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Beat Black Kids by Asadah Kirkland

"It’s Time to Stop Beating Black Kids!" This is Asadah’s message to parents, and it’s one that resonates loudly for me because my father’s motto, "spare the rod…"  So when I was asked to review Asadah Kirkland’s, Beat Black Kids, at first I hesitated. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back in time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to revisit my past. I just wasn’t sure.

                         Asadah Kirkland's, Beat Black Kids

As a child, I always thought I was being "disciplined," when in fact, I was beat! Okay. I said it. And according to Asadah, that’s the first step in healing yourself, by admitting what "it" was.  My father was a good man who ALWAYS wanted the best for his kids, so spankings/beatings was just one of his answers on how to raise "good kids."

And that’s all I will say about that.

But Asadah challenges us to examine how we, as blacks in America, were beaten, spanked, disciplined, etc. Beat Black Kids allows those of us from similar upbringings to finally put BEATINGS to bed. She makes it clear, in several accounts, that beatings were the way things happened because communication wasn’t happening in black homes. She also allows her readers to talk about it, by appearing on radio shows and hosting book discussions to help our folks to "get out," what has been trapped inside for so long. 

For me, I know my sisters and brothers knew that my father was serious about how we behaved, but what I didn’t know, after reading Beat Black Kids, is there are other ways to deal with the normal, everyday, kid stuff. Asadah also explains the "why" behind our parents’ methods of Samaria Graham"disciplining." But what’s most important, Asadah provides ANSWERS and activities to empower today’s parents on how to NOT beat our kids. 

It’s a chilling, yet a REAL, read! It’s also a MUST read if you want to better understand blacks in America. This is not to say that ALL blacks have been spanked, and/or beaten – call it what you want she says – but she very gingerly allows the readers to grieve their pasts, to better understand their futures.

I must also thank actress and visionary, Samaria Graham, who introduced me to this powerful author’s fine piece of work. She, too, has been an inspiration to me as I journey and learn more about authors of color who are making a change for all of US.


  1. Mayra Lazara Dole says:

    Amy, that was couragous of you to admit you were beaten. This looks like an important read.

  2. George Edward Stanley says:

    I agree, Amy, it was very courageous, and I’ve come to understand over the decades that it is we writers “admitting things” that starts dialogues and movements. Brava to Asadah! Brava to Amy! And, once again, brava to you, Mayra!

  3. Mayra Lazara Dole says:

    and Bravo to you, George! you’ve written more books than the average person has read! : D

  4. The Brain Lair says:

    I’ve often avoided certain books because they reminded me too much of a past I’d like to forget. But reading this article reminds me that reading about it may help me actually get past it and on to a brighter, more informed, future.

  5. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thank you, all! This book put me face-to-face with myself in ways I never expected, so the truth was ALL I could reveal. I would be disingenuous if I wrote anything less than that.

  6. I am going to look for this book. It looks interesting. There has to be a way to get through to our children. Enough with the beatings. They don’t really work. It just helps a frustrated parent out for the moment. I was beaten as well. I was shown NO mercy. Our parents get older and they selectively “forget” all the abuse and damage they have caused. I think beatings have been passed on from many generations ago. Slave masters beat us to break us and make us submit, so this behavior lived on. Parents think that beating kids solve problems, they don’t. They stop the problem for the minute, but it really doesn’t get to the “soul of the matter”…why the kid lies, why they stole chips from the store, why they didnt do homework, why they drank all the juice, why they wasted the soap, why they went outside without permission, why they disobeyed, why they talk back, why why WHATEVER…
    It’s time for change
    It’s time for healing…

  7. Amy Bowllan says:

    You must have lived in my home. I heard the same things, and until now, haven’t discussed it. Thanks for sharing your truths as well. We’re all on this path together…

  8. Monica Hayes says:

    I think we also have to engage the Black church in this discussion as well. Many encourage this abuse with their own tales of woe that they use as examples of how it used to be which encourages many parents who are looking for some affirmation that they’re doing the right thing. This needs to be a national discussion.

  9. Ooooh I am loving the sanity on this page! This topic is national and global because believe it or not, Black children are being beat daily for close to little defenses and more. I love your comment Kimberla about all those different manifestations of kids being beat. I challenge adults to check ourselves, our frustration, our anger and stop taking it all out on young people! We are here to teach and guide them. We are not here to have power over them. Let’s watch who they are and help shape who they going to become…Because they are going to become somebody!


    Beat Black Kids

  10. Yall know I meant “close to little ‘offenses'” WORD!

    LOVE YA!

  11. When I was younger my father spanked us, and I always cringe when I see black children being disciplined by their parents. When I was little I used to mention it causually to my white friends and they were like ‘what’s a spanking’. As I got older, I noticed that white parents and black parents discipline way differently and (in my opinion) white parents tolerate more from their kids (esecially rudeness and talking back, if I ever talked back to my parents we would get smacked for sure! My white friends’ parents either ignore it, or smile (‘Isn’t my daughter/son cute’).

  12. Hey Ari!

    I overstand the frustration of watching how we discipline our children. Being sick and tired of it, I wrote the book so we have something to work from. We can do better!