"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.
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 "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.