Dear Black Parents…

Black Parents,

Not all of you, just the ones embarrassing their children online. Can you stop posting videos of you disciplining your kids? We get it. You’re a tough parent. You don’t mess around. You’re committed to your child being a productive, law abiding citizen. You’re willing to sacrifice, and demonstrate tough love. You don’t take any shit. You don’t make empty threats. You go the extra mile when it comes to the welfare of your child. But, why does the world need to see it? Isn’t the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing your best to ensure your child grows up to be the best reward enough? Why do you need 1M YouTube views, 3.2k Facebook likes, and 878 retweets to validate your parenting?

Or is there an ulterior motive?

There has to be.

See, when I, a 33 year old, childless, woman sees your video, I have one question: what were you not doing before that it got to this point, where you had to go to this extremity to discipline your child?

Growing up, I feared my mother more than Jesus, Satan, or Zeus. I feared my mother more than I feared Skeletor, Ursula, or Gargamel (child of the 80s). I feared my mother more than I feared snakes, roaches, or rodents. I feared my mom more than the creepy guy in the white van, offering me candy to come play. My mother was The Enforcer, and she did not fuck around. And she had no problem letting her wrath be felt. That fear kept me in line throughout my adolescent years, and non-pregnant throughout college. Because, I truly believed, whatever punishment my mother could and would dole out, would be worse than death.  

Don’t get me wrong, that didn’t mean I was a perfect child. I recall getting caught shoplifting from our corner store. After receiving a call from the store owner, my mother beat me so badly with the telephone cord. I still have flashbacks of that beating throughout our apartment. Yes, throughout the apartment. It was a traveling beating. Though my mom was overweight, she P90Xed dat ass throughout the apartment. Guess who has never stolen since?

Do you know what she didn’t do? She didn’t broadcast my indiscretion to the world…or even to her friends…or extended family. Why? Because she was embarrassed. She was embarrassed by my behavior, and at her own shortcoming as a parent. This was a private matter for our family, not the world.  

Yes, I agree it takes a village to raise a child. Yes, that store owner was part of the village, because though he did call the police, I was not arrested (I was 10), nor was I let off with a warning. My father, after providing a verbal beating (his words were just as painful as that telephone cord) marched me to the store and forced me to apologize for my sticky fingers. In addition, I was instructed to ask the store owner what I could do to show my remorse for my transgression. Please note, the only parties involved in the punishment were the parties involved in the incident. This was not a spectator’s event, a “how-to discipline your child” seminar, or an opportunity for my mom to showboat her Floyd Mayweather parenting skills. This was real life.  

I know, there was no YouTube or Facebook or Twitter or Vine or Instagram or whatever back then, so this doesn’t apply. Right? I see your point. But, you know what we did have? Parents who realized their children’s behavior were a direct reflection on their parenting and morals and values. We had parents who were too embarrassed to post all their family’s dirty laundry for the world to see, and judge.  

While I commend tough love, discipline, values, morals, and a strong upbringing, can we stop with the videos? I understand. You want kudos for all the love and attention you put into your children. You want to read the Facebook comments commending your creativity in punishment selection. But remember, this was your decision to have children. [Insert Chris Rock’s “Niggas vs. Black People.”] You signed up for this responsibility. If you truly need accolades for your parenting skills, maybe you should consider thinking of your kids as a long term investment. You’re going to have to wait a while to see your ROI. Hopefully, that private scolding session you and your son had will show its returns when he walks across the stage, diploma in hand.  




3 thoughts on “Dear Black Parents…

  1. Great post! I wish everyone would read this. Can’t believe somebody’s child killed herself right after this came out. Thank you…

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