Archive for the ‘Children’ Category


I can't breathe

Last Saturday was one of the most amazing experiences of my life on earth to date. I decided I wanted to be a part of history and march along fellow supporters to end this domestic terroristic sub-culture that tosses out cases of black men getting killed with no penalty or punishment of the police officer. Even now there are details behind the shooting and killing of Mike Brown that the prosecutor suppressed that directly conflicts with the narrative that suggests Darren Wilson’s life was in danger at the time of the shooting.

Man in chains

The march began at Washington Square Park, I got there around 3pm because I got off at the wrong stop and missed my scheduled train into Penn Station from LI. I remembered being nervous I was going to miss the crowd, but when I finally got into the city and arrived at West 4rth street I felt relieved. I could see large pockets of people gathering and soon saw the protests signs and heard the megaphones and the chants against racism and support for Eric Garner and Mike Brown.

Once I was inside the park I saw different organizations and that were there for this day. Among the most vocals were members from, Answer, National Liberty Alliance, 100 Blacks for Law Enforcement. I also bought a newspaper called Revolution,  which covered protests from NY to Mexico and all around the globe. I was only in the park for about ten minutes gathering newspapers and fliers when the crowd was moving toward the streets. It was there that I saw the awesome power of our civil liberties at work.


What was silence, turned into chants organically into the crowd that crescendo into overwhelming applause and cheers. “Hey hey, Ho ho, these racist cops have got to go!” “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” “Show me what democracy looks like, This is what democracy looks like!” “No justice, No peace!” “Eric Garner, Michael Brown,shut it down, shut it down!” I could see the faces of the onlookers and police by the barricades. Some were there just to see what the fuss was about, others showed support on their way to work or wherever they needed to be. Often they chanted with us and gave more power to the message that #Alllivesmatter even if the court system doesn’t see it that way.

The feeling was incommunicable in words. There was an inseparableness that I felt that I only experienced online until this point. I’ve seen past rally’s and protests and knew people of all economic and racial backgrounds were there. I even knew about the global support for Ferguson and Eric Garner, with the different hashtags #crimingwhilewhite, #blacklivesmatter, #Icantbreathe, but to witness first hand and be a part of the warm fellowship left me in state of awe.

I was surprised by this generation’s resilient and remonstrance spirit. All I have been told and thought is since first hearing about Michael Brown, is that this was gonna wash over America and end in a another church hymn with the packaging of we shall overcome during a pastor’s congregation meeting. This generation, to me now shows the spark of the young Malcom X’s, Martin Luther King’s, Cesar Chavez, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Stonewall Inn protests for Gay Rights. I was also humbled by the compassion of the buildings and businesses on the streets we marched on. Many of them held signs and banners that gave this movement life, “#BlackLivesMatter” and the diversity among the crowd couldn’t have been a better representation of what this country should stand for more often.

I remember feeling like since we’re all here for once cause, then I surely can stand up for another cause, even if it was not my own. I don’t have to be gay to stand alongside someone who is and fight for them. I don’t have to be an immigrant to know that they also deserve to be treated better in this country. During the marching and chanting, it become a jovial occasion, realizing the power of force and the message we are sending around the world and to Washington and every political office in this country, that change is coming, so either help us do it or get thrown out of office for someone who will.

I saw mother pushing baby strollers and fathers holding their children on their heads so they could see the signs and helicopters passing over us. I saw old, young, any color of race and nationality and sexual orientation. I saw some Latino sisters and brothers chanting along with us in Spanish and with a sign written in Spanish, which I couldn’t make out entirely, but I did see one part I recognized #Alllivesmater!

There were moments of silence, but the energy never wavered, even after hours of walking and I really didn’t even know where we were going, but I wasn’t going to stop. A gentleman finally told we were heading for the first precinct. “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now”, “I Can’t Breathe” were also very powerful outcries in the crowd. One man who introduced himself as David asked to interview me during the march. He asked a couple of questions about me and why I was there to support and if I have any personal stories that fit the profile of being discriminated against. I told him the story of being pulled over at 2am for a broke license plate light, that ended in a 35 dollar ticket. I didn’t know about a license plate light to know I needed one at the time. I know it wasn’t a story that ended in a violent beating with night sticks or even getting shot over it, but I felt they pulled me over because I was driving while black through a prominently rich white neighborhood on my way home from work.

By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, cold and had been holding myself from going to the bathroom for almost four hours, but I didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t until I reminded myself that I had to work later that night, that I finally trotted back to the subway to make it for my shift. I don’t know if anyone took pics of me, since I didn’t have a camera phone, but I recorded audio of the event on my phone. I plan to go to at least two more protests this year. My agenda this year now to support the fight against climate change and a wage increase.



A few months ago I read an article about the increasing number of African-American abortions in NYC. In 2012 there were actually more black babies killed from abortion than there were born. Honestly, when I read the article I thought, “That’s crazy!”, but after a day or so I forgot about the article and went about life without too much concern about it. I would say… Well, if a woman chooses to have an abortion, why not. The issue is the 31,328 babies aborted and 24,758 babies born. The number represents 42.4% of all the abortions in NYC according to the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. 6.570 more abortions than live births than for black babies.  Hispanic women came in second with 22,917  abortions, which makes up 31% of total abortions in NYC. That’s 73% of abortions in NYC in 2012 were either Black or Hispanic.


Ever since high school, I remember standing up for a women’s right to choose on the issue of having a baby. I always saw those, who say they are pro-life as cruel and forcefully holding their views and judgments on others. Now, I really don’t care when life begins at what stage of pregnancy, I still firmly believe in a woman’s right to make decisions over her own body. Where it gets into deeper waters for me is if having an abortion is something that is subjected subconsciously into minorities more than other races by society as a whole. Having a baby is deemed socially unacceptable if you’re a single minority female.

A more sinister plot behind telling minority women not to have babies is the theory of Eugenics. The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities ofthe human species or a human population, especially by such meansas discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects orpresumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics)or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritabledesirable traits (positive eugenics). This idea was created by Francis Galton, who is the half cousin of Charles Darwin. He came up with the concept of Eugenics to cleanse the gene pool of the impure. The insane, mentally unstable, handicapped and the racially superior groups he called Nordic Race or Aryan race. 

Now if we could fast forward from the beginning of Eugenics to know ya’ll a devised plot to eliminate, destroy the black and other minorities through what looks like to me is volunteer genocide. When you look at the figures I posted in the first paragraph you see clearly those figures are not making sense. The term used for African genocide is Maafa  in I saw a film that showed a clear link from planned parenthood to Eugenics. After watching the film I learned about the calculated killings of blacks and sterilization of minority women for population control purposes. Blacks and Hispanics were seen as inferior compared to the Nordic Race and whites should never intermingle with them or their children will share these inferior traits.

According to Black there have been 16 million abortions from 1973 to present day. This outnumbers death in the black community by AIDS, violent crimes, Cancer, Accidents and Heart Disease combined! Blacks are only 13% of the population,but underwent 36% of all abortions in the US. About 1,876 abortions per day in the US come from black women. Those 16 million more lives added to our current 36 million would tally up to 52 million people in our current economy. This would have given the black community an enormous boost in economical, financial and social power at our disposal, which is exactly what some people do not want happening.

Not On Our Side-

I would’ve not believed this plot to weaken our race, but if you look at it in terms of numbers and stats it puts things into simplicity. 77% of the US population are Whites, 13% are Blacks, 16% are Latino. Blacks and Hispanics are the only racial group that is close seconds to the number of whites in this country. Ironically, they are also the groups who share the most abortions in this country. Now, this is not some sort of conspiracy theory that they have more abortions. The part that is mind-boggling to me is the governments outcry for more babies to be born to help keep programs like social security and other federally assisted programs afloat. The US birth rate has hit a record low, according to the US News and World Report. Women in higher socioeconomic classes and top positions are having less babies and focusing more on their careers. Married woman are also having less babies as well. It seems more newlyweds that are bogged down by debt of school loans, mortgages, car payments and other monthly bills as having issues trying to keep up with the traditional get married, get a house , have a family ideology as their parents and grandparents. In fact, more couples are holding off marriages and children to focus on other things.

In other countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, Russia and Taiwan they are also seeing drops in the birth rate as well. One solution in the US for the birth rate problem and it only applies to the affluent is having a surrogate mother. These mothers are implanted with the donor’s egg and another’s sperm. Surrogacy is very pricey and can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and has a moderate chance of rejection by the surrogate’s body. In one article a procedure had to be done multiple times before the baby was able to handle the pregnancy. Still, according to SART in 2011 only 1,593 babies born were from surrogates.

It just feels like if the birth rate is such a problem in America and other countries and we truly wanted to sustain our economy with more children to become more workers and producers in the future, then we would give some more incentive for minority women to have babies since these are the groups that more likely to have abortions. I truly believe it is not the intentions of the US or any other government to promote keeping their babies since they are not of Aryan descent. Yes, racism is still alive and well and not going anywhere.

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Lady Justice

“With Liberty and Justice for all”, It’s these words that necessitate the constitution that is the embodiment of the American spirit and gives us the right to live freely with the same level of humanity and law. So why does it today we no longer uphold this tradition that has been around for centuries. If you remember the plot of Shawshank Redemption when the main protagonist’s character was set up to go to prison to work in the jail. Picture that same scenario all across the country. It’s seems that the justice system in this country has become one sided and truly works for the fortunate and not less fortunate. If you don’t believe me how many bank CEO’s do you know went to jail for the financial crisis during the recessions beginning.


For every Bernie Madoff, there are hundreds of lower income individuals who fight against a system that entraps them into a cycle of prosecution without enough just cause and receive a sentence before the ink dries that are handwritten by the arresting officer. If you look at the stats since 2007 spending on correctional facilities outweighed public defense, $14 dollars for every $1 dollar spent on public defense. According to the National Association of Criminal Lawyers a public defender on average has 7 minutes in New Orleans to review a case and cities like Atlanta have 59 minutes on average to look over the preliminaries in the case. It boils down to there are not enough public defenders and not enough money to help the poor and unprivileged, so they fall by the waist side and expected to pick themselves up.95% of cases met by public defenders are plead guilty simply because the resources and time simply are there. It’s hard to fight for a defendant when the same systems outspends you 3.5 billion to 300 million in favor of the police and facilities.


If you’re not convinced yet that the deck is stacked think about this. The US is only 5% of the world’s population,but we have 25% of the world’s prison population. 1 in 31 adults have been under some form of correctional control. African Americans have it worse than a lot of other ethnic groups. They make up 1 million out of the 2.3 million incarcerated population. To grasp the incentives prisons get for inmates, correctional facilities receive $70 billion a year and these are the numbers back in 2008. Those numbers have absolutely gone up.

Some socio-economic groups don’t have to worry about jail time as much as others. For individuals like Ethan Couch, who is a 16 year old boy who was given 10 years probation for killing four people and paralyzing one after a joyride gone wrong. He got such a soft sentencing because of  affluenza or believing that this kid is so spoiled and rich he doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong. My question is, doesn’t this make him a borderline psychopath and should be psychoanalyzed. Another case is Robert H. Richards  IV who was convicted of raping his 3 year old girl and sexually abusing his 19 month son at the same time. This was only brought to light since Richards ex wife brought a civil suit against him for the abuse of the son after the case of the daughter got such a light sentence. Oh!!! I forgot to mention Richards did not serve one day in jail, since the judge determined he would not farewell in jail. Truly the justice system has been up for sale for sometime now.

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child labor

I saw a report on the Jon Stewart “The Daily Show” about child workers on a Tobacco farm. As all interviews with the show it was humorous and raised the question why is this allowed to be in the US. It started me on a research project to find other industries if any that allow children under the legal age to work that do not have to abide by the child labor laws of this country. Here are some of the industries that I have found.

Family Businesses – If you work for you parents of other family members then you don’t have to obey the same laws for child labor. This can be harmful since working 20 hours a week for an underage minor may not apply to some places. Also family businesses don’t have to offer health care services like other businesses have to offer now. They don’t have to pay social security tax, federal unemployment tax, or medicare tax on the wages of its minor family members. The Fair Labor Standards Act also doesn’t mean anything to family businesses.

Other Occupations- The FLSA doesn’t apply for children who work in the entertainment industry such as performers in radio, television,and theater. Children under the age of 14 can work in this industry and also deliver newspapers,babysit or work at home.

Agriculture Farming In some state girls and boys as young as twelve years old can work in the industry of agriculture picking fruits and vegetables. I thought the days of having children working on the farm was over, but in some states like Hawaii children can pick a coffee as young as 10 years old. To add onto this 10 state and the Federal gov’t set no cap on the number of hours per day and per week children can work on the farm. They are also paid $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days of employment, but hand-harvesters of all ages are paid by the numbers of containers filled. Teens ages 15-17 working on farms were four times more likely to die on the job rather than teens who worked in other industries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Missouri director of Labor Standards there used to be random inspections to make sure the laws were upheld. Now inspections only occur after a complaint is raised.

Tobacco Farming- Can an 11-year-old work in the US? In most places the answer is an obvious nobut in Snow Hill, North Carolina Jessica Rodriguez spent five summer six days a week working on a tobacco farm. “It was hard. It was definitely hard,” she remembers. “We had a good boss lady — she bought us lunch every day. But remember, you’re sitting there eating lunch with tobacco gum all over your hands.” They worked 12 hour days from 6am or 7am to 6pm and 7pm at night. They work under harsh conditions and when researchers interviewed 141 of the children between the ages of 7 through 17 and found that almost 75% of them reported symptoms such as vomiting, nauseaheadachedizziness, skin rashes and burning eyes. They also suffer from acute nicotine poisoning, green tobacco sickness or GTS. “About half the kids we interviewed said they saw tractors come through the fields where they were working, or nearby fields, spraying pesticides,” Wurth said. “And the children said they could smell and taste and feel the chemical spray as it drifted toward them.”

U.S. Labor laws, she says, do not protect these kids.

According to the report:

— Children as young as 12 can work unlimited hours on any size farm as long as they have a parent’s permission.

— Children of any age can work in any job on a farm owned by their parents.

— There is no minimum age for children to work on small farms.

— At 16, children working on farms can do jobs considered hazardous by the Department of Labor. Children working outside agriculture must be at least 18 to do hazardous work.

The Federal Youth Employment Laws in Farm Jobs, while setting standards for youth employment in agriculture, does not specifically address tobacco farms. But the Department of Labor released a statement addressing the Human Rights Watch report:

A 16-year-old worker harvests tobacco on a farm in Kentucky.
A 16-year-old worker harvests tobacco on a farm in Kentucky.

“Our job at the Department of Labor is to ensure that agricultural employers keep their workers, regardless of age, safe on the job, housed in safe and sanitary residential facilities, and pay them their legally-required wages,” the government agency said. “The Department especially takes seriously its role in ensuring that employers operate in compliance with all appropriate laws and rules with respect to young workers.”

“We’ve concluded that any tasks where kids come into direct contact with tobacco plants or dried tobacco leaves pose hazards to their health,” Wurth said. “We want companies to make clear that kids cannot work in jobs where they are exposed to these dangers and then to communicate this to the growers and their supply chains to make sure the growers know these rules and follow them.”

The Obama administration tried to make changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, but they were met with fierce opposition by ranchers, farmers and farm-state legislators. Under pressure they withdrew their proposals and promised not to bring them up again until after Obama’s second term.  Some congressmen like Lucille Roybal-Allard and other representatives want to reintroduce the CARE Act, which would prohibit children under 14 from working. It would also the age to 18 yrs old for legally working on a farm and ban 17 dangerous tasks from being performed. “For over a decade, we’ve been trying to spread the word that a 12-year-old can work unlimited hours as long as school is not in session, under harsh conditions in the fields — and nobody seems to care,”.

Human Rights Watch shared its report with 10 companies that buy tobacco grown in the United States.

“Nine of the 10 companies responded and all are concerned about child labor, but none of them have policies that specifically protect children from the hazards we identified in our research,” Wurth said.

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Brain Power


Schools are losing the war on our kids education. I mean with more and more cutbacks who and teachers seem to be the blame why little Billy or Natalie is not learning. More so some kids don’t learn the same way as other kids do. Some kids are visual, where they learn by seeing the content, while others learn by repetition and some seem to learn with little effort as possible. Some individuals can learn a music note and learn to replicate it just by hearing one note. Myself, I learn by reading articles and then also by repetition. I’m never learned just by hearing a line or a note or even by seeing.

In an article for wired magazine a teacher Sergio Juarez Correa was inspired a new teaching method he learned from another professor in the UK at the University of New Castle. The method seemed unorthodox, Sugata Mitra a professor of educational technology introduced kids in India to computers and without any instruction the kids were able to teach themselves. What they learned was quite amazing, Correa, who taught in the border of Mexico knew he was onto something.

Sugata Mitra discovered his method back in 1999 where he found that kids learned themselves how to turn on the computer and what it does all while Mitra watched in amazement. Mitra put together a study and published it in 2010 in the city of Kalikuppam, a village in southern India. With a group of 10 to 14 year olds were shown Mitra’s didactic methods and then he left the room. Over the course of 75 days the children learned how to use the computer. Mitra then gave the kids an exam on molecular biology after which they got one in four right, but with the help of another party they were getting every other questions right. “If you put a computer in front of children and remove all other adult restrictions, they will self-organize around it,” Mitra says, “like bees around a flower.”

Amazingly enough Mitra won a 1 million dollar grant from TED to keep at his work. He is now working with seven schools where five are in India and two are in the UK. There will be no teachers, or curriculum, or separation by age just six or more computers and someone to look after them. Mitra also plans to hire retired British teachers who will appear from time to time via skype to help encourage kids to look into their own thoughts and ideas and pursue all curiousness.

Back in 2009 another study done by scientists at the University of Louisville and MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive  Sciences conducted a study that took 48 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The kids were given a toy that could squeak, play notes and reflect images and other things as well. One set of kids was given the toy and told about one aspect of the toy, while the other group of kids were nothing about the toy at all. It seems that the group of kids who weren’t any prior information about the toy found an average of six things they would do with the toy while the first group only found about four in all. It seems that when you let a child find out for themselves, they were more likely to find solutions. “The science is brand-new, but it’s not as if people didn’t have this intuition before,” says coauthor Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

This way of thinking traces back to Socrates. The way we are going is not working for us. According to the testing service ACT almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,”from those who graduate high school in 2013. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out 148 developed and developing nations in quality in math and science instruction. To put that in perspective were behind Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France and Estonia just to name a few.  “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. 30 years later “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

Alternate ways of learning include a method created by Dr. Maria Montessori where she believed the kids were empty slates  and kids learned naturally and had very absorbent minds capable of self-directed learning. She developed a curriculum where the kids could spend long periods of time concentrating. She was against the traditional ways of learning, believing that the structured lessons halted this concentration and slowed the learning process. She opened a school in Tarrytown,NY in 1911 in the NY times wrote “Yet this is by no means a school for defective children or tubercular children or children who are anemic. The little pupils in the big sunny classroom at Tarrytown are normal, happy, healthy American children, little sons and daughters of well-to-do suburban residents.” Even today the Montessori method is used within 5,000 schools and still shows kids developing better social and academic skills than traditional academic methods. Google founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page are students of the Montessori method.

Rudolph Steiner also sought out new ways of learning for children. Steiner was influenced by Goethe and Jean Piaget where there were 3 seven-year periods of child development. The Steiner curriculum consisted of 12 years teaching kids to prepare ” for living” with the emphasis on creative expression and social and spiritual values. His school became the largest school in Germany, he believed the first 7 years of a child’s life was  period for being imitative and sensory based learning and therefore noncognitive learning was best at this period. Kids during this period were taught to interact with their surroundings. From age 7-14 Steiner focused on creativity and imagination, where children learn foreign languages, eurythmy, an expressive dance developed by Steiner and other performing arts. By age 14 students were ready for more structured environments that are call for social responsibility. Despite criticisms of religious teaching in the schools by 1974 there were more than 800 schools teaching the Waldorf method.

The Harkness method forms around a large oval table to is the focal point of the classroom that uses the Harkness method. Edward Harkness, who was a philanthropist and oil magnate developed this method where students sit around the table and talk about different subjects from calculus to history to English in detail. The idea is to take away the seated rows and teachers lecturing to students and keep on point. The lessons are never the same and this helps teachers with burnout. In the year 1930 Harkness gave a multi-million dollar donation to Philips Exeter Academy which was a private school. He gave the money on the terms some money be spent on a new way of educating the students of the school. The school was able to hire 26 new teachers which resulted in more intimate class settings with fewer students. This was important for the Harkness method works best with 15 or fewer students per class. The classes are now small enough so that the shy or slow individual will not be submerged,” Exeter principal Dr. Lewis Perry told the New York Times in the early years of the program. “The average boy, similarly, finds his needs cared for. In short, the Harkness plan is best defined as an attitude. It is a new approach to the problem of getting at the individual boy.”

In the first three years the method shown a 6% decrease in failing for the students which was excellent. The kids were learning and being in such close quarters, they shared their ideas with their group of ten. Students also learned speaking skills and respect for others as well. Studies have shown this method increases chances of memory retention a recall, even though the Harkness method never gained traction in public schools.

Reggio Emilia is an approach used for kids 3 to 6. The method is named after the city in northern Italy, where a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi founded a new way of teaching post World War II. The first Reggio Emilia school opened in 1945,but it was until 1991 that the method had the momentum to cultivate a following in the US. An article in Newsweek called the Diana preschool in Reggio Emilia among the best early childhood institutions in the world. In the Reggio Emilia method parents are crucial in taking an active role in the child’s early education.  With no set lesson plans and a setting designed to feel like home the curriculum is also flexible all to help the child learn in a laxed setting. The growth is measured by the student not the curriculum also art supplies and art teacher are also a key factor in the development. Teachers often keep extensive documentation of a child’s development, including folders of artwork and notes about the stories behind each piece of art.

“It’s about exploring the world together and supporting children’s thinking rather than just giving them ready-made answers,” said Louise Boyd Cadwell, who was an intern at two Reggio Emilia schools in Italy in the early ’90s and then wrote a book about the teaching method. “Reggio Emilia is about full-blown human potential and how you support that in both intellectual and creative terms.”

Founded in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts Sudbury schools got their name from the Sudbury Valley School. Sudbury schools operate under individuality an democracy and take both principles very seriously. In Sudbury school students have complete control of what, and how they learn, even how they are evaluated if they are evaluated. A weekly school meeting votes on school rules, school budgeting matters, staff members being rehired and other matters related to the school. Every student gets a vote and every vote counts. The Sudbury philosophy is that the students are capable and able to assume a level of responsibility and making decisions for themselves. If they are wrong, they deal with the consequences. Sudbury schools believe students are inherently motivated to learn and use this ideology to defend not trying to get the teachers to develop new ways of learning. Sudbury schools have similarities with “free schools” that gained popularity in the 1970’s where students are not divided by age. The old students usually mentor the younger ones. The annual tuition for the Sudbury Valley School is $6,450 dollars.


For many parents and other authority figures there is a long debate over whether children should or should not be beaten as a form of discipline. The question is also does the child benefit in the long run? For my wife and I we do differ in our parenting approach about this issue. I really don’t see the bad side to spanking or hitting a child as long as it’s not excessive and restrained and the child is made aware of why you did what you did. My mother took the same approach with me, if I did something bad I would get a spanking and then afterwards she would sit me down(if I could sit) and explain to me why I was disciplined the way I was. My wife on the other hand was not brought with her parents spanking her so to her hitting is just another form of child abuse she doesn’t condone. I wanted to see what the experts say and if there are other ways that have been proven affective to discipline a child.

The Argument for-

One stat I found interesting is that 90% of parents say they beat or at least have hit their child even though they say they don’t want to. One thing I can say is the negative phantasm is that if you even say YES I hit my child when they act up it’s like you admitted that you worship the devil and those who you know see you as a archfiend of terror instead of a caring nurturing parent. Also people don’t want to admit that they beat their children, because their afraid social services will take their child away or make surprise visits. While the population of parents who think spanking is necessary fell from 94 to 70% over 90% admit to actually spanking their children.Today’s do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do attitude toward spanking is nothing short of disingenuous, says the Rev. Eugene Rivers, a Boston-based activist who admits his own views on corporal punishment have evolved. “Spanking is yet another serious issue for which we’ve allowed ourselves to set different standards for what we claim we believe,” he says. “People are saying: ‘We’re modern now. We’re smarter now. We don’t believe in this.’ But behind closed doors, they still do it.”

A psychologist and professor at Michigan’s Calvin College Marjorie Gunnoe looked at surveys of over 200 teenagers and found that in those who have been spanked between the ages of 2- 6 years old performed slightly better academically and got along better with peers than those children who were not spanked. In 2007 Kathleen Wolf that would have made Massachusetts the first state to ban spanking at home. The bill died due to public outrage and resistance from citizens advocate for the right for personal privacy and to use whatever disciplinary tactics that are legal. Another college professor studied data on 11,000 families and found that 89% of the black parents spanked their kids, which is more than any other racial group that was studied. Alvin Poussaint a professor of psychiatry in African-American studies feels this spanking culture has deep roots in slavery.“It is ingrained in so many black people to believe that without physical force, their children will not turn out right,” . The same study showed that 80% of Hispanics, 79% of whites and 73% of Asian Americans spank their kids.

The Argument Against

An article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states a new analysis that used 20 years of research pointing to the evidence that spanking children on a long-term basis can disrupt long-term development. “We find children who are physically punished get more aggressive over time and those who are not physically punished get less aggressive over time,” says Joan Durrant, the article’s lead author and a child clinical psychologist and professor of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba.They go on to say that only 80 studies out of the thousands that have been researched show the effects of physical abuse in a positive light.

They go on to say that children that are spanked may feel depressed and devalued and their sense of self-worth may suffer. Plus punishments that use spanking or other forms of physical discipline may end up backfiring because it may encourage lying in order to avoid punishment. There have been links to physical punishment and mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, depression and anxiety. There is neuroimaging evidence that suggests that physical punishment may alter parts of the brain that we rely on for IQ tests, likelihood of substance abuse, emotion and stress regulation.

In 1979 Sweden was the first of 32 countries to outlaw physical discipline of children which includes, Europe, Costa Rica, Israel, Tunisia and Kenya to name a few of them.

Neither the U.S. nor Canada has gotten on board. “Whenever I mention the law, there is an assumption that this is government telling me how to raise my child,” says Durrant. “[But in Sweden] they see it as a way to make sure children get the best start possible in life.” In Sweden new parents are given support groups and information about developmental stages instead of using spanking as a form of discipline. “When children see someone resolve conflict with aggression, they are more likely to learn that behavior,” says Durrant. “Two-year-olds are the most aggressive people in the world. They don’t understand the impact of their behavior, and they can’t inhibit themselves. So the more a child sees someone resolving conflict with aggression, the more aggressive they become.”

Alternatives to Spanking-

For those of you who are not into spanking at all and your among the 10% who have never spanked your child or even if you want another way to discipline your child then you may want to take notes. Among the most popular ideas is called “Time Out” in which you isolate the child in a safe area of the house or home. Typically the child is to remain cut off for each minute of age, example, my oldest is four years old, so I have tried time outs before and she remains in time out for four minutes. Another way is to let them know their actions have consequences. The hard part about this one is if you have young children, they may not understand what they did was wrong or they may not understand your explanation. One way they say that is effective is to custom fit the solution to your child. For a child who is always losing something may need a reminder system in place to help them. Also talking to your pediatrician may help tailor your discipline tactic to your child and what your comfortable with.

Other methods of discipline include the Incompatible Alternative Principle which gives the child something to do instead of misbehaving. For example “Help me pick out what cereal you want” while grocery shopping or help me with picking out these oranges. Talk about the child positively to others is another tactic, honestly parents should be doing this anyway!!! The Positive Closure Principle at the end of the day remind the child that they are special and loved. Help them find something special about the day that is good and what the next day lies ahead. The one I have used in the past and works for me is the “Eye Level Principle” which is when you get down to the child’s eye level and speak to them softly. I use more of a stern voice, but the tactic is the same.

One thing I thought about someone brought to my attention is using some of the same drills and discipline tactics that the military and other authority enforcements use. No I don’t mean do one hundred push ups or stand in the rain and do drills like you see in the movies, but a conversation I had with a co-worker who had a military backward says for her children she had one of them crouch on their knees while holding a piece of paper in their hand for a limited amount of time. While this doesn’t seem all to bad a punishment you have to think that the child legs will get tired and the piece of paper that ways less than a gram will feel like a 60lbs. weight on each arm after period of time. She enforces this type of discipline all while explaining to them why what they did is wrong and that the behavior is not acceptable.

One form of alternative discipline that has not been discussed is boot camp. When the concept was introduced in the 90’s the harsh element of corporal punishment, lack of training and  lack of setting real life goals for themselves. One thing to look for is making sure whatever program you choose that the staff is properly trained and is not understaffed. If so they may end hiring someone off the street that is not qualified. Look to see if the program offers individual, group and family therapy so it can help teenagers deal with trauma and deal with feelings in a healthy manner. See if the program offers problem-solving skills, coping skills and improves social skills. Involving the parents helps understand the program and with gaining insight to what the child is learning can help prolong the effects after the boot camp has ended. Programs that consult with parents are much more likely to succeed. See if the program uses positive discipline which includes logical consequences and reward systems. If the program uses fear the effects are not likely to be long-lasting or healthy for your child.


No one In the House

During the summer of 1994 I had some of the best days of my adolescence. I started having parties at my house. My memories of those days were like a plot from house party or any teen movie that runs off of pre-adult adrenaline and hormones. My mother was really strict when it came to having people over in the house, I always felt bad for that. My best friend Tommy always had company over his house and his parents had no problem with friends staying over for the night. I lived directly across the street so Tom and I were always together. Even Tom barely saw the inside of my room.

I don’t wanna say the kids in my neighborhood were scared of my mom, but I could see that my sister and I were always the last to be asked if they could play in our yard, which my mother also didn’t like. With my mom being a single parent I was pretty much the man of the house. While she went to work I was responsible for the cooking, laundry and cleaning of the house. It wasn’t until this summer that this all changed.

Hours Changed

My mom got her hours changed and worked a  later shift. Instead of leaving at 8am she switched to leaving around 2pm to start work at 3pm until 11pm and she got home around midnight. It only took a little time for my crew to see the change in time and get me to start thinking of having little parties. “Come on Troy you don’t ever have anyone in the house all we’re gonna do is chill anyway.” My friend Tom made a remark pointing out that he always had people over his house. He thought it was time for me start returning the favor.

At first it wasn’t so bad I only had a few people over at a time and we were in and out of the house so much anyway. We really only came in the house to get away from the heat of the scorching summer days and get into the AC. We also played on my Sega genesis. I only had a few games, but Tom had a whole catalog that we would play with. We would talk about girls we wanted to hook up with, eat food and talk a whole lotta smack to each other. It was like our own private “clubhouse”.

After a while the neighborhood girls noticed our “clubhouse” in my home we had. It wasn’t long before they joined and hung out to add to that other kids from other neighborhoods came by and wanted to hang out so you can imagine what was supposed to be a small thing wit just a few friends turned into the Samson ave. summer hang out.

Even with over 20 teenagers running in and out of my house we kept the place clean and had no incident until…. It was nearing the end of the summer and I wanted to turn the parties up a notch. It was pretty common for us to drink, but  I managed to make sure no bottles ended in the kitchen garbage can.  We only used the outside garbage can where my mom never would think twice to look. Tom myself and some girls planned to make a party for the end of summer.

Party to End off the Summer

Right after my mom left I cleaned out my mom’s punch bowl that she only used for special occasions. I was planning to make a punch with every liquor that we were able to gather. It wasn’t hard to get liquor we just asked someone older to make a run and we gave them the money and usually we had to buy them something to take care of them.  The party was off the hook. We used the radio as a pretend Dj, the punch bowl drinks had vodka, hennessey, bacardi, Mad Dog 20/20, wine coolers, southern comfort mixed with soda. We also had chips.

I was trying to get with Pamela  at the time. She was older and was a fine dark chocolate specimen of femininity. She knew I liked her, but she kept it friendly with me. She told me I wasn’t her type, so I didn’t press the issue. Just seeing her there validated my party. She was two grades above me and was the hot girl on the block. I didn’t notice it, but  in between speaking with Pamela and taking with Tom about going to high school I didn’t notice—-. That the rest of kids in the house were getting playfully rowdy. When I walked back in my house all I saw was teenagers running from upstairs i  my room to downstairs, the music was way to loud and people were spilling their drinks everywhere. At this point I thought things were getting to crazy.

Then I saw Marie chasing Raheim upstairs into my room and it only took a few seconds. I heard craaaaack oooooooooooohhhh! That sand and seeing Marie and Raheim slowly waking down the steps only meant my mom would be burying me in the backyard after being dragged through the street. When I walked upstairs to see what was going on. The inner wall just inside my door way had a large hole in it. The whole was larger than an average computer monitor I could see the wiring for the light switch. I wish I could crawl into the whole and cover it back up. My chances to live were better that way. “Everybody out!” I like to say that ended the party, but truthfully I didn’t want it to end so I didn’t  push anyone I just stood watch to avoid anyone from going upstairs.

This Party is  be gonna different from the rest

Yo Troy! my boy AG said “you got a wash cloth or something?” “Why?” “For what?” I asked I fingered Sherry on the couch and I want to clean it off. “Wanna smell?” as he waved his fingers in front of me face.  I admit I sniffed it I was virgin at the time and that was the closest I got to getting some……sad I know. In the next hour slowly the other people started the leave. Then I heard Tom call me. I went into the backyard and seen Leonard putting lighter fluid into a small grill and watching flames rise from the hot coals into an indented part of the house where we set a table up and chairs usually. The flames were touching the roof. “Leonard” “Stop I’mma fuck you up.” “Okay” “Okay” he replied. Leonard was always a little off. “I just wanted a couple burgers dawg.”  “Shut the fuck up!” I said. I didn’t know it, but my sister called my Aunt Ruth. All I heard was “Troy Aunt Ruth wants to talk to you.” I grabbed the phone and covered the receiver/ “You called Aunt Ruth?” “Why?” “I’m sorry I called her because mom told me to call her so she can check in.” I picked up the phone. “Hi Aunt Ruth.” “Troy get everyone out!” “I’mma stay on the phone until they leave.” “I called to check on you and I’m glad I did. Get them kids out!!!!” After I got everyone out I got back on the phone. I knew I was in trouble so my summer was over.

Everybody Out-

“Troy I’m not gonna tell your mother, but if this keeps up I’m gonna tell her everything,” “Thank you Aunt Ruth” I could breath again. I cleaned up the house and put a poster up to cover up the hole.” I eventually went back outside to chill with my boys. I went inside around 11:15 pm and my mom came home about 20 mins. later. I will say I was a little nervous, but calm. “Hey mom how was your day?” “It  was okay” she said. She then grabbed the house phone and proceeded into her nightly routine of talking on the phone and winding down. That was a sign I was in the clear. I turned the TV on and relaxed about 40 mins. passed by and my mom called me down to her room. “Here Aunt Lauren wants to talk to you.”

“Hey Aunt Lauren” I thought she was gonna congratulate me on getting ready for high school grown ups are always so proud.

“Troy I’m the bad guy I talked to Aunt Ruth and found out what y’all did and I told your mother.” “Don’t blame Aunt Ruth blame me.”  I gave the phone back to my mother. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” she said. I wished I was still in that hole in the wall. My mom flung me around yelling cursing and threatening. The most I could make cut was I was grounded for the rest of summer. She beat my ass up and down that room. Amazingly enough she never saw the hole until we moved out.