Friday, January 29, 2010

get between black men and their children

This is a guest post by Big Man, who blogs at Raving Black Lunatic, where this piece originally appeared.



She came from nowhere.

One moment there was empty space next to my left arm, and suddenly a medium-sized white girl appeared. She stood out in the ocean of chocolate surrounding me, not just because of her color, but because of how brazenly she approached me and how close she stood to me. Very strange behavior for a little white girl.

"Can I have a token," she asked.

I paused, quite uncomfortable and more than a little angry. Why was this child panhandling? Her query cut through the shrieks of delight and despair in the crowded room. It momentarily distracted me from the cloying aroma of fake cheese mixed ever so subtly with dirty diaper. She wanted a token, and she wasn't afraid to ask.

"I'm sorry, I only have tokens for him," I replied, with a nod towards my young son, perched atop a giant porcelain horse flapping the faux-leather reins and kicking the spotted horse's sides with his miniature brown cowboy boots.

My reply was classic passive-aggressive behavior, a tactic I picked up after years of encounters with professional panhandlers. I perfected it on the streets of Washington, D.C. as I dodged the throng of bums that gathered in front of the McDonald's near my dormitory. The secret is to give them answers they don't expect, to never appear angry or rude, and to keep moving.

But the little girl was slick. She wasn't distracted by my ploy.

"So you don't have anymore tokens," she said, taking another step towards the horse than my son was still enjoying.

"Well maybe I can just climb on behind him, I can fit," she said, as she touched the hard saddle and began to mount.

"No sweetheart, I don't think you can do that. He's riding it, and only one person is allowed," I replied, slowly feeling my anger, and a little bit of fear, blossom.

"Well, I can show him how to do it then, he has to press this, and grab these," the girl said grasping the reins my son held, and reaching across him to press a button designed to make the best leap.

Now, I'm truly disturbed. The girl's initial panhandling was a breach of etiquette, but now she's crossed over into another realm entirely. Yet, I'm a little unsure how to handle this situation.

Clearly she's encroaching on my territory and my son's fun, but how do I handle a young white child? We may have a black president, but this is still the South and a little white girl being disciplined by a big, black man could cause some difficulties...

Where are this child's parents? How could they allow her to become a token slave without stepping in? Dammit, things were already bad, now I have to deal with this crap?

I turn behind me looking for assistance, my face a mask of shock at the girl's brazen attitude. I see a black woman, short, heavyset, her hair caught up in that hard style that was popular when I was high school. She too is shocked at the girl, and we exchange looks that say everything that needs to be said about home training, but neither of us move towards the girl. Did I mention the little white girl had already pushed aside this woman's daughter who was waiting patiently for my son to finish his ride so that she could have her turn?

Another woman takes charge, her manner gruff, her words harsh.

"Hey you, little girl," the woman says, as she grabs the child's arm in a way I would have never been comfortable attempting. "You get down from there and get behind us. Behind us."

The woman is adamant that the little white girl move, I'm amused at her anger. She says in an aside to me and the other woman "What's wrong with her, like she can't see us."

My son's ride is over. He wants to go again, but I'm worried about these other parents waiting and the little white girl who begged me for a token. I take him down, he's disappointed, but obedient. I walk him away, asking him if he's ready to leave. A short tantrum issues, but I squelch it by reminding him that he can easily catch a whipping here, no matter what Chuck E. Cheese tells him about being happy. He relents, we prepare to leave, gathering up his cowboy hat and coat.

I look around as we head to the door. Children are screaming, parents are crammed in small booths hovering over sad pizza pies. A line stretches outside the front door as people wait to enter this whirling, beeping, sweaty, cheesy circle of Hell. I know for certain what I always suspected.

The Devil is a Rat.

96 comments:

  1. White people implicity believe they are superior, so they see no problem infringing upon the space of POC. This is due to years of growing up in a white supremacist culture. White people still see themselves as the slave masters, and us POC as mere tools for their satisfaction. Indeed they subconciously view POC as less than human, although most would never admit to it. As whites become a minority and lose their dominance this will hopefully change. They'll have to embrace diversity eventually, white flight can't last forever.

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  2. I'm just in awe of your writing. Totally disgusted by the idea of smelling fake cheese mixed with dirty diapers, yet somehow can smell it thanks to your description. Totally raw and awesome.

    I wish I had more of a comment on the content, but I don't even know what to say. I'm scared of children.

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  3. I wish the phrase "home training" even appeared in white culture, because it's a perfect description of what children like that little white girl don't have.

    I guess it's pretty telling that we white people don't have that phrase. White culture tends to throw away people like that instead of teaching them.

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  4. Hmmm... I think that the little girl does, indeed, have home training. She is trained to know that she is superior and can just ram herself wherever she wants to go. She is trained to know that she is not barred by people because people are just people. She is trained to compete against all others with the attitute that she is their equal. She knows that her femininity will limit her, but that is all the more reason to fight harder against any obstacle.

    ~Totally made up by me (mostly) since I know nothing about the little white girl, just enough to know that she's rude...

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  5. As a WoC, it's interesting to me how many of us comment on how poorly behaved white children are or the failures of white parents, yet white people want to point the finger at us like this nonsense that's been going around the web www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/ 2009/ 07/ 06/ what-is-it-like-to-teach-black-students/

    Also, and I'm not saying this to deny the existence of ADD/ADHD but to challenge the disparity in how children are viewed - it's interesting to me that a misbehaving white child is seen as having ADD/ADHD and the misbehaving black child is just bad.

    Another thing I see is that a white child acting up is considered cute by whites, a black child acting up is considered "bad." Part of this is black people get in trouble over nothing - driving while black - when white people can actually do bad things such as use drugs and get excused for it, "You're a good kid, I'm gonna let you go." I think that's one reason black people put an emphasis on good behavior and white people let it slide more - their children aren't seen as bad when they're little or delinquent when they're big.

    Also, if you want to throw gender in, a black boy with sagging pants is a openly derided, a white girl in a mini skirt is just a teen being a teen.

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  6. I'm sure the issue that was intended to bring up was not by itself the girl's rudeness per say, but instead both her implied sense of entitlement because of her color and the idea of someone being handicapped in dealing with a situation because of the child's color.

    It's fine to explore the concept of racial anxiety when it comes to PoC dealing with white people's children in a situation that could have exploded in drama. I don't think it's appropriate to speculate overly much about the child's motivations or parenting in a racial context. There doesn't seem to have been enough indicators to draw conclusions about any racial motivation without a large amount of speculation. Perhaps she's adopted? Just too many assumptions to use this as some narrative on white perceived privilege.

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  7. Melinda said...
    “I guess it's pretty telling that we white people don't have that phrase. White culture tends to throw away people like that instead of teaching them.”

    In this culture, the white way of raising children is the best way. I can remember sitcoms like, Wait till your Father gets home, My World and Welcome to it; Ozzie and Harriet. Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best- Donna Reed, The Brady Bunch and so many others; where the patriarch knew everything- the wife was submissive and the children were mature self-reliant mini-adults. As a race- we just perceive child-rearing differently. The bookshelves are stocked full of white experts ready to tell other whites how to raise their young. In Rugrats the cartoon, “Dr. Lipschitz is a child psychologist who Didi and Chas commonly refer to for help in raising the babies.”

    Whites buy books, purchase DVD’s and go to lectures all designed to help them be better parents. Dr. Benjamin Spock did more for white parenting than Ozzie and Harriet ever could. “Spock urged parents to be flexible and see their children as individuals.” One site says. Physical abuse was discouraged and frowned upon by white experts. Used to be you could tan your child's hide in the store- but not anymore; let a white person catch you physically rebuking your child and you're going to jail. In some white households the white child has autonomy; they can speak their minds fully without fear of physical rebuke for their ostentatiousness.

    They can voice their opinions freely and contend against their parents as equals for they are individuals. They refer to grown folk by their first names, again with fear of reprisal. In some white households aggression and competition is encouraged and seen as healthy. In black households race is a constant reality; black children must be trained in a way to help them avoid trouble with white law enforcement. A way to speak to white authority (in case your accosted) a way to behave in public; a way to dress so as not to draw attention lest your seen as a gang member.

    "I take him down, he's disappointed, "But Obedient." I walk him away, asking him if he's ready to leave. A short tantrum issues, but I squelch it by reminding him that," He Can Easily Catch A Whipping" here, no matter what Chuck E...."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjuqFkry_RU

    This behavior was more common in black household then it was in white. After speaking with Macon I have no doubt whites disciplined their children with the belt; it was simply more common in black homes. Maybe it’s a hold-over from slavery, where the master whipped us constantly. The white child is viewed as an individual- autonomy is granted/assumed almost it seems from birth; the rights of the individual are respected. Blacks do not give such freedoms to children; they are earned as the child grows and matures. So we interpret the white child’s actions negatively (training) because she has stepped (in our eyes) out of her place.

    If a black child acted like that we would call the child, Presumptuous, Fast- or “Actin Grown.” I remember being told to, “stay out of grown-folks conversations” if I got too nosey.

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  8. Correction:
    "They refer to grown folk by their first names, again without fear of reprisal."

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  9. @blueshield, are you saying that the child being white is not sufficient for us to know that she has white privilege? Or that we should assume, unless glaringly obvious (to your standards?) that her race is irrelevant to her behavior and motivations?


    Also, are you Joseph from the WOC as caretaker thread? You have the same icon.

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  10. @blueshield re: "I don't think it's appropriate to speculate overly much about the child's motivations or parenting in a racial context. There doesn't seem to have been enough indicators to draw conclusions about any racial motivation without a large amount of speculation."

    I don't think that Drowned Lotuses' comment was suggesting anything about the parents necessarily. Children develop racial notions and have assimilated racism by the time they enter kindergarten, as evidenced in recent studies and as known casually for decades. This happens regardless of the parents' input--unless the parents talk about racism specifically to demystify it and explain the way things are in this society. There need be no racist training in the household for white children to act entitled in situations like this.

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  11. bloglogger said...
    "Children develop racial notions and have assimilated racism by the time they enter kindergarten, as evidenced in recent studies and as known casually for decades. This happens regardless of the parents' input--unless the parents talk about racism specifically to demystify it and explain the way things are in this society. There need be no racist training in the household for white children to act entitled in situations like this."

    The Doll Test is a perfect example...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH2yhBWjaHw

    The confusion and hurt in the child's eyes is enough to make you cry. Yes we learn these lesson from a very early age.

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  12. @thesciencegirl

    What I'm saying is it's a beautifully told story about a kid trying to cut line and bum money to get on a ride in a store. To perceive beyond that and speculate about this individual incident invites more discussion about why those assumptions are being made instead of the discussions trying to be prompted themselves. I felt it was especially true with so little real relevant information in the story.

    She's white so of course she will enjoy some white privilege automatically. The tone of those posts isn't about how others perceive her privilege, but rather characterizing her individual actions solely based upon her race or the idea of her specific racial upbringing. I don't think there was anything nearly glaring obvious in the story with regards to the child with the exception that she was white and the only white person around in an "ocean of chocolate". Should we all assume children's actions first and foremost come from their sense of racial identity?

    It's fine to use the incident to start the discussion about white children with entitlement issues or child rearing differences between races. It’s just not in the best interests of the discussion to speculate about this particular child's motivations etc.

    @bloglogger

    I agree that more than child rearing in the parental sense can be in play. I don't mind the discussion it prompts regarding racial perception in children or how society gives those children different expectations and senses of entitlement. My only objection is to characterizing this specific child in this one incident as an example of white entitlement. I'm not a fan of using the same brush to paint every picture.

    Yes, I'm Joseph from the other thread. My whole name on each post just seemed like some large stamp of ego or something.

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  13. Maybe the father needs to be a little more forceful in the ideal of protecting his family!

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  14. Somebody speculated that maybe blacks use physical discipline because of the legacy of slavery -- a lot of black scholars have indeed said this. See John Blessingame's The Slave Community.

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  15. To me, this post reads like a Rorshach Test for people's views about how different racial/ethnic groups raise their kids.

    As a parent who lives in a very diverse city, I've had all sorts of encounters - some like this, some worse. Even though I've been at parenting for many years now, I'm nowhere close to feeling comfortable to comment on kid's behavior based on racial stereotypes about parenting, and I doubt I ever will. The dynamic between a parent and child is so complicated, so many things go into parenting - class, gender, race, age, very unique family dynamics that go back generations, etc. - I think we generalize about this girl's behavior at our own risk.

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  16. @BigMac:

    That's what I thought...why is this grown man kowtowing to some little kid? He should have sent her on her way from the jump - what was he afraid of her "whiteness"? or just in awe of it being so young and so bold?

    I doubt that any other parent would have let this little jackass in training jump on the same ride with their kid.... he needs to seriously man-up.

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  17. As we like to say around our house: "Chuck E. Cheese's, where a kid can ... get diseases."

    I despise that chain, equal to the level that my kid loves it.

    I'm a white mom, and I run into rude kids like that all the time. I am not, by any means, denying the white privilege aspect to this kid's behavior. I think it's a lovely combo of privilege and utter lack of home training. And it's a pain to deal with in public.

    I can't tell you how many times lately I've seen a child be horribly disrespectful like that in public, and wanted to grab him/her by the wrist and locate his/her parents and give them an earful. In another era, I might have felt more comfortable doing that, but today, you're more likely to get the parent defending their child's rudeness.

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  18. "I doubt that any other parent would have let this little jackass in training jump on the same ride with their kid.... he needs to seriously man-up."

    All that little white girl could have done was to run back to her parent an say that black man hurt (handled me) or hollered at me. I think he was looking at the broader picture of the angry black male stereotype and how the situation could have gotten out of control “Racially” if he handled it wrong; if he was too forceful- to the little white girl. It appears the child wasn’t paying any attention to him although it seemed he was being nice... So how far does one go? How sternly should a black man speak to a white child without white’s (or anyone else) perceiving it the wrong way given how they view black men?

    Sometimes tact can go a long way, especially since we are always being accused of acting from emotion and not rationale. I know a lot of black women who wouldn’t even stand for anyone, be they white or black; to talk to their children that way. In the schools this happens all the time, with parents coming up to the school threatening teachers. “Don’t nobody talk to my child like that!” You would have to defend yourself; I know because it happened to my wife.

    She told two little black boys to stop ringing the doorbell (more than once) and to please stop jumping on the front porch; till she finally came out and told them to go home. They ran up the street and told their mother, “the woman down the street hollered at them.” Within five minutes their 25 year old Momma came down the street and dared my wife to come outside. It was a mess. Some people can be more sensitive than others when it comes to their children. The racial aspect can take it to a whole-nother-level.

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  19. Bingo said...
    "Somebody speculated that maybe blacks use physical discipline because of the legacy of slavery -- a lot of black scholars have indeed said this. See John Blessingame's The Slave Community."

    http://www.fullbooks.com/Slave-Narratives-A-Folk-History-of-Slavery5.html
    Person interviewed: Mary Brown, Clarendon, Arkansas. Age: Born in 1860
    "Grandma was born in Virginia. Her back was
    cut all to pieces where she had been beat by her master. Both of them was whooped. He was a hostler and blacksmith."

    Person interviewed: Mattie Brown. Helena. Arkansas. Age: 75
    "Mother said over in sight on a joining farm the overseers whooped somebody every day and more than that sometimes. She said some of the
    white men overseers was cruel."

    "I went to school in South Carolina. I went a little four or five years. I could read, spell, cipher on a slate. Course I learned to write.
    Course I got whoopins; got a heap o' whoopins."

    Person interviewed: Peter Brown. Helena, Arkansas. Age: 86
    "My remembrance of slavery is not at tall favorable. I heard the master and overseers whooping the slaves b'fore day. They had stakes fixed in the ground and tied them down on their stomachs stretched out and they beat them with a bull whoop (cowhide woven). They would break the blisters on them with white oak paddles that had holes in it so it would suck. They be saying, 'Oh pray, master.' He'd say, 'Better pray fer yourself.'"

    Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
    Person interviewed: Belle Buntin, Marianne, Arkansas. Age: Up in 80's
    "When mistress whooped one she whooped all three. She would whoop us for stealing her riding horse out. We would bridle it and all three ride and ride. We got several whoopings
    about that."

    Just an example:
    You can do a search in the page for “Whoopin” or “whip” and find many more first-hand examples. Speaking personally, it was hard to break that cycle. And I’ve taught my grown children as much; that there are other ways to discipline your children.

    Frederick Douglass said it best:
    "It would astonish one, unaccustomed to a slaveholding life, to see with what wonderful ease a slaveholder can find things, of which to
    make occasion to whip a slave. A mere look, word, or motion,--a mistake, accident, or want of power,--are all matters for which a slave may be whipped at any time. Does a slave look dissatisfied? It is said, he has the devil in him, and it must be whipped out. Does he speak loudly when spoken to by his master? Then he is getting high-minded, and should be taken down a button-hole lower. Does he forget to pull off his hat at the approach of a white person? Then he is wanting in reverence, and should be whipped for it. Does he ever venture to vindicate his conduct, when censured for it? Then he is guilty of impudence,--one of the
    greatest crimes of which a slave can be guilty. Does he ever venture to suggest a different mode of doing things from that pointed out by
    his master? He is indeed presumptuous, and getting above himself; and nothing less than a flogging will do for him. Does he, while ploughing, break a plough,--or, while hoeing, break a hoe? It is owing to his carelessness, and for it a slave must always be whipped.

    If the white/Black experts are right; those whom are abused then grow up to abuse others. What could be a better example than the abuse so many generations suffered from slavery? That hatred of the black self- the self-loathing; surely that was passed down through the generations. Reinforced by white hatred. Forgive me for going off-topic.

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  20. @M. Gibson

    The quotes you posted were difficult for me to read, but absolutely necessary as they hearken back to those horrible days and reveal this country for what it really is; a white supremacist empire. Most racially ignorant people tend to view the United States through a rose colored looking glass because they are operating under Confirmation Bias and are ignoring this country's genocidal history. When I read about the reprehensible acts these human beings committed, I can't help but wonder if there is something in white people's genes that makes them capable of such evil. I know its wrong for me to engage in so called "reverse racism", but I can't help but harbor feelings of disgust and anger towards the people whose ancestors slaughtered and oppressed millions all in the name of their "manifest destiny".

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  21. I trust Big Man's radar that there's something unnerving about this kid.

    My image of this girl in about 10 years: Either cheering on her drunken white boyfriend and his buddies to beat the hell out of a random black guy "for fun", or cheering on the police to believe that one, two or three black guys she had consensual sex with raped her.

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  22. I was in the bus a couple of months ago, and this young White father and his little boy (he was about 5 y/o) were sitting behind me. The kid was kicking my seat, and the father asked him to stop. But he asked him in such a sweet voice, as if he was asking the kid to do him a favor. I didn't say anything, I wanted to see what they do. Of course, the kid kept kicking and the father kept asking him to stop with no result, until they got off. If that's how Western White parents discipline their kids, then I'm really not surprised at this post, especially when PoC are involved. I would have gotten smacked on the spot for less.
    I don't know how old that little girl was, but she obviously wasn't a toddler. If she didn't know the meaning of standing in line by that age, I can only imagine the parents she must have, and the entitlement they must be raising her in. I wonder if she had been more likely to stay in line, had the room been filled with White people. Did you see what happened after that Black woman rebuked her?

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  23. Marianne said...
    "Of course, the kid kept kicking and the father kept asking him to stop with no result, until they got off. If that's how Western White parents discipline their kids, then I'm really not surprised at this post, especially when PoC are involved. I would have gotten smacked on the spot for less."

    Some black parents including myself do not like to repeat themselves. (Course my children are grown now.) If I have to tell you one more time; if I have to get up from this chair-- if I have to come over there- you’re gonna be trouble. Meaning... I'm giving you a chance to comply before I take more drastic measures. Bill Cosby talked about his wife talking to the ceiling, warning his children before she went upstairs to administer justice.

    I'm not going to reason with you- or try to appeal to your good nature. As parent I told you (not ask) to stop kicking that chair and I expect to be obeyed. Now do it again and see what happens. Go ahead...do it again. I double-dawg dare ya. (I'm being facetious)

    Sometimes we can train a child not to react to our warning by not backing up what we say. To repeat oneself 3-4 times whiteout taking any further action is to invite complacency. It lets the child know that I can get away with such behavior at least four times before you get riled. Heck you might just get tired of repeating yourself and simply ignore the behavior, and that's a chance the child is willing to take. Its a power thing.

    But some of us black folk will not tolerate the same behavior after the second admonition. Now you're going to have to pay. I'm going to have to get your attention in another way and you may not like it. But- I told you. Eventually the child learns not to second-guess the parent if the parent consistently follows through. No idle threats- no empty promises. Usually with most Fathers a stern rebuke is enough; something about the tone in a man's voice. Its why I feared the male Principal more than the female teachers.

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  24. @blueshield
    You don't mind the "discussion [the post] prompts regarding racial perception in children or how society gives those children different expectations and senses of entitlement", but you object to the "[characterization of] this specific child in one incident as an example of white entitlement". So therefore, you think that the child may have racial perceptions (from her perspective?) and may enjoy a sense of entitlement, but that she cannot be an example of white entitlement?

    I'm not sure if I'm following you properly so please let me know. While I cannot, indeed, know exactly what is going through her mind at the moment, does that mean I cannot ascribe a racist motivation behind her actions? It seems that you would like to say that she is "spoiled" but that we cannot say that racism has any role in this, but as other posters have already explained, there have been "scientific" (as if that gives ultimate legitimacy, but that's a whole other topic) studies that clearly show this is a fact. While I don't believe that racism is the only motivation/reason for her behavior, I also don't believe we can just simply deny that racism has any role to play in that occurence.

    As the topic of discussion on swpd revolves around race, that is why comments and analyses are also focused on racism. When you state that you are not a fan of using the "same brush to paint every picture", then I would never be able to explain any racist occurences that I (or anyone else here for that matter) have experienced as there are myriad methods by which racism manifests itself, no matter how well-intended they may be.

    But please correct me if I have misunderstood or you meant something else...

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  25. @M. Gibson

    I hear you. It makes me laugh when I hear parents doing the "I'm gonna count to 3! 1...2... 2 and a half... 2 and three quarters..." and then they don't even carry out the punishment. Now I'm not for striking a child over any little thing, but the child should always be aware that it's a possibility, and not push it. Western culture seems to worship children (and I imagine that this is a White trend), and put them on par with adults, and expect all the world to revolve around their kids. But, like a poster said above, even the White parents who would be willing to physically educate their kids nowadays fear going to jail for that. There's always a White amateur child psychologist around, ready to step in and threaten you.
    I read last year an article on Liv Tyler, that she approached and threatened a woman who was yelling at her child on the street, saying that she would call the police. I used to like Liv Tyler, but not anymore.

    Kit, you're a therapist, what do you think? Is spanking such a horrible thing (I stress "spanking", not actual beatings and abuse, like the one you wrote about on your blog), and why do Western White parents act like it is?

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  26. Some of the shit people are spewing in this thread is making me totally sick to my stomache.

    Get this: "That slave over there is poorly trained and misbehaves regularly. I don't know why his master doesn't use a little more discipline on that little jackass in training. Why is that other white man there kowtowing to some n*er? He should have sent him on his way from the jump. Used to be you could give a slave a whipping in public for any offense..." Etc.

    Why is it understood to be wildly fucked up supremacy to view blacks as less deserving of dignified autonomy than whites, but so few people seem to realize that children are to this day treated like, well... slaves?

    Adults feels it is their perogative to ignore, condescend to, belittle, and abuse children without batting an eye. Whipping a child with a belt or switch or palm is no less brutally subordinating than whipping a slave. The child's [real] crime? Being too small and dependant to fight back.

    We send children to day prisons (school) where they are taught not that they can be anyone they want and do anything that interests them, but rather that they must be live their life forever submissive to others as workers and patriots.

    How is that so different from teaching a black person to work for their master and adopt a slave mentality/identity?

    At home children face solitary confinement (grounding), witholding of basic human needs (bed without dinner), beatings (beatings). They are to be "seen not heard". Laws are written that "legitimize" their status as the property of their guardians. In some states, it as actually legal for a parent to use any physical force on a child short of killing so long as it is for the purpose of gaining obediance (if something I once heard on TV can be trusted). How insulting! Children are not seen as fully human until they turn 18 for some reason.

    Does this sound at all like slavery?

    Children are treated with distrust and disbelief and ageist arrogance in their own homes by their own immediate families, no less. Two adults in a room together often completely ignore a present child, often even talking about her in the third person, but within earshot.

    WTF? Can any POC find similarity with that and experiences they've had among WP?

    We talk here about how people should confront others on their priveledge and racism, but then people go on to blindly trust the rightness of their adult priveledge and the acceptability of degrading youth.

    Children are "spoiled", "slackers", "punks", "brats", "hellions".... No one gives a shit about what they think about stuff because adult culture considers them too young to know, too young to have real opinions. In other words, not fully indoctrinated and subjugated yet. Children are essentially "savages" to adults' "civilization".

    Macon, would you have posted (in a non-critiquing manner) something that promoted assaulting POC, women, queers, elderly, Jews/Muslims, homeless/poor folk? Why would you let Big Man's and various commenters anti-youth bullshit go so casually unmoderated.

    Hey people! Where the hell do you think today's adult generation learned to be so violent and desperate for one-ups on everyone else. Most folks here readily agree that racism/white-supremacy intersects with classism, sexism, etc. Why ignore agism so easily?

    "Tough love" is bullshit. It is hate and power and arrogance and selfishness. To anyone here who says someone should ever lay a non-consensual hand on a child, other than to pull them back from the edge of a cliff or something, can shovel coal with me in Hell.

    Rrrrrrrrgh....! I'm so incredibly angry right now!

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  27. @Lutsen

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha! You should do stand-up.

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  28. @ Gibson & Kit:

    Both of your points have merit, but Bigman clearly stated that there were several parents watching this girls behavior - that equals Witnesses. Never did I say touch the child; never make that mistake with any child.

    But I wouldn't have had a patient back and forth conversation - by the first "why" she should have been on her way. Notice that the woman had to step in and physically get her off the horse and away from his son - it should have never gotten that far...

    @Lutsen - spoken like someone that doesnt have kids....

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  29. "My image of this girl in about 10 years: Either cheering on her drunken white boyfriend and his buddies to beat the hell out of a random black guy "for fun", or cheering on the police to believe that one, two or three black guys she had consensual sex with raped her."

    Can I say I told you so? Let's find some more children to characterize in the worse possible way. I can only assume the last post was too blunt to be accepted.

    @Drowned Lotuses

    I'm just suggesting we not use a probably 8 years old or younger child and speculate on her character. You can say or speculate all you like about what white children in general may do because of racial entitlement. I just don't like seeing any specific child who is real, though anonymous to us, thrown under the bus of racial perception to the extent of the above quote.

    "then I would never be able to explain any racist occurences that I (or anyone else here for that matter) have experienced as there are myriad methods by which racism manifests itself, no matter how well-intended they may be."

    So your saying because I don't like having some real child (as opposed to a fictional device) who cut in line and bum tokens characterized as a clear example of white entitlement, I can't understand racial dialogue? It's just a matter of keeping a conversation civil. Let your imagination stretch out to this child being another color and some other set of assumptions being made based on the scant information available.

    Racism is available in a myriad of forms as you say, but then why object to my objection to assuming racism can be painted one color or with one characteristic. Is your argument really that I can't understand racism because I reject that all people should be assumed to have a certain behavior because of some random shared action or personal trait?

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  30. @blueshield
    Well, the fact that you "reject that all people should be assumed to have a certain behavior because of some random shared action or personal trait" essentially purports that all racist actions are "random shared actions/personality traits". In which I do think that you can't understand the full scope of racism in that it is the lived experience of (some? most? I dunno...) POCs through countless racist encounters that brings together the literature and studies that form the basis of anti-racist struggle/critique (or this wonderful forum for such discussion).

    Yes, this is just one example of a single child acting "inappropriately" (wow, I'm being nice), but in response to your rejection of this being an example of white entitlement, how many encounters do you need to be put in front of your face? This is what I'm saying.

    You seem to be at the very beginning of understanding dialogue on racism in that you are requiring detailed analyses of systematically racist actions that can exactly parallel the issue at hand. I'm sorry to tell you this, but POCs may have much more important stuff to do than to systematically record every racist interaction in order to prove to you, a single person, that the interaction was, indeed, racist.

    For these reasons, I object to your objection that the event was, in fact, a racist occurrence.

    Though it may be hard for you to imagine, the children of today that are allowed to act like the child in the story have a good chance of becoming tomorrow's racists. We don't learn to be racists through grand pedagogies passed through generations, but through the subtle hints and occurrences in daily life that form the basis for our learned sense of privilege or oppression.

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  31. AuntEsther said...
    "Both of your points have merit, but Bigman clearly stated that there were several parents watching this girls behavior - that equals Witnesses. Never did I say touch the child; never make that mistake with any child."

    Children exaggerate- children lie; it’s why I used a personal example from my own experience to show how actions can be misinterpreted by the child. I said “She could have” accused him of handling her; not that he should. This white child could have run back to her mother and said, "That black man grabbed me and took me down from the horse. I wasn't doing anything I was just playing."

    I don't blame him for being hesitant in touching her. As he stressed, this is the South. My quoting you was to draw out that point. He showed tact and he didn't allow his emotions to dictate his actions. I'm glad a woman stepped in and not him. At no time did I suggest that he hit or discipline the child. Course, from a white perspective it could have looked that way, if all the parent had to rely on was the child’s information. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. My mistake.

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  32. @Lutsen

    I agree with you 100%.

    As a parent who is a strong believer in non-violent parenting, I will argue all day long that the only thing you are teaching your kid by physically intimidating them, hitting them and making them feel pain... is how to physically intimidate someone, how to hit someone and how to make someone feel pain. Obviously, these aren't the lessons we mean to teach, are they?

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  33. @Lutsen...
    "Why would you let Big Man's and various commenters anti-youth bullshit go so casually unmoderated."

    It’s impossible to be "anti-youth" as you say when you're the parent of four well-adjusted grown children, and four- count-em four wonderful grandchildren. Young sir, children won't be children always and it is our responsibility as parents to raise- support, teach, nurture… love and yes chasten them at times. I agree with AuntEsther; you are either a parent-less person, or a spoiled angry "white" child yourself.

    "To anyone here who says someone should ever lay a non-consensual hand on a child, other than to pull them back from the edge of a cliff or something, can shovel coal with me in Hell."

    Hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels, and with God's grace- I shan't be going there. But hey- if I'm in the neighborhood I'll remember to bring you a glass of water. Take care.

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  34. @Drowned Lotuses

    You're still not quiet getting what I'm saying, but let's just agree to disagree on the broader subject of what defines racism. This whole topic reminds of a college class on argumentative reasoning. Our personal debate doesn't gain us anything and just steals a little of our valuable time.

    You keeping wanting me to concede some permission to make whatever remarks you like about this girl based on this limited example of behavior and assume that I'm trying to limit the discussion in some way. However, I'm just trying to protect one little girl from slander. Consider that if her real name were known/mentioned it would be an issue of libel. I just object to picking on a real, specific child who cannot defend herself both because of her age and lack of representation in the dialogue.

    The child has an equal chance to become just about anything. That's the great thing about being a child. You have your whole future ahead of you. So let's further agree that neither us can tell the future and one incident in life would not a person make. We may be talking about the future leader of the civil rights movement. Very unlikely, but I figured I can spin a subjective yarn with the best of them.

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  35. Lutsen.
    I was a bit shocked at a few of the comments myself. I agree with you that ageism exists and is crap. Too many people harsh on their kids simply because they're kids; it's bullying, plain and simple. And I'm not a fan of so-called "tough love" (or its useless opposite "buddy parent"). However While AuntEsther's "man up" comment was one I definitely didn't like (jeez), I liked your misrepresentative remix of it even less. Also not clear on why you picked on that single comment, as it didn't strike me as ageist. (Not loving the pronoun use, though.)

    The whole thing comes off as a rant, because yes, ageism sucks in general, but where's the ageism in this thread? The girl got an appalled reaction both here and IRL, because of her appallingly rude and entitled behavior; not her age. Addressing her as a mature, reasonable, autonomous person was tried, and it did not work. If everyone in the story was replaced with an adult, things from that point on would've gone about the same (if not worse): she'd have just been removed bodily.

    ....

    Anyway. Point is, it's not cool to ruin people's nights with your blithe entitlement. Looking at the title, I thought that's why this was posted here. She got the benefits of her whiteness whether she knows it or not. This is how white supremacy is learned, and one of the many ways it works its magic. She learned that she can act however she wants, and there will be no consequences, no penalty, not even so much as a "timeout." Heck, there won't even be anger from the people she just pooped on (the father and son). , yeah, and she's white! Not to worry, though, I'm sure it won't go to her head.

    And on Daddy/Son Fun Night, Dad was reminded that in certain circumstances, even a small package of whiteness+girlness can make him feel unsafe, and Son learned... well, something. Probably a few things. SWPD: casually leave a wake of emotional destruction.

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  36. So, Lutsen, child is the new black? ha ha ha

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  37. @blueshield
    Discussing this incident as racism is not second-guessing a child's "motives". Motive is irrelevant to racism; what is relevant is that the incident took place in a way that was racially problematic - the black father was put in a catch-22 situation due to the existence of a thoroughly racist system. Had he been white and the rude little girl been black, he could have done just about anything he liked to get her to stop misbehaving with little fear of repercussions.

    Moreover to think that children don't see race and know how to enjoy their privilege is utterly naive...

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  38. I by no means singled out the "man-up" comment. I was addressing some five or six of them.

    I am a parent, and I always ask my children before touching them (except for safety related purposes), and if they say no, I DON'T. Period.

    Saying you can't be anti-youth because you have kids and grandkids is like saying you can't be racist because you are in an inter-racial relationship and have a mixed-race kids.

    I didn't say anything about "new black."

    The ageism is in the belief that our role and right as adults is to mold kids into something particular, to make them assimilate to our standards and expectations, to become just like us; and if they resist we will use force.

    Act White and abandon your own culture or we'll shoot you with firehoses(racism).
    Act straight or we'll tie you to a fence post and leave you to die (heterosexism).
    Work endlessly to climb the corporate ladder or we won't bother to investigate your unnatural death (classism).
    Convert or be slaughtered (inquisition).

    Grow up and learn some manners or we'll yell and shame you in public and beat you when we get home (ageism).

    Maybe kids exaggerate and lie because they are desperate for some power in their lives. Adults who take the attitude of "children lie" are already demonstrating prejudice plus institutional power before they've even met the kid.

    I am not denying the racial elements in this post's content. I AM pointing out the age-based apartheid that IS being blindly promoted.

    We will fail to dismantle racism if we stubbornly refuse to confront other isms. Every single person writing at SWPD has age priveledge. Big Man was struggling with race and gender issues but is completely ignoring his institutional power as an "adult".

    Could I have a slice of lemon in my water, M. Gibson?

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  39. Okay, where is this discussion going? Lutsen claims that children are the new black, apparently without irony. Obviously, we shouldn't go there.

    M. Gibson says that beating children is a legacy of slavery. Does this mean, to get back to stuff white people do, that a common white thing is to never hit your children no matter what they do, and treat them like little adults, to the point where they act obnoxiously entitled? I think it could be. And a part of that is, clearly, white children perceiving their relative power and entitlement as white people over non-white people pretty early on.

    What I like about this post is that it provides an inside view of what it's like to be a black parent, a father in this case, and confronted by the awareness, yet again, of stereotypes about yourself. In this case, they got between Big Man and his son. The thought of what could happen if a black man were to speak up to a white girl, who could then cause a scene at his expense, held him back from sticking up for his son. This post is a powerful story not for its own dramatic sake, but instead because it evokes the dangerous drama that could have happened. Without even saying that.

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  40. @ Lutsen:

    >> "...his institutional power as an adult"

    As NEARLY EVERYONE has pointed out, if the OP had exercised his "institutional power as an adult," it would have been relatively easy for the little girl to exercise her institutional power as a white person--in this case, particularly a Crying White Damsel In Distress--and target him.

    It is true that we cannot say for sure what she would or would not have done. However, do WP really deserve the benefit of the doubt? Especially when it might put the safety of a person of color at stake?

    (Also, given your last comment, I think you might be particularly interested in C.S. Lewis' vision of what hell is. Just a thought.)

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  41. Why is this post turning into a thread about ageism? I mean, as a kid I remember countless times when adults dismissed me just because I was a kid, and by no means do I condone 'violence' on kids. But I did benefit from a 'spanking' (which is different from 'violence') or two that my parents gave me when I was reaaaaallly young. Heck, one time mom threatened to take education away from me because I was turning into a racist teenage girl thanks to my Westernized schooling. And that's one of the best lessons she taught me. I am forever grateful she did that.

    Anyway, on the lighter side, here's Russell Peters' take on it.

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  42. "The ageism is in the belief that our role and right as adults is to mold kids into something particular, to make them assimilate to our standards and expectations, to become just like us; and if they resist we will use force."

    Am I confused? I thought parenting was about molding children and helping them adjust to and understand the rules of society. No? If not, what is parenting supposed to be? And how does this work once we take race into account? Especially since society at large does not have a problem using force against people of color? Especially if PoC are in conflict with someone white?

    ---------------------------------

    I often see white children acting out of pocket. When I was a kid (I am a 25 yo African-American woman) out with my mother, I would often stare at out of order white children and their parents. With my mouth open. My mother always had to tell me to stop staring. I couldn't BELIEVE these kids were getting away with what they were getting away with. Children telling their parents they hated them, were stupid, to shut up, where they could go, etc. Parents responding with: that's not nice, mommy loves you, why won't you help daddy, the infamous non-consequential countdown, repeated request to cease behavior, etc. I had this disbelief as a CHILD. All my mother had to do was give me the infamous "look," and I would stop what I was doing. I was rarely spanked as a child, but the idea that it could happen was enough to keep me in line.

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  43. I'm really annoyed by the lack of understanding given to the author of this post in so many of the comments. It was clear to me, from the very beginning of his story, that his interaction with the young white girl revolved principally around the conflict between his desired actions (including in the protection of his child) and the perception of him as a large black man in our society. His hands were tied in this encounter because of the stereotypes and racial power imbalance that was the elephant in the room. Does that not infuriate anyone else? This story does not seem to be about child rearing, the rights of children, or ageism, but about how white privilege (even that of a child) infringed on the rights of this black man, and how a history of violent responses to harmless behavior limited his actions and became a potentially dangerous situation primarily because of the the race (and I would say gender) of those involved.

    Stuff white people are doing in this thread: missing the point.

    I would also really appreciate it if further comments comparing disciplining your child to American slavery were not allowed. I find it highly offensive. Teaching your kids manners is not the same thing as turning fire hoses on black people who want equal rights.

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  44. thesciencegirl,

    Co-signed, and that's exactly why I requested a reposting of this piece. I completely agree with everything you just wrote. (I have my own opinions about just HOW to best teach kids manners, but that's beside the point of this post, and this blog.)

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  45. @ thesciencegirl

    Thanks for telling it. This was getting ridiculous.

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  46. His hands were tied in this encounter because of the stereotypes and racial power imbalance that was the elephant in the room.

    Absolutely. I agree that I think that was the main point of the post as riche and Willow pointed out above. (Apologies for biting the bait with the derailing tangent.) It was racism at work regardless of what the child rearing practices may or may not have been. The white girl's white privilege was at work, whether she realized it or not, and it tied the father's hands (metaphorically speaking, that is). And if she didn't already know that how it works (as some seem to be arguing here), then it was also definitely a lesson or practicum on how to use white privilege for the girl. And a lesson on how white privilege means 'Daddy can't always protect me even if he wants to' for Big Man's son. And THAT, is probably what would pain a parent the most in that situation - that white privilege (working with stereotypes about black men) means you're not free to protect your child. That it's no longer just about you running into idiots who ruin your day, but now it's about your kids and whether or not they can trust that you'll be able to protect them.

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  47. @Lutsen:

    I screamed these things at the top of my lungs to my parents for years. I explained that I deserved basic human dignity and rights. They remained condescending, dismissive, rude, cruel and oblivious. I don't speak to my parents today. Your children are lucky to have you.

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  48. I think there's a difference between derailing and pointing out intersectionality - and I think people on this thread have been doing a little of both. There's been a lot of essentialism - Western parents do this, non-Western parents do that. Odd arguments - corporal punishment is the only way to be a good parent -and the rendering invisible of non-whites who don't use corporal punishment. And exageration - jumping in line on a carousel means you'll lie to the police later on. As a WoC, when I the post I saw a black man getting disrespected by a white girl - who then immediately tried to get some power back by holding the specter of corporal punishment over his black son. There may have been more to the final scene than the father described, but he ASKS the son if he's ready to leave - indicating the child has the option to say no, and then when the child starts to tantrum, instead of reminding the child even once (not endlessly) that that's not the proper way to say no (yes I'm sure the son had been told this before, but at the Chuck E. Cheese stay you need reminding), the father says that it IS time to leave and threatens punishment. If the father had already decided it was time to leave it seems a little capricious and unfair that he asked the child whether he was ready in the first place. It reminds me of how Frederick Douglass said that slave adults would hit their kids (or other black kids) over any minor infraction in order to recapture some of the power they lost when whites hit or mistreated them. So many people accept the Zora Neale Hurston view that some black men deal with oppression by oppressing black women - why is it so crazy to suggest that some black adults deal with oppression by oppressing black children? (And I'm not saying that anyone who doesn't overindulge their kids is oppressing them or that fair discipline is oppression.)

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  49. What up Big man, I read the post on your blog but did not comment there, but reading it again I have a recurring concern. And that is, aside from messing up his ride, how did your son view that whole unfolding drama?.

    I agree, being in a former confederate state heightened the delicate situation with the rude white girl. If your son is like my kid, then he was watching everything carefully, and at that moment he was picking-up some behavior pattern from you that may influence his interactions with whites as he grow older. I'm sure he noticed your body language, you voice tone, and the obvious discomfort in dealing with the white child. Now, how does he reconcile your tactful and patient response to the white girl, with you telling him he may get an ass whipping if he don't stop his whining? I think it would be good if he understood the rationale behind that contradiction.

    All of this reminds me of Nathan McCall's book "Makes me Want to Holla" in which he talks about his father's dominant role in the home, but more circumspect behavior (trying to be nice here) in dealing with white folks. And how his limited understanding of that contradiction adversely influenced his teenage years.

    I was not there, but as a father myself I can appreciate the delicate situation (Black man dealing with disrespectful little white girl) and how you handled it.

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  50. As a professional educator, I have had many experiences (and heard stories of countless others) in which white or affluent children overstep their bounds with people of color on a daily basis. Their behavior usually goes unchecked, and almost as often- defended, deflected or rationalized. WP are very adept at excusing the behavior of the child through assertion of privilege while simultaneously demeaning the adult of color, thereby solidifying the position of privilege for their child. (The tone argument is often a player in this action.) The dichotomy of paralysis and natural instinct to protect is real. We as PoC are limited in our ability to act on behalf of ourselves and our children from the brazen assertion of white privilege. We always MUST fear reprisal.

    I think this post actually shares a lot of the same privileged attitudes that were discussed in the post regarding WP expecting WoC to care for their children. In that post, it was often stated that WW would express the belief that "you should be grateful I'm allowing you (read as your AA, Latino, nonwhite ass) to watch my child!" Since we know this to be true, wouldn't it be fair to also assume that this parental attitude is teaching, or at the very least encouraging, WC to behave with privilege?

    Again, it comes down to the fact that whiteness is the valued norm, and the rest of us have varying degrees of status or usefulness (not value- usefulness) based on our assimilation in white society; perception of beneficial or detrimental effect we have as groups on the lives of WP(ex. the belief that immigrants are taking jobs from WP, or AAs moving into the neighborhood will cause your property values to drop, etc.); and our willingness to accept white supremacy as the truth without question.

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  51. TakeMulattoBack said...
    "Their behavior usually goes unchecked, and almost as often- defended, deflected or rationalized. WP are very adept at excusing the behavior of the child through assertion of privilege while simultaneously demeaning the adult of color, thereby solidifying the position of privilege for their child."

    http://www.momlogic.com/2009/12/4-year-old_suspended_for_long_hair.php
    "Two thoughts: I would venture to guess that the parents have a lawsuit, should they so desire, against the school district. AND how do you suspend a pre-kindergartner? I mean, exactly what WARRANTS that? Pre-K is PLAY & SOCIALIZATION. How exactly is a haircut getting in the way of that? Not that I can understand how a haircut gets in the way of much these days, but that’s beside the point.
    Melissa"

    http://www.momlogic.com/2009/12/4-year-old_suspended_for_long_hair.php
    Instead of the child simply complying with school policy, the commenter asserts the individual right of the child. In short- protect the right of the white child at any cost- as if he were an adult. Privilege… pure and simple.

    http://newsok.com/texas-school-board-keeps-ban-on-boys-long-hair/article/3431473
    "White parents will demand that you change the policy to fit the rights/needs of their special child. It is the school that must conform in their eyes; not the child. Privilege… pure and simple.

    http://homeworktips.about.com/b/2008/08/22/star-student-suspended-for-pink-hair.htm
    "This week, a 12 year-old student was suspended from her Missouri school for dyeing her hair pink. School officials say that Amelia Robbins, a 7th-grader, had been warned at the end of her 6th grade year that the pink streaks she sported were causing a distraction. Nonetheless, over the summer she went fully pink. Amelia says that she dyed her hair pink to honor her late father, who died of cancer (pink has been used as symbol for cancer awareness). But as she stated in one interview, she was also motivated by the desire to express herself as an individual (see the video interview at CNN.com). School officials were apparently not impressed by her individualism. "

    Note the comments: and the selfishness. I will disrupt this entire institution over my desire to wear pink hair. What does this say to the other white students? Privilege- selfish causes must be defended and fought for. Even to the detriment of the institution.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/colored-hair-in-school
    "Unnaturally colored hair is a statement, a sign of individuality that you can't express with clothing. Colored hair is not distracting, it's about as distracting as a new haircut or a pair of new jeans, people notice it one day, and the next they've moved on. Teenagers should be allowed to express individuality with hair color in schools, because we feel pressured to find a style that fits natural hair colors, its not our individuality showing at its best." Note the comments: Privilege… pure and simple.

    All privileged white kids demanding rights from the state. We Blacks had to fight for the basic right to attend school; the right to learn. White kids/adults simply fight over their privilege while in school; the right to dissent and disrupt. The rights of the white individual is paramount; the rights of the other- well..not so important. I'm waiting to see a black child sues a school over his right to wear a doo-rag in class, or to sag his pants.

    @TakeMulattoBack
    "Again, it comes down to the fact that whiteness is the valued norm, and the rest of us have varying degrees of status or usefulness (not value- usefulness) based on our assimilation in white society."

    Want to be normal in our eyes? Act like us...
    Rear you kids like us...
    Respect their individual rights..again...like us.

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  52. It's true that the main point should be the father's inability to deal with the situation as the main point of racist contention. But I hope I'm not 'derailing' when I surmised that the girl took full advantage of her racial position. Or maybe it's better to say that she was allowed to proceed working within her position of power in relation to the father and "ontologically expand" thence. That said...

    @blueshield

    It's funny that you are calling my opinion a "subjective thread." In that case, please do explain how one identifies racism?

    Furthermore, since you are so keen on calling our conversation argumetative, then what do you feel the result should be? That I concede to you?

    Please take a look at this selection: www.derailingfordummies.com/#opinion

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  53. Sorry in advance to everyone, for the long wordy post.

    Imhotep said..."Now, how does he reconcile your tactful and patient response to the white girl, with you telling him he may get an ass whipping if he don't stop his whining? I think it would be good if he understood the rationale behind that contradiction."

    Imhotep, I agree with this completely. It should be explained by Big Man to his son, however, being a parent myself(black woman)I can understand how a situation like this, set to the back-drop, of noisy, screaming, children, and irate, worn-out adults, could make him lose his cool, for a split bit. We are not perfect as parents, though(I hope)we strive to be.

    The fact that he had to give up some of his power in this situation, saddens and angers me. But, as PoC, we have all given, and still do give up basic human rights on the daily because we do not want to be perceived as "threatening" and therefore, harassed or abused. Hell, my new year's resolution back in 2006 was to "untrain" myself of certain habits I had been taught, ie., keeping my hands visible in stores, smiling to make whites feel comfy, and other "non-threatening" behaviors. So far, I have done, great, but habits do creep back from time to time.

    @Lauren, lmao, My kid and I were walking home from her school just the other day, and a white lady was close to tears, begging her son to come from the playground so that they could leave(my kid's school is connected to a park)the lady had an appointment, and was going to be late. He ignored her, no matter how much she pleaded with him, and my daughter was shocked and appalled. She dislikes ill-behaved people(adults and children)in general, so I literally had to lol, at your posts because she had the EXACT same reaction as you. I get accused of "The Look" as well, by both her and my husband *snicker*

    @Lutsen...Children like discipline. From the age of 5, I was a ward of the state. I was bounced from place to place, and I finally ended up with a woman that we all called "Madear", for 8 years. There were rules, and discipline(rarely, but sometimes corporal)and it was the only place that I got to have some semblance of a childhood. I was protected, loved, encouraged, and best of all, expected to behave in a fair manner. These were all good things, and they healed me. Children came through that home heavy of heart, and knotted with emotional scars, terrified by the utter ugliness the world offered those with no one to look after, or out for them. They left Madear's feeling loved, and valued. Fast forward to my very early teens, and I was on my own, fending for myself, and I would wish for what I had before. See, we do more than discipline our children, we provide them with a safe haven, love, and protection...who are you to call these things into question? I'd rather live under rules, than on the street, as a young girl/boy, with predators afoot. Furthermore, are you telling me that I should not protect my child, or push her towards a healthy path? Hell, I wouldn't care if she decided to be career oriented, travel the world poor, become ultra spiritual, have three husbands/wives, etc. as long as she's happy, I'm happy. How is that bad? Discipline IS love. Like my best friend says," I'd rather spank my daughter now, rather than have the police shoot her in the back 41 times when she's older." Maybe your kids can enjoy a discipline free existence now, but we'll see how that's working out for ya when they are all teens, and have 0 respect for you because no foundation was laid.

    Stuff Some White People Also Do: Derail painful experiences by loving Parents of Color, from healing discussion, with bullshit claims of ageism and other shit that has nary a thing to do with the point.

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  54. @SSDD...
    "Like my best friend says," I'd rather spank my daughter now, rather than have the police shoot her in the back 41 times when she's older."

    I’ve heard that said so many times from black fathers and mothers coming up. If I take care of my responsibility- i.e. discipline you now and steer you in the right direction. (Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.) I won’t have to worry about the police (beating) you later in life. Every black parent has that fear. It was especially true in the south where the wrong look- posture- whistle or comment could get you killed. (Emmett Till.) This is something that is totally foreign to the white experience. The “Things that white people do” in this thread is to invalidate these experiences in favor of their own cooperate truths.

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  55. @ M. Gibson/SSDD - In her book That Mean Old Yesterday Stacy Patton challenges the claim, "I'd rather spank my daughter now, rather than have the police shoot her in the back 41 times when she's older" by saying that most times when blacks use corporal punishment it's due to frustration - not thinking about white supremacy.

    @SSDD - I'm kind of shocked by the claim that agesism is nonsensical or inappropriate in this thread. After all, anytime someone brings up class or gender intersectionality on swpd and somebody else even tries to minimalize the the effects of those injustices, much less negate them, they get accused of playing "oppression olympics." Ageism is being held to a different standard.

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  56. @Bingo - Well, I see race playing a decidely bigger role in this situation. I've had similar situations to Big Man, in my own home. Every PoC who has been to my home has expected their children to behave, and supervised them accordingly. Every white person, with the exception of 1, has not. One child flooded my basil plant with water(it died), where were his mother/father? Standing right there. Not a word was said. One child decided to go in my room and rummage through our things. One grabbed our cat's tail, and proceeded to drag him down the stairs(poor neko-sama)...these children's parents did not even gently admonish them for these things, and I silently simmered with rage because I suspected they would defend their actions if I said something. Why did I suspect that? It was because I am painfully aware of black people being stereo-typed as violent, unpredictable, irrational, and so on. If I had displayed even the slightest amount of displeasure, I become the "angry black bitch" accosting their angels. And in the spirit of full disclosure, one of the mothers had been attempting to have a very racist, and sneaky discussion with my friend about "Asian women latching on to white american men". I called out her on it and she got angry, so it's safe to assume that she does not like me, and would therefore play the victim role if I told her to supervise her children. Is this ageism?

    And about my bff's saying, it is simply advice for those of us black folks who live in the real world. You know, the one where you can be shot while sleeping in your car, or slammed against the wall by cops while your baby is in a carrier strapped to you, or better yet, your 5yr old can be considered a "serious threat" and be handcuffed or tased.

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  57. @M. Gibson

    Thank you for the article addresses. We often discuss equity and white privlege in my line of work, and these will bring an interesting dynamic to the discussion.

    Honestly, I didn't know this phenomenon had gotten so much attention!

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  58. @Drowned Lotuses

    I think you already spoke to my complaint in a way in your first paragraph of your last post.

    As for racism, I can give you a cookie cutter defintion, but the experience itself is personal and flexible. I don't think people should be limited in how racism is defined because there is societal racism and a million diffrent situational incidents of racism that only the person experiencing it can interpret.

    Actually, I said "subjective yarn", and I wasn't referring to something you posted, but rather the earlier post by Kit (Keep It Trill). I was saying "yarn" as in a story told by an interesting character.

    I don't need personally to say that I'm the winner in any debate on here. I'll debate a point, but only so that I don't get run over. I'm fine with leaving our discussion as is.

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  59. Marianne, "Kit, you're a therapist, what do you think? Is spanking such a horrible thing (I stress "spanking", not actual beatings and abuse, like the one you wrote about on your blog), and why do Western White parents act like it is?"

    As my late father said after several years of observing my adopted son's hyperactivity, oppositional-defiant behavior, and difficulty in school, "Different people have different needs."

    This is especially true of children. We are all born with different, inborn temperaments, that are intensified or lessened from our early life experiences and culture.

    People in my family hardly ever got spankings. One thing I noticed about my own kid is the first time I spanked him (with my hand, on his behind), it mentally and emotionally excited him. Kid was ready for battle like it was a game. Two times of this and I switched him to five minute time outs and used a kitchen timer in his room that he could see and hear. Oh man, that nearly killed him. Why? Because he has ADHD and is so dang impulsive, and pain doesn't seem to bother him. He can't wait for anything. He was also a former foster child, so isolation was something he hated - and still does. He's also hyper-masculine, so the one thing I didn't have for him that would have been great was a military-style father in the house to keep him in check. He still gets hyped when watching fighting sports and loves boxing, and might become a decent middle weight if he continues with it.

    As a result, the timeouts worked well until around age 13 and that testosterone kicked in - and with it, the need to dominate. I think this is where the spanking strategy fails a lot of single mother's raising boys who lean on the aggressive side, particularly in this aggressive culture where war and domination is the theme for the mainstream, and gangs and turf domination is the them for many urban boys. It's really two sides of the same coin, as I see it.

    My take as a helping professional is that if modest spankings work, a parent won't need to do it more than a few times in the life of that child. If the misbehavior is frequent, however, then the kid isn't learning from the consequences of bad behavior, and a different strategy needs to be used.

    As for your race specific question, Marianne, I think that's more the media putting out PC stories. I've known plenty of white parents who spank (and were spanked) and haven't a shred of guilt about it.

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  60. Bingo said...
    "In her book That Mean Old Yesterday Stacy Patton challenges the claim, "I'd rather spank my daughter now, rather than have the police shoot her in the back 41 times when she's older" by saying that most times when blacks use corporal punishment it's due to frustration - not thinking about white supremacy."

    "All the black children Patton knew got whipped whenever, wherever, and with whatever. This was part of our identity as black children. Patton believes this behavior came from the slave experience: It was what their parents knew and what their parents' parents knew. It was a behavior that had deep roots in the plantation legacy."

    Of this statement I agree 100 percent. I still believe for a lot of black parents in the south (and where I grew up) this was a real and valid fear. Fear that your child is going to do something or say something that might get them in trouble with white authority or whites in general. It’s definitely something to consider. I used to hear parents say,” and when you get paddled in school, you’re going to get another paddle once you get home.”

    How much truth is in Bill Cosby’s tales of his wife whooping their children we may never know but it is indeed part of our legacy. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083652/quotes
    "Bill Cosby: [after spanking the kids] My wife comes downstairs with a broken stick. She throws it on the table and begins to talk out loud to... NOBODY! "Gonna tell me that you're not going to do something when I tell you to do something. I mean you MOVE when I say move! Think I carried you in my body for nine months so you can roll your eyes at me? I'll roll that little head of yours down on the floor. You don't know who you're fooling with. I'll beat you until you can't grow anymore!"

    Bill Cosby: "And tired" always followed sick. Worst beating I ever got in my life, my mother said, "I am just sick..." And I said, "And tired." I don't remember anything after that."

    Bill Cosby: "My wife grabs a yard stick... holds it like a samurai warrior... and announces that the beatings will now begin... by saying, "I HAVE HAD... ENOUGH OF... THIS!". Now these three brain-damaged people have the nerve to look surprised!"

    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/53093/Richard-Pryor-Ass-Whoopins.html
    This was normal to countless generations, the fact that so many blacks in his audience are laughing shows you how many could relate to his tale.

    Sinbad
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bbap0ocwRE

    If this is how the author interprets frustration then I agree. It’s a miracle some of us turned out as well as we did. If miss so-and-so caught you doing something you weren't supposed to be doing she disciplined you too- then went and told your momma. I'm old enough to remember those days.

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  61. @Imhotep, SSDD

    I think you may be underestimating the ease and complexity of making a small child understand the nuances of white privilege and racism. The pain it will cause Big Man if he does explain this situation to his son will just be compounded because I'm sure he was hoping against hope that that conversation would never be necessary in his young son's life. He will have to feel the emasculation, utter rage, and stinging pain if privilege and racism- and worse yet, accept that white privilege holds an important role in his young AA son's life. And he will have to do this while standing in front of his child.

    But this will not be necessary.

    I think many are assuming the young boy was only acted upon, not an active participant in this exchange. Also, that he has no experience in dealing with white privilege. This would be ideal, but I do not believe it to be true.Remember that the child also did not make any moves to remove the rude little white girl that was clearly acting inappropriately and infringing on his personal space. I take this to mean he has already learned at least one bitter lesson of privilege. It sounds like he is preschool/kindergarten age: school provides opportunities to learn lessons of white privilege daily.

    Let me preface this by saying maybe is missed it- but in all the discussion of children’s oppression and rights, did anyone discuss how this AA child was also directly affected by white privilege- not just through his father’s interaction with the rude little white girl? How the lack of discipline of this white child clearly facilitated the violation the space?

    Some posters made sure they came to the aid of the very young damsel in distress, and fought against any attempts to besmirch her character. It makes me wonder- if she were your daughter exerting her privilege on a CoC in public, would you correct her behavior?
    How would you explain to her why what she did was so wrong- beyond it being rude?

    It seems that his son has, and will learn through this experience- and many others we, as AAs and fair minded people, wish he would never have. And when he is older, he will understand this on a much deeper level.

    Some of us have studied white privilege, but many others have just become experts through a wealth of experience…

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  62. I'm not going to fight this. I'm too royally pissed by the self-righteousness of our society's perspective on youth and child-raising (and can see the futility in the general vibe of this thread anyway), something I already knew but naively hoped some of the wise anti-oppression folks here would be willing to aknowledge. I believe that I am developing a better understanding of what POC may go through when they face WP's stubborn denials of white supremacy.

    If anyone would like to discuss this on the outside though, you can write me at lutsen.swpd@gmail.com .

    Type to ya'll in a future post, g'night.

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  63. @blueshield

    My last attempt, but I doubt it will get through: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#personally

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  64. @SSDD, saying that black people don't necessarily have racism in mind when they use corporal punishment doesn't negate the presence of racism.

    One thing I've heard black parents say is, "Don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about." It chilled me when I was reading slave testimonies and a woman remembered an auctioneer threatening her mother with that exact phrase i.e. if you cry about me selling you from your children I'll give you something to cry about i.e. abuse. There's no doubt in my mind about the plantation legacy in black discipline - at times blacks even quote the slave-owners.

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  65. @bingo

    Wow. Those sound like fightin' words. Child rearing is something that people engage in differently, but I'm not sure what you are proposing here?

    To call SSDD a slavedriver because she believes in punishing children is a bit far-fetched. I don't understand what you are proposing in terms of how one should approach a misbehaving child...?

    And what if you were to think about the issue on the flip side racially? I don't know how you turned ageism into racism and then black people into their own slavedrivers...

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  66. My last post, thanks for this, learned alot.

    @TakeMulattoBack - I understand the gravity of these things, with the exception of emasculation(I'm female), but eventually if not explained, a child's interpretation of these types of situations could manifest as resentment, and Big Man's relationship with his son could become strained as a consequence. I'm a work in progress myself, when it comes to this very thing, so I can definitely empathize with the frustration, anger, and finally, weariness. Oh and believe me, I know that this interaction probably reinforced some previously observed racial dynamics for his son. I'm pissed at the fact that his son probably felt confused, and upset at this girl's intrusion, yet some continue to make excuses for her behavior.

    @Lutsen - I have honestly been mulling over the parallels between ageism and racism, for this scenario, and still, no dice. What would you have done in this situation? I'm just curious. Also, I do not deny, that ageism exists, but I'd like to know why you feel that it is ageism if I expect a certain level of civilty from children. If I expect them to be ill behaved, I am an ageist, because I have stereo typed them? If I expect them to be civil, I am an ageist because I should not impose my rules upon them? Why do you assume that parents who have expressed their dislike of bad behavior from their children, ageists? Why do you assume that we all dismiss our children, and their feelings? If I don't ask my child's permission before I hug her, am I an ageist? She certainly does not ask for mine before she hugs me, so is she an ageist? Is it an adult's potential power to oppress a child that is similar to racism? Similar to white people oppressing others? If so, I apologize for wasting your time because as harsh as this may sound, children will one day become adults, but I will be black forever.

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  67. @ Drowned Lotuses a) I didn't call anybody on this thread a slavedriver b) I didn't turn ageism into racism or black people into slave drivers -- I said that there was an intersection between racism and ageism just as there is an intersection between racism and sexism -- the concept of intersectionality in anti-oppression communities is pretty basic, nor did I turn black people into their own slave-owners - I said that the legacy of slavery manifested itself in black parenting - something that, as I noted, many black scholars have theorized.

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  68. I had the same exact experience at Chuck E Cheese recently. Only difference was that the annoying child who was encroaching on my child's fun was black. I had the same reaction as macon d. I was looking around for the child's parents-and even asked the child where his parents were so I could speak with them about his behavior. My point is that "home training" and respect for others are things that alot of kids don't get-whether they are black, white, green or purple.

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  69. Jeff,

    You've completely missed the point of this post; you should go back and read it more carefully, beginning with the title (if you did so, you'd also probably notice that I didn't write it).

    Also, you really need to read this. You've got some catching up to do.

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  70. I've really gained some parental perspective after this post and reading the comments for days now. I have never disputed the idea that white children are raised and taught to be privileged. It's a sad fact. But I hadn't thought of what that does to parents of color when they have to face it head-on.

    As a white mother I've taken for granted that I can go right over to some other white parent and tell them that their child's behavior is infringing on the rights of happiness and free play for my children and others a) without causing them to think I'm being confrontational by the mere sight of me opening my mouth, b) without worrying about how it could affect this person's view of my entire race when I do it, c) and still have my claim taken as legitimate and real. On top of that, I don't have to worry about being falsely accused of abuse as Big Man would if he'd so much as grazed against her.

    That is what is profound to me about this post, the way Big Man was trapped and held hostage by this little girl because she was white. In a moment, she taught Big Man's son that his needs were not as important as hers. Does she do that to other kids? Of course, but the effect this interaction will have, because this process will be repeated for a child of color over and over, is that he begins to feel powerless and not important. Something some commenters are failing to see here is that a white child and his white parent in the same situation have the chance to stand up for themselves and win from time to time. A child of color and his parent don't have the same odds of winning. More often they will be addressed confrontationally no matter how respectful and calm they are in their approach. Then they will be accused of "starting it."

    The topic that Lutsen presents about ageism and abuse is just that - another topic. Your comments are well-founded but they're in the wrong post! They're derailing. Macon has an email address and is often welcoming of guest posts. This clearly has produced a spin-off topic. SWPD: Don't give their children any home training. That is where your comments would NOT be derailing. But here, it really is minimizing the importance of Big Man's feelings in this situation. I just read a story about a grown man who felt trapped, backed into a corner, was disrespected as a human being, and ultimately defeated because of someone else's privilege. What you seemed to read was something entirely different. After reading the comments you seem to think that people think regular spankings would have prevented all of this.

    Discipline and spanking are NOT synonymous. Spanking is a form of discipline, but not all discipline involves spanking. ALL discipline involves consistency. The consistency of a parent who spanks is usually great. The consistency - knowing what to expect coupled with the guidance of parent(s) along the way is what a child needs to grow into a self-disciplined adult who can handle the real world later. And this is coming from a parent who does not spank. I see your points, I just found it disrespectful that you tried to change entire topic at hand to what you wanted it to be, instead of giving Big Man a moment to be related to and understood.

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  71. I work in public service, and I have to be very careful and very accommodating when dealing with poorly-behaved children. If they're there, it's because their parents are applying for assistance with me, and I'm there to help them, not get distracted by their tearing through my office and destroying stuff.

    And, anecdotally, all of the children of color who have ever been in my office were respectful and let us (me and their parent) get to the business at hand. The hardest time I had was with a white woman who refused to rein in her two ADHD children, who went crazy with my date stamper and started literally tearing stuff off the walls.

    I couldn't really blame the children; it was obvious that they had some emotional/mental difficulties. I also, believe it or not, sympathized with their very exhausted looking mother. But, yes, what Big Man was really on about: it is a tricky and potentially dangerous thing to confront a child about their bad behavior if you are not the parent. The added racial factor complicates things to an almost ridiculous and unbearable degree.

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  72. Jeff said...
    “I had the same exact experience at Chuck E Cheese recently. Only difference was that the annoying child who was encroaching on my child's (Privilege) fun was black. I had the same reaction as macon d. I was looking around for the child's parents-and even asked the child where his parents were, “So I could speak with them about his Behavior..”

    I think you would have had some problems had you done that. Whites have a history of trying to tell us blacks how to raise our children. They do it from a position of privilege, together with the pillars of white normality as a support. You’re telling or maybe even instructing a black parent on what their child did wrong (and how this might be alleviated in future) would not have been interpreted the way you assume.

    To quote Victoria: “As a white mother I've taken for granted that I can go right over to some other white parent and tell them that their child's behavior is infringing on the rights of happiness and free play for my children and others a) without causing them to think I'm being confrontational. Without worrying about how it could affect this person's view of my entire race when I do it”

    All a black parent would have seen is some privileged white man telling me how to raise my child again. It would have been construed in the negative despite your good intentions. I’m a white man and I’m always right- you’d do well to take my advice m’kay? It’s sad that when someone commits a crime some of us are wishing to themselves, “please- please don’t let him be black.” For we know we will bear the entire brunt of his crime on our shoulders. Our entire race will be judged at that moment; the criminal will not suffer for his crime alone.

    As a black person I would feel that same weight if a white man in his infinite wisdom assumed to advise me on my child’s behavior. In that moment I would feel as though he was speaking to all blacks and not just me personally. I'm sure you wouldn't mean that, but there's the rub. Please understand.. As a parent you have every right to walk up and speak to another parent about their child's behavior. Just be kind enough to leave your privilege in the car before you do it. In Chuck E Cheese, with so many parents and attitudes; tact is everything...

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  73. @Drowned Lotuses

    Let me help you with your posters amnesia:

    "Furthermore, since you are so keen on calling our conversation argumetative, then what do you feel the result should be? That I concede to you? "

    You implied that I would only personally feel the conversation was concluded when I had won the point. I responded in kind.

    Can we stop derailing the topic from where it should be now? You can talk to me about it further privately at: joseph.woosley@gmail.com

    @TakeMulattoBack

    Sorry it took me so long to respond to your post. I think your first question posed with regards to the defense of the young girl was rhetorical? I believe anyone posting here, aside from forum trolls, would correct their child's behavior.

    As for your 2nd question. I would attempt to address it the best I could at the time, but I might ask for help from friends on how to make her understand the broader racial entitlement issues later. I get along with kids great, but I'm not the best at reducing a very complex issue to a child's understanding without having them miss the point.

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  74. @fromthetropics

    thanks for link. loved it. :-)

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  75. @bluesheild

    No problem- I am patient :-)

    Actually, my question was not rhetorical; I meant it quite literally. As you can see by these posts, people of color are used to observing ill behaved children- particularly white ones. I also noticed that the children they spoke of were not admonished for their behavior in public.

    I wonder why you would think it was a rhetorical question...

    I wonder if that is a part of the privilege- to be spared public discipline for infringing on the rights of PoC, CoC in particular.

    I appreciate your answer to my second question. It would be quite difficult...

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  76. @TakeMulattoBack

    Sorry, I honestly thought it was rhetorical as in my family growing up we'd get the crap kicked out of us kids for pulling something like that. Not literally, but a spanking would be the most anticipated outcome. For my own kids I would make the child apologize and work on further correction in the car or at home.

    I believe this latest generation of parents, say within 10 years or so, are the ones that have this awful brand of parenting. I can't decide if it's just they don't care enough about their kids to correct their behavior or are too lazy to address it. Both are assumptions on my part, but I'm at a loss to explain it.

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  77. @blueshield

    In my line of work I deal with many parents.

    From my observations, I think that raising children in this time requires knowledge and coping skills many parents never developed because they were not a necessity at the time they were growing up.

    I think there are very few parents that just don't care- I do believe many are overwhelmed and not sure how to effectively address behaviors their children are engaging in.

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  78. I managed a toy store for several years, and if anything, that taught me that crap behavior from small children knows no racial boundaries. White kids, black kids, Latino kids, etc, they're all gonna act like they own the place. When I used to hear racist comments from other mall employees on the number of minority children that were in the store on Sundays, I would say "At least 'THOSE' kids are all coming here from church and are in their Sunday best." Even though I don't give a hoot if a child goes to church or not. It always shut them up.

    The father not feeling comfortable telling the girl to go find her mother is an issue my husband and I face regularly. I am white, he is a burly hispanic male. It's much easier for me to tell a child to knock it off than it is for him. Nobody's gonna call the cops on ME.

    But, seriously? It's Chuck E Cheese. There's a joke about selling Tie-Your-Own-Tubes kits in the parking lot there and making millions. 90% of the parents are at the table drinking over-priced beer, happy that their kids aren't climbing on them. I've YET to go there and not have some child step in front of my kids, knock them down, or beg me for tokens. Black, white and hispanic kids.

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  79. I'm sorry to post again, but I had to add...

    In these situations, I mentally lump kids into 2 groups not at all based on race.

    Those that have their parents trailing them...

    Those whose parents aren't anywhere in sight...

    Like someone said above, this is a parenting issue, not necessarily a white supremecist white girl issue. Certainly that could be the case, but what labels should we attach when the colors of the children are reversed?

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  80. I had a former landlord, now an official at a top university, who spoke of situations similar to Big Man's when we lived in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. This brother was Caribbean, and he didn't hold back his disdain for the white parents who seemingly let their "little hellions" run wild, stomping all over tired people at the grocery store, on the (tight-ass) sidewalks, or any restaurant. As a big-and-tall black man who didn't feel the need to smile at everyone around him (good for him), I realize how he cornered he felt during these many, many encounters, and like Big Man, it saddens me.

    Though I have my feelings about any parent who lets their children run wild in public (or even speculates that it's happening), I can say that the privilege issue is something that adds a whole dimension of rage to the discussion, at least for me. A few days ago, about five white teenage girls all hopped on D.C.'s Metro, where I was sitting in one of the front seats. I was in that seat because I am temporarily disabled by illness. These girls were busily chatting away about their college applications -- Yale (my alma mater), Columbia, etc. -- and prospective majors. Overhearing this, and because I don't dislike kids, I considered saying a quick hello and asking them more about themselves. Instead, before I had the chance, the train jerked as it often does, moving people around. One of the girls, who foolishly chose not to hold onto a pole, fell all over me. And I mean fell... with no apology. Just a smirk. The train jerked again, and she almost "fell" again, until I took my strong arm and pushed her almost to the other side of the train car. She looked thoroughly surprised. A white man sitting next to me -- who barely helped -- sheepishly looked at me as I scowled. I sucked my teeth and turned my head. The next rude one won't be so lucky. I hope all the Big Men of the world get their day with the oblivious parents of these youngsters.

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  81. @ M. Gibson

    Great points and great advice, thank you.

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  82. Lutsen

    Not sure if you're white, but think about it this way. A white person may disagree with using the n word, but do you think it is their place to tell a black person that he/she should not use that word?

    A white person may disagree with POCs spanking children or using other physical forms of conditioning, but do you think it is the white person's place to tell them how to raise their kids, when white parents do not face the same burdens of raising their children to survive in a white supremacist society (as the oppressed)?

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  83. @ Plaits:

    The next rude one won't be so lucky

    The next rude teenage girl? What will you do to her? Shove her even harder? I agree that the way you were treated has outrageous racist implications, but please be more conscious with respect to those other modes of oppression that sometimes intersect with race, such as (in this case) gender and age.

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  84. @blueshield

    I didn't read the blog over the weekend, so this is late, I know, but from my point of view, you were escalating the discussion with DrownedLotuses and refusing--crossing-your-arms refusing--to consider the points DL is making about YOUR white derailing behavior. Giving your email for an off-blog communication is like saying, "Let's step outside and settle this." You are using all kinds of derailing behaviors to try to get DL to accept your point or shut up. But you don't show any understanding of DL's point about your behavior. You asked, "Can we stop derailing the topic from where it should be now?" implying that you are both derailing, but you haven't owned up to it. Saying, "Let's agree to disagree" having made your point and still not getting another's is derailing as well.

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  85. "Grownup," get over yourself. If you had read my story instead of zeroing in on how you'd troll this site, perhaps you would have understood how it made me feel, like Big Man, to have my personhood ignored and disrespected by privileged white teens old enough to know better. It happens all the time, and God bless all the nannies of color who have to put up with this garbage every day. I can't count the number of times I've heard some white people chattering about "unruly" black teens on the Metro, yet the same behavior, if not worse, is perpetrated by white teens in other places as well. Yet we don't always have the luxury of reprimand as other whites do. You've got another thing coming if you think you can try to invalidate my story here; you aren't going to silence me or any of the others who've expressed themselves. And lest you forget, oh wise and grownup one, I was in the disabled person's seat. Go away, troll, and find another bone to pick elsewhere.

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  86. @bloglogger

    Thank you for the support!

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  87. Thanks for all the comments.

    Some folks questioned why I didn't "man up" or do something.

    What was there to do? I told the little girl she couldn't have a token, told her she couldn't get on the ride, and moved her hands when she started touching the horse.
    Was I supposed to give a strange child a spankng?
    As for the little girl's color, it was material to me, but like one poster said, it wouldn't be right to draw too many conclusion about white folks from one person's actions.

    I saw little black kids being pretty rude as well. None of them were as brazen as her, but they weren't angels. Besides, I thought it was an interesting anecdote about being black and about being a parent. How far do we go in today's world as far as disciplining other people's children? Do our standards change based on the color of the children? Why, why not?
    I've read stories about how Chuck E. Cheese is a breeding ground for violence because of the convergence of parents and children with different styles of living their lives and enforcing rules. It's an interesting place to visit.

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  88. Bingo

    Good question. I had spoken to my son about leaving. Before we rode the horse, he was aware that it was just about time to go. He tried to have a tantrum right there, and I had to stop that.

    Some folks don't believe in punishing their children, especially not physically. I'm not one of those people. I try to work with my son about choices and consequences. I give him choices, and explain the consequences, then I let him do his thing. My job is to raise a man who can think for himself, who doesn't lie to himself or others about his actions and who is always willing to take responsiblity for his own choices. And who loves God.
    So, I cut my son slack sometimes and sometimes I don't. I try not to be capricious, but Lord knows I fail since I'm only human. Thanks for an interesting comment that made me re-think how I handled that situation.

    Also, I think my son was largely oblivious to what happened. He was having way too much fun on that horse.

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  89. Imhotep

    Good questions. Like I said, my son was engrossed in riding the horse. I don't even know if he noticed the chick.

    I'm really quite patient with my son. I don't yell, I don't threaten randomnly.

    But, I do expect obedience from him. And his obedience is not dependent on what others do or don't do.

    So, honestly, I don't know how he viewed that situation. But, if he was old enought to ask me, I would explain to him why I handled things the way I did. He's my child and my ultimate responsibility. My love for him makes me more invested in his behavior and upbringing. That girl was a stranger. I'm not totally indifferent to her upbringing, but I'm nowhere near as invested as with my own child.

    I told the little there would be no tokens, I told her she couldn't ride. Then I ignored her. What more should I have done?

    Honestly, she wasn't the first child I allowed to get away with behavior that my child could never slide with while we were in Chuck E. Cheese. Several little black kids behaved in a manner that was disturbing, but the encounter with the white girl was a little different because of her skin color. I didn't spend a lot of time admonishing any of the children I saw misbehaving because I felt it wasn't worth the possible outcomes. But, I think making sure my son behaves is worth it.

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  90. Kate

    Good point. I was appalled when one of my friends told me she is the type of parent who takes her child to Chuck E. Cheese and just cuts him loose.

    I hate those parents.

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  91. Big Man said...
    "I saw little black kids being pretty rude as well. None of them were as brazen as her, but they weren't angels. Besides, I thought it was an interesting anecdote about being black and about being a parent. How far do we go in today's world as far as disciplining other people's children? Do our standards change based on the color of the children? Why, why not?"

    The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child” centers on cooperate responsibility, and how black people raised their children years ago. As to the exact origin of the African proverb, the writer on this Site states:

    "While it is interesting to seek provenance in regard to the proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' I think it would be misleading to ascribe its origin to a single source.... Let me give a few examples of African societies with proverbs which translate to 'It takes a village...': In Lunyoro (Banyoro) there is a proverb that says 'Omwana takulila nju emoi,' whose literal translation is 'A child does not grow up only in a single home.' In Kihaya (Bahaya) there is a saying, 'Omwana taba womoi,' which translates as 'A child belongs not to one parent or home.' In Kijita (Wajita) there is a proverb which says 'Omwana ni wa bhone,' meaning regardless of a child's biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to the community.

    If Miss Mabel saw you doing something you weren't supposed to be doin she would take a hand to you and then tell your mother. (I know first-hand) The entire black neighborhood took responsibility in how that child was raised. Living in a racist society again you had that fear of the child falling into the hands of white authority. So "raising that child right" was of pivotal concern. Parents took responsibility because whites expected it from us. When a black child acted up it was a reflection not only on the black parent but on the entire black community as well. We all felt the brunt then, and we feel the brunt now. Some of us have failed yes- and there are some parents who can get very touchy and outright indignant if you so much as speak to their child.

    But I think you handled this particular situation well and you should be commended. The stereotype of the big- angry, black buck and all that it entails made your situation untenable. White children have never truly been seen as a part of "Our village," hence the lack of moral freedom with regards to speaking to a "privileged other." There were repercussions then, and its safe to assume there might have been repercussion if you had acted in any other manner towards that white child.

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  92. @bloglogger

    So let me ask you then, did you find the escalation as it concerned the character of this particular little girl and her implied future to be appropriate or beneficial to the conversation in general? Since this was my one and only objection as I stated at least a half dozen times.

    "But you don't show any understanding of DL's point about your behavior. You asked, "Can we stop derailing the topic from where it should be now?" implying that you are both derailing, but you haven't owned up to it. Saying, "Let's agree to disagree" having made your point and still not getting another's is derailing as well."

    My belief was that the broader topic of white entitlement in children served the conversation better then speculation about this particular little girl.

    I understood that she meant she would never been able to explain her experiences with racism without the context of the white people involved in them. I agree with her that racism cannot be explained without the person perpetrating the act being a described part. My point was that speculation regarding this particular child with the information available wasn't going to generate a conversation that would have been valuable to the overall dialogue. Which ultimately became exampled by that distasteful statement that I ended up illustrating a short time later.

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  93. [I transferred this comment of Mike's here from another thread, where a conversation about this post was threatening to derail the discussion of that post. ~macon]

    MissCegenation said..

    "why should teaching white children about how to treat PoC be any different?"

    That question seems odd to me.Teaching my kids to respect elders and how to behave is just proper parenting.Sitting my six your old son down and telling him that Brandon across the street needs to be treated differently because he's black seems to me to be the wrong thing to do.Explaining White privilege to Roland would confuse him.Our neighbor hood is mixed and all the kids grow up playing with each other.All the kids behave the same way irregardless of race and I think they are growing up being very comfortable with race.Young children are naturally color blind and if they learn racism it's from their parents or they pick it up from school.One way parents teach racism to their children is to tell them that can't play with or to avoid POC.It seems to me that if that was the case with "white snowflake" she wouldn't have been comfortable addressing the man in the first place.Personally I would have been made uncomfortable if any 6 year old girl approached me like that.It's one thing when you deal with the kids you know in your neighborhood but different when someone you don't know approaches you.

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  94. @Mike

    a child might be somewhat "colorblind" to a certain extent (even though they know and see the differences between people; it's a fact of life). but i'm not necessarily talking just about "teaching Johnny not to be a racist." i'm talking about how white children learn very early about white privilege, and how to use it, just by watching their parents.

    WP can act on and benefit from white privilege for their entire lives, WITHOUT EVER SAYING OR DOING ANYTHING OVERTLY RACIST. that privilege is the flip-side of oppression. when one group loses something from racial (or gender, economic, etc.) inequality, the group in power gains something. children WATCH their parents enjoy the fruits of white privilege, and learn how to do the same with nary a word being spoken about it.

    that's the point about white privilege. it's taught--albeit silently--all of the time from white parent to white child.

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  95. As a WP cis/f born in the 1940s and raised in a lilywhite neighborhood, I appreciate the nuances the various voices have brought to this discussion about the 6-year-old white girl.

    I noticed 6-year-olds WGs like that when I was in high school. The ones who were sweet and compliant when their 40-ish white female teacher told them to do something, but were habitually rude to the 50-ish Black male custodian and positively snooty to the 40-ish Black female maid or babysitter the WG's momma had hired.

    It was clear to me at the time that they had learned how to treat Black adults differently from white adults by watching how their parents did that ... not the child's fault or responsibility, yet, but still rude, appalling. And dangerous, especially to the Black men the WGs were being rude to. In 1960 even worse than now.

    Today I have WG grandkids ages 9 and 11. Their parents are good white liberals with no money, little education, and too often too much attitude about lots of things. They live in a neighborhood that's about 50/50 Black/white. The parents have good friends who are PoC's (at least, to hear the parents tell it; I don't know what the friends think).

    My granddaughters would never have climbed up behind the Black child ... because they've been taught not to encroach on people's physical boundaries (no distinction as to race). But I have seen them speak to Black adult strangers differently from the way they speak to white adult strangers, with more assertiveness and less respect. They might easily have behaved that offensively to the Black father in this story. I have sometimes seen behavior I had to correct, and more often I have not known quite what was 'off' about what my WGs were doing.

    Thanks for this thread; it's opened my eyes to a lot about the transmission of racism and white privilege.

    This thread, and the one about 'getting too comfortable' and making inappropriate jokes, have opened my eyes about myself, too. I see I'm still capable of being "that" white friend, and of being oblivious to the hurt I've caused.

    Lots to think about there. Thanks for that.

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  96. Thanks for the post, and many of the comments. While I don't have kids, it's true that as a white woman I've never had to think about these things.

    And I think it's terrible that black parents have to raise their children to be extra-obedient/respectful because too much independence or sassiness might get them arrested or hurt or killed one day.

    I work in a bookstore with a toy zone, and one day I saw a little girl (she was Asian) wearing fairy wings, a princess hat, and holding a fairy wand, burning at top speed through the section on the tricycle. While I knew I should stop her, I just didn't want to... cause I admired her sass. I thought: This kid isn't going to let people push her around when she grows up. (Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.)

    I wish everyone were equally free to be sassy. But it's just not the case.

    Thanks again for the interesting discussion, and to Big Man for sharing.

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