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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Beginning of the End of Plantation Abuse

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson turned himself in to authorities and was booked at a Montgomery County jail in Texas on early Saturday morning. He then posted bond and was later indicted on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.  Since that time, the Minnesota Vikings running back had been deactivated for the team's football game against New England and later reactivated for their upcoming game against the New Orleans Saints.  Currently, every media outlet in the country has focused on Peterson and the ways in which we have been taught to discipline our children.

For those who are not aware, the parental request for a child to go out and obtain his or her own switch (branch) from a tree and then bring that switch to their guardian for the purpose of being whipped (spanked) is rather common in the South.  It is believed to be something that had originated before slavery times in this country, yet adopted into black American culture. Perhaps families used a belt, or maybe parents hand-spanked a child, as means of chastening their children. In the lazy days of the South, all methods were used, especially the one which required the use of a switch. The disciplinary act was meant to be swift and painful.  In slavery times, when a child was acting out, it was acceptable for a slave adult to discipline their child immediately in order to protect their youth from the disciplinary methods of the slave owner.  The act was also believed to have been derived from the mimicking actions of the slave master as he disciplined his own slaves.  Today the use of a switch is looked upon as a display of ignorance, and demonstrates a lack of education as adults continue to fail to successfully communicate with their kids.  The use of the switch is so rooted in the American South communities, especially in the black community, that it is more of a normality than anything else.

Adrian Peterson is someone who is known for his incomparable robust running style.  Many have said that one hasn't felt pain until they've shook hands with Adrian Peterson. Without a doubt, the superstar athlete is a specimen unlike any other.  When one combines Peterson's physical attributes with the rooted mindset of acceptable discipline in the South then surely a questionable act of child abuse will follow; and since this matter is at the forefront of today's discussion, we can expect that an end will soon come to this so-called plantation abuse.

But who is really at fault here? Aren't we, as a society, to blame? All that has ever happened in this country has been the result of the very belief system that has help found this country.  Surely one came place blame; however, there is no need to place blame unless the goal is to recognize that a problem exists and then, hopefully, we can amend it. Just as Ray Rice has propelled the topic of domestic abuse, Adrian Peterson has done the same for child neglect.  It appears the we are being taught lessons from people whom we expect the least in order to unveil the errors in our ways as a society. I suppose at this point we should all brace ourselves for what's to come. Certainly, there are plenty of other societal faults that are due to rise to the surface.    

By Brian L. Elliott, The Scarlet Journal
2:35 EDT, September 15, 2014