Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect black children from the streets, incarceration, encounters with racism, or worse. However, the consequences of this widely accepted approach to child-rearing are far-reaching and seldom discussed. Dr. Stacey Patton’s extensive research suggests that corporal punishment is a crucial factor in explaining why black folks are subject to disproportionately higher rates of school suspensions and expulsions, criminal prosecutions, improper mental health diagnoses, child abuse cases, and foster care placements, which too often funnel abused and traumatized children into the prison system.
Weaving together race, religion, history, popular culture, science, policing, psychology, and personal testimonies, Dr. Patton connects what happens at home to what happens in the streets in a way that is thought-provoking, unforgettable, and deeply sobering. Spare the Kids is not just a book. It is part of a growing national movement to provide positive, nonviolent discipline practices to those rearing, teaching, and caring for children of color.
What People Are Saying About the Book:
“Spare the Kids is a necessary book. Drawing from history, popular culture, and cutting edge research, Stacey Patton makes a careful and persuasive argument against the practice of hitting children. Without condescension or unnecessary moralizing, this book will challenge your most deeply held assumptions and refute your strongest arguments. More importantly, it challenges us to develop a healthier and more humane approach to raising and loving our children.”
— Marc Lamont Hill, author of Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond
“The impact on child-rearing among so many black families of Stacey Patton’s Spare the Kids may well prove as powerfully corrective as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was upon the acceptance of chattel slavery.”
— David Levering Lewis, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for biographies on W. E. B. Du Bois
“Patton brilliantly demonstrates the ways that corporal punishment is indelibly linked to white supremacy, and a continuation of the systemic logic that undergirds it. In that sense, her work is less moralizing—something we already have more than enough of—than a structural analysis of systemic injustice and how that injustice has been transmitted directly, and often brutally, onto the bodies of children.”
— Tim Wise, author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son
“Patton’s book is the most forceful case against corporal punishment ever made. Rooted in a deep understanding of the historical devaluation of black life, informed by the best science on trauma and violence exposure as predictors of future violence, and written in a fierce, urgent tone, if you turn these pages, you will stop beating your child. Ending the legacy of the master’s lash in our schools and rejecting the preacher’s admonition against sparing the rod in our homes may be the surest way for parents to show black children that their lives matter.”
— Khalil Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern America and professor at Harvard Kennedy School