Under the System of Racism/White Supremacy, the nonwhite/Melanoid male is deemed the greatest genetic threat (See the Cress Theory of Color Confrontation). The nonwhite/Melanoid female is not exempt from some of the most vicious and heinous abuse either, but she is not perceived as an equal threat. However, the assault on Melanoid people, at the root, is directed toward the offspring. Much of this ranges throughout history from sterilizing Melanoid females, economic deprivation, the school-to-prison pipeline, and much more. In this terroristic environment, a home provides an opportunity to function as shelter from the outdoors. As Solange sings, “It’s war outsides these walls, baby it’s war outside these doors.” Now this brings us to Dr. Stacey Patton’s book, Spare the Kids.
Dr. Stacey Patton is a journalist, child advocate, and assistant professor of journalism at Morgan State University. She writes about racism and child welfare, having wrote for the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, and DAME magazine. She is a child abuse survivor and authored a memoir, which is a great companion to this book titled That Mean Old Yesterday. She is the creator of SparetheKids.com where she writes articles, provides advice, and workshops.
Spare the Kids is about confronting one of our traditions gathered from enslavement in the prison labor camps, commonly known as plantations: beating offspring. Some call it discipline, whupping, spanking, a “butt burn,” whatever. Like many traditions in the Melanoid populace, they are never examined logically for constructive value. Basically, child beating is some of our behavioral chitterlings. Child beating is a generally accepted behavior in the Melanoid populace, with people from all walks of life from sportscasters, athletes, rappers, to comedians encouraging or condoning it.
In the first 2 chapters of the book, Patton exposes what child beating in our populace truly is: antiblackness. This comes from our beliefs that there is something we must beat out of them so they can “act right” or not be targeted by the System of White Supremacy. All of this puts the blame towards the offspring, instead of the malicious, white supremacist dystopia they grow up in. Patton illustrates this beautifully with Toya Graham and her logic of “That’s my son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray.” The “Baltimore Mom,” whose video of her publicly beating her son during the Baltimore Uprising went viral serves as a case study, and the data reinforces her claim on the harm we our putting them under in our pitiful effort to protect and nourish them.
In chapters three and four of Spare the Kids, Patton breaks down the history of where Melanoid people picked up this tradition. West Africans did not beat or even perceive their offspring the way we do. This is important because much of what we perceive as normal customs or behavior is just white identification. If you are familiar with Dr. Marimba Ani’s work, Yurugu, this part will be very fascinating. Patton shows the history of the treatment of offspring in Europe and how this transferred to victims of white domination. She reveals the Church and religion’s role in disseminating this behavioral virus to us, and the efforts of those who are trying to change this dynamic in the church as well.
Chapter 5, “You Were Always a Black Queen, Mama,” is interesting. This chapter deals with Melanoid males as they develop as youths and their results as they grow older and their relationships with females. This is one of the few parts of the book where I felt a cognitive dissonance. With some of the anecdotes she presents, I relate to the males yet I think, that didn’t happen to the Melanoid males I know. I was beaten, but not like that, despite my mother being white. I had doubts about whether these were anomalies or a consistent pattern. But then I was not thinking of the conversations where switches and extension cords as child-rearing tools were so normal.
Dr. Tommy J. Curry makes an appearance in the text, (The Man-Not, July 2017!) delving into black misandry. Whenever we were beaten, it was always seen as an injustice. Patton submits that these emotions are repressed and reemerge as misogyny. We demonize our females like no white supremacist ever could in our music, except Mama and our family. She boils it down with this “If a boy growing up is hit by a parent who is supposed to love and protect him, that boy is at risk of being CONFUSED (emphasis mine) about whom to respect and about what love is supposed to feel like because the person he loves most is hurting him.” When it comes to dealing with females, I have a ferocious temper, and I know it stems from the relationship I’ve had with my mother. I see merit in her analysis. In the chapter, she gives testimonials of males beaten as a child and their inability to maintain intimacy with Melanoid females, sometimes instead opting for arrangements with white partners. This was a little uncomfortable, but that may be why it should be read.
I was completely unaware that beating children, outside of the assaults by race soldiers, was still acceptable in schools. This is the phenomena that is discussed in Chapter 7. This chapter provides insight because this is mainly done by Melanoid people themselves, with the community in consent. Patton drives this point home where displays two charts, one with the top 10 paddling states, and the top 10 lynching states. Both charts share 8 states, and this shows the connection once again of white supremacy and internalized Anti-Black violence.
Patton does not hold back in her critique of Black comedy, in the chapter, “I’ll Bust Your Head Till the White Meat Shows!” Black comedy is known for the “whuppin’” jokes that age like none other. She goes for Chris Tucker, D.L. Hughley, Martin Lawrence, Bill Cosby, and yes, Bernie Mac. This chapter is phenomenal because we as Melanoid people love to joke a lot, and at the essence of these jokes are pain. We are always striving to feel good, with humor being medicine, but medicine can be addicting as well. When we make light of things there is a danger of minimizing and normalizing negative behaviors, and I agree with her argument on this end.
Now for all you people who like using the terms “negro bed wench” and “NBW,” the game that Dr. Patton gives in Chapter 9, “Don’t Be a Fast Girl” is invaluable. In the chapter, she breaks down how beating female offspring can make them develop early and stress can make them seek comfort through sexual interaction as a survival tactic. This may be one of the most important chapters in the book, aside from Chapters 3 and 5. In the system of white supremacy, this would explain many of the tragic arrangements.
To conclude Spare the Kids, Patton writes about what she calls the “Parent-to-Prison Pipeline.” This is where parents guilty of child abuse are jailed and their offspring face higher risk of going to foster care. In this chapter, she shows us a great example of how to train parents to not harm their children, aiming for problem solving instead of breaking up families by the injustice system. It is a solid attempt at justice. In the following chapter, she has testimonials from parents from all over the country, documenting their reasons for not beating their offspring and how the choice is working for them. I find this very constructive because it shows a whole new (new to us) parenting paradigm that I think should be embraced.
So, after all of what I said, two questions must be answered:
What constructive value is there in reading this book?
How will this book aid in replacing White Supremacy with a system of justice?
Well, Spare the Kids gives us a reference for reexamining our relationships with our offspring in regards to guiding them. It provides current and historical context, testimonials, data, professional opinions about how we perceive them, giving us self-analysis. Spare the Kids will aid in replacing R/WS with justice because it will help us plan for our offspring and value them as human life. It will make us think of making our home a shelter, a relief from the trauma and terrorism outside for our offspring. Most importantly, it will help erode the antiblackness that pervades our populace, making us all more functional and effective counter-racists.