‘Dear Culture’ discusses parents physically disciplining their children—is it okay?

This week, the podcast takes a deep dive into the history and mental impact of being physically punished by parents with hosts Shana Pinnock and Gerren Keith Gaynor

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In the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial in Minnesota, another Black man has been added to the list of lives lost due to police violence.

Daunte Wright, 20, died in April after former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter allegedly mistook her gun for a Taser and shot him. There’s a correlation between Black parents fear of their children going out the door and discipline at home, according to some sources.

Figuring out the best way to discipline children can be difficult, particularly difficult for our communities who have a long history of colonial abuse, domestic and otherwise. This week, the Dear Culture podcast takes a deep dive into the history and mental impact of being physically punished by parents with hosts Shana Pinnock and Gerren Keith Gaynor. They ask: “Dear Culture, are spankings necessary? If you grew up in a household where spanking was the only form of discipline, how did that affect you as an adult?

Read More: It takes a Black village: ‘Dear Culture’ unpacks Black parenthood

“Gerren and I are adamant supporters of not spanking children, especially little Black and Brown ones,” says Pinnock.

While some believe spanking isn’t harmful, physical punishment continues to be a debate. Pinnock notes that some of her friends tell her that because she isn’t a parent, she doesn’t know how kids push buttons. Though both of our hosts are not parents, they have experienced childhood, and going through childhood with physical discipline can stick with you.

“Violence within the home” is often framed as “it’s hurting me more than it’s hurting you,” Gaynor notes, adding that is often not the case. Both hosts are advocates of “unlearning” said violence and dangerous generational patterns.

“Life is so innocent as a child. Your only perception is to love and enjoy life. Imagine coming into the world and life is safe, and the person who reared you is hitting you. It creates a distorted psychology,” says Gaynor.


Read More: ‘Dear Culture’ ready to spring forward to better weather and mental health

As Gaynor astutely puts it, spankings should be called what they are: “physical abuse.” Both Pinnock and Gaynor call on the words of Bell Hooks, arguing that referring to violence by its name helps depict the accurate nature of spankings. Violence is violence and love is love, both are not the same.

Pinnock notes that “you’re setting your child up for having violent relationships in the future” because of the early association of mistaking violence for love.

Adults can barely verbalize their own problems, is it really fair to whoop on a child for the same?

Tune in Dear Culture, the smart, reliable Black news podcast. Now streaming on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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