Another horrific video surfaced this weekend showing a father “disciplining” his daughter who allegedly took off for three days to “mess around” with boys.
The video, which many continue to mislabel as “discipline,” is a 19-second clip of a father holding his daughter by the hair and pummeling her with lashes from a belt, while the person filming (her mother?) calls the girl a “bitch” and yells, “You 13 hoe!”
The girl, whose on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction, struggles to get away from her father and block the stinging blows as he continues to attack her.
The entire scene is jarring, difficult to watch, and speaks to a failure of parenting.
But let’s get one thing straight:
IT IS NOT DISCIPLINE. IT IS ABUSE.
While many have given the father “props” for stepping in to straighten his daughter out, the entire brutal scene speaks to his fundamental failure in the first place.
After all, had this man been a constant, positive force in his daughter’s life I doubt she’d run away for three days. Moreover, had this dad (and this girl’s mother) been on the job from the beginning, beating her like a damn slave wouldn’t even be necessary.
I’ll reiterate: If you’re still BEATING your child as a teenager, something went drastically awry. All of the “whoopings” handed out over the years were for naught, and it’s clear you need some different parenting strategies to raise a healthy, positive child.
Growing up, my mother whooped me, mostly for things like lying, failing to listen, or some other minor, fairly standard childhood offense. Though my brother and I grew up under the watchful eye of “Mr. Leather,” my mother abided by certain rules: she never hit me out of anger, never called me names, never hit me with random objects, and always explained why I was in trouble (and my father never hit me at all). But by the time I was a teenager, the whoopings stopped. Why? It would have been too late.
If a parent fails to lay the proper foundation with their child while they’re young, beating them as a teen after they’ve done something stupid isn’t going to help either.
Raising a child is not easy. Trying to mold them into the best person possible is extremely difficult, particularly because they have their own thoughts, feelings, and personalities. Moreover, raising Black children can be fraught with even more complications given the challenges our communities face.
But beating a young girl in the street doesn’t teach her about respect, it doesn’t teach her to listen to her parents, and it does not teach her to value herself. If anything, getting beat down by your parents who then post the video to Facebook teaches her that she is nothing at all and can allow herself to be abused by those who “love” her when she doesn’t listen to what they say (which can be extremely problematic when it comes to dating.)
I’m not here to argue about the effectiveness of corporal punishment (though notice how it’s not called “corporal discipline”), my stance on that is very clear (and I’ve chosen not to spank my son). However, there’s a difference between spanking your child when you’re levelheaded and rational, and beating them in the street like you’re a pimp “curbing” his whore.
When I saw the video shared by a friend who asked, “Did the dad cross the line,” I had to shake my head.
Even posing the question minimizes the damage whipping children can cause, and only furthers this horrible tradition that is far too often the only form of “discipline” in our community. I mean, what’s the difference between this video and the gut-wrenching scene in 12 Years A Slave where Epps beats Patsey—other than the lash wounds?
How anyone can look at this video and see “good dad!” or “effective discipline!” is beyond me, when it clearly shows a lack of respect by everyone involved.
Though many cheer this dad on, I’m hoping he gets arrested, not for “disciplining” his daughter but for beating her like she is subhuman and unworthy of even the slightest bit of dignity.