistakes, but you do not want the mistakes to determine their path in life.