Saturday, March 05, 2005

Hitting Kids

Over at DED Space she has a post about Whoopi and Bill Maher going on about “whuppin” kids (to use the expression the two of them used, I guess because being cute about beating children makes it okay to beat children) on Friday night’s episode of Real Time. I saw the same episode and wasn’t as forbearing as she was —— I turned it off in disgust before I could note, as D.E.D. did, the exquisite irony of Bill Maher making this charming claim on the same show during which he was “condemning different types of violence.”

Whoopi and Bill were going on about how “kids today” just weren’t disciplined, and claiming it was a “generational” thing. Whoopi dragged out the kids screaming in the supermarket chestnut. Bill claimed black parents were raising their kids better than white parents —— I assume because black parents whup their kids more, or at least he believes they do, and because he believes that’s a really good thing.

That’s when I got too annoyed to listen to any more to it.

But I’m reminded of a column I read recently in our local paper —— can’t remember who wrote it, but it was about some show on TV (which I have never seen) about a Supernanny. Apparently this Supernanny comes in and takes over when parents have done a horrible job of raising their kids. She imposes discipline on the kids and order on the household and the parents are amazed and grateful. She does it, admitted the columnist, without spankings. The columnist actually said something like this “She doesn’t allow for spankings, which is a problem —— but that’s another column!”

In other words, this nanny took monster children and turned them into well—behaved children, and did it without laying a hand on them, and this, for our columnist, was a problem.

Why, I would like to ask.

Why is that a problem.

Wihy do we in America insist that our children must be beaten?

And what, I would like to also ask us to notice, will have to be the inevitable result?

I was at the mall a few days ago when this guy —— a full—grown man, at least forty years old —— struck an infant, a little girl who couldn’t have been more than a year old, her hard on the leg. Why? Because she was crying.

What did he think that was going to teach her?

If you're looking for the roots of violence in America, it ain't watching violent TV shows, and it ain't violent movies, and it ain't SATAN either, folks. It's having your own folks smack you around. It's having the people who are supposed to be the source of your love and security attack you on a regular basis, and tell you they're doing it because they love you.

That's why we're such a disturbed and violent nation, folks. That's it right there.


zelda1 said...

I could not resist giving my ten cents on this one. There is a woman, we call Lucy, in my Lit Crit class. We were discussing genderization of infants. She said that she never gederized her children; in fact, she boasts, I taught my daughter to fight just like I taught my son. I was in shock. It seems that she thought it was better to teach her children to solve their problems by hitting. If another kindergartener hits them, well they better retailiate. I was appalled. I asked her did she think that teaching her children to hit was not an answer but maybe to teach her children to talk first. No way, not this good christian woman who believes in that song and dance about an eye and a tooth. So, not only do people hit their children, it seems, they also teach their children to hit other children. Is that not fucked up?

Laura said...

Great post. I parted with some good friends over the spanking issue. I have witness smacking around here. I never know quite what to do in those situations. Do I walk up and give them a piece of my mind? It's never hard enough, violent enough to warrant calling the authorities. I hate that dilemma. You are so right that this is the root of violence.

delagar said...

geeky mom -- I don't know. I wish I had said something to the guy that hit that baby. I plan to next time -- I've been planning things I should have said.

But do I think it will matter? Not much. Around here, everyone thinks it's vital to hit kids, and, as you said, it wasn't enough that I could have called social services over it.

Diane said...

I wanted to give you a link, but the link is too long for this comments function. Anyway, in the Chicago area, a mother was told to come to her child's (Christian) school, and was told that if she didn't spank him before they went home, he would be suspended. The mother refused to spank her son, and he is now suspended.

One of the statements in the article is: "As a ChristianFallaw-Gabrielson knows well the old saying 'spare the rod and spoil the child.'" Actually, she probably doesn't know it at all. It refers to the guiding a shepherd does with his rod--it keeps sheep going in the right direction. Just one more little bible lesson you can give an idiot the next time s/he tells you this.

Anonymous said...

And closer to home: Pocola, Oklahoma a couple of years ago. When enrolling my children in elementary school, I was asked to sign a form giving the school the right to use "corporal punishiment" at their discretion. I refused. They made it clear that I would be required to come in to deliver the swats myself when they determined it would be necessary even if it meant leaving work, adding that Whirlpool had already made it clear that this was not a valid reason to leave work. "So you're better off signing the form for your job's sake," the principal told me. "Bite me!" I told him.

The principal who told me this is now teaching at UAFS.