Author of 'Beating Black Kids' Encourages Alternatives to Spanking

Asadah Kirkland authored Beating Black Kids to encourage Black parents, in particular, to explore alternative methods to disciplining children.

She sat down on a New York area talk show to discuss her work and made some interesting points.

On the book's title:

In our culture, we act like its a cultural norm--like this is what you're supposed to do. I don't think there's a Black comedian out who doesn't laugh about the issue of how we've been beat. But it clearly comes from being slaves in America. Some people say I'm not African American, ok, colonialism. It all stems from being beaten and disciplined with violence, then we internalize it. You heard people back in the day say, "Well, I had to beat them so master wouldn't get him." Today's correlation is, "Well, I have to beat him or the police will get him."

On what we're missing when we spank:

I mean we can look at how we interact with each other as adults. When we have differences, we don't just start up and fight each other. No we communicate and look at each other's viewpoints, and we can do the same thing with children. But the first step is to value what a child has to say. And that's where you get that "children should be seen and not heard" mentality, and it creates this chasm between adults and children where you really don't get what they're experiencing, how they're feeling. When you strike that's the memory you're leaving in our children, and we just have to deal with that because our children have the memories of violence from the people that love them and they're not equipped to handle things in the world well.

Watch the full interview below:

Learn more about Asadah's work here.

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or


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