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An unwarranted intrusion on parental rights

Melvin B. Miller
An unwarranted intrusion on parental rights
“Man, my dad had to whip me good to keep me on the straight and narrow.” (Photo: Dan Drew)

The National Football League has no right to require the players of any team to refrain from spanking their children for discipline. It was shocking to learn that the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has essentially ordered the Minnesota Vikings to fire their black running back Adrian Peterson for disciplining his son. Peterson used the corporal punishment he learned in his hardscrabble youth in Texas.

All parents have the responsibility to assure that their children do their chores, complete their homework and generally comply with parental directives. For parents of black children, especially boys, there is the additional necessity of protecting them from the dangers of the street. Neighborhood miscreants and biased police officers can create situations that damage the children’s future lives.

Parental concern is well founded. Gun homicides are the leading cause of death among black teens according to a report by the Children’s Defense Fund. There was a total of 5,740 gun deaths of teens in 2008 and 2009. That amounts to one child or teen every three hours. And another 34,387 suffered non-fatal gun wounds.

A report published by USA TODAY on Nov. 18 found that at least 70 police departments across the country arrest black people at 10 times the rate of all others. Their study showed that 1,581 police departments across the country arrest blacks at a higher rate than what is normal in Ferguson, Mo.

Black parents find it difficult to protect their children against these hazards. One tried and true strategy is corporal punishment to induce young boys to respect their parents’ wishes. The temporary discomfort of a spanking is a small price to pay for deterrence from the dangers of the streets.

Those opposed to corporal punishment will obviously object to spanking that is severe enough to be called child abuse, but they otherwise have no grounds to interfere with the family practice of spanking.