This Cleveland bus incident, where the bus driver uppercuts a woman has been played and replayed in all of it’s entertainment value glory. What has been lost in all of this is the discussion. I have been hit while driving. I mean slapped, punched, steering wheel grabbed and I felt that she was really trying to kill me…us. So I know how Chris Brown felt and how this bus driver may have felt. Without passing judgement on the bus rider for spitting and hitting or on the bus driver for his rising dragon punch, what is the real issue…

Why did it take getting hit for this woman to realize that she can’t hit?

Why after 22 years of taking similar punishment from passengers did the bus driver react in this manner?

The Full Story

This is not uncommon nor an isolated incident, why? Because our society allows women to get away with hitting. Women carry the banner of “the weaker sex”, when nothing could be further from the truth. We already know who hits more…women, yet every woman is sugar, spice and everything nice and every man is a potential villain. What that approach has done is cultivate a culture of violence and victimization. Now all of a sudden he’s head butting her, choking her, hitting her…all of a sudden and she hasn’t done anything, she isn’t violent at all and she isn’t teaching these very same methods to the children, no not at all. We have become a society inequity, a society of  one law and two different rules, two different standards, which is probably why our foreign policy is one of a bully who speaks of victimization.

When the authorities respond to a domestic violence dispute and, in general, do nothing to the hitter, but remove the hitee what does that do to a child seeing it? How does that ultimately shape their view of society, their view of relationships?

You look at this cartoon and think he had it coming?
He must have said something.
That isn’t you, but deep now you know it is.
You have a problem and so does America.

What has this dual standard done to children, who have internalized these types of behaviors? It has made them adults who are violent, made them adults who hit, Adults who fear no repercussions. It has made the ledger unbalanced and therefore unequal. It has made males feel at times caged and constantly under pressure from society and in their relationship. It has breed a culture for men, that says being hit is normal. A culture that says if you are a male you should expect to get hit.

Are men violent? Men are not violent, which is contrary to what those with an agenda, and many a female blogger might say. However, males can be made to be violent. Here is an all too common example: A young man beats his girl for slapping him and we all get down on him trash him and cuddle her and everybody else that he’s ever been with. Now,here is the what you didn’t see. That young man grew up with a mother that hit. She hit his father and she all the other dudes after the father left. She hit his brother. She hit him. She allowed female cousins to hit him. As he got older he was a relationships where he was hit. The authorities who grabbed him hit him. For his part, this young adolescent, he has to take the hits because she is the weaker sex and speaking out makes him weak, speaking out makes him a punk. Expressing his emotions is something that just isn’t done, because it scares people, which is why the authorities were called in the first place, so he learned that lesson.

One day this young man’s woman decides that he didn’t answer a question correctly, or she isn’t getting enough attention, or whatever the case may be and she decides to test him by hitting him and he goes off on her. We all know the story “I just touched him and he went off.” Guess what your ‘touch’ was hit number 3,476 and that was the one that set him off. That was the one that he could take. That was his societal rebel yell. What society sees is the what came after. We see the elephant rampage. We witness the killer whale attack. We don’t see the role we played in the action. What would have happened if didn’t condone hitting in our society?  You can not give one group carte blanche to assault and hit with virtual impunity, while the companion group has to absorb all of it.

Why has society allowed women to be violent? Perhaps it has to do with men not wanting to look at our mothers as being anything but nurturers or since women represent the best of us, men don’t want to show the rest of the world that the word best’ may have been misused.  Most women who hit, do so because they can.

It’s not okay, it’s not. I tell my daughters just like I tell my son, “no one should hit”, but more importantly than telling them…I show them.

Mothers stop hitting.

Girlfriends stop hitting.

Everyone stop hitting… Hugs go a lot further.

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Why I Am Gay

My mother and father used to argue and fight a lot, so one day he left us.

My mother got so caught up chasing after

no good,

no account negroes

that she completely forgot about me.

I grew up really wanting her love,

wanting her to love me.

I never got it.

I remember it started long before freeze-tag. I always like to  put on

my mothers shoes.

You remember the Road Runner Show, the one with Wile. E. Coyote–

well that’s all I was thinking about.

I wasn’t even thinking about “hide-n-go-get-it”,

when these so-called men started touching on me.

The whole time they were doing these things to me they were telling

me that it was love,

that it was right.

“If you don’t do it, I’m ah tell your mother.”

I learned and was told shit that I shouldn’t have known or done until

I was grown.

I tried to tell some family members, but they didn’t want to talk about it.

It was like I deserved it,

like I asked for it.

So I grew up afraid.

I hit puberty and my feelings of love for my mother turned sexual.

And all of a sudden

I was attracted to her,

her,

and her,

but anger is what made me perpetuate it.

Somewhere along the line a part of me liked the feelings the sex brought.

For more Converpoems poems pick up It Ain’t Just the Size on Kindle for only .99!

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Marlon Dorsey, a High School Basketball coach, was recently filmed spanking a youth for not running sprints properly. The coach said that he has spanked in the past and was disciplining this young boy, “I took in upon myself to save these young men from destruction…”. I can not pretend that I know what goes on in that area of Mississippi nor do I know what other measures have been taken before this incident that was filmed on an 8 second video and plastered all over the web.

The report is that todays children are doing worst than they were 20 years ago. You’ve heard people say “look at those kids”.You’ve seen them in the store wilding out. You’ve seen them in Jack N the Box after school raising hell. You’ve seen them stealing. You’ve see them wandering around during school time. You’ve heard them in alleys fighting. You’ve seen them swearing their mom, dads and everyone inbetewen out. You’ve seen them on the news shooting other kids. And I know that you’ve seen them in actin inside your own home, but still you say “Johnny would never do that”, “That wasn’t Sarah”. We, guess what Johnny is doing that, and it was Sarah.

A study found that spanking has a negative effect on toddlers, particularly on those from low-income households. The movie Precious, is the story of a black teen mother who survives physical and sexual abuse from her parents. While the movie strikes a chord with those who were victims of abuse in their childhood, the film also reminds us of the prevalence of beatings as a child-rearing tool in the African-American community. In a book called Black Rage Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs attribute this to slavery:

“Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feed that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated. This kind of physical subjugation of the weak forges early in the mind of the child a link with the past and, as he learns the details of history, with slavery per se.”

Adrian Peterson and Marlon Dorsey are black men, however, blacks are not the only race to use physical punishment as a form of discipline. And there is a big difference between spankings, whippings and beatings. Spanking is when you use medium force to strike the child on his/her bottom and not using any kind of device. When a parent spanks a child, it is usually when the child has done something incongruous with parental law and is used as a form of punishment. When your child is 200 lb starter on his JV football team, or selling drugs, gang banging, lighting people on fire, taking guns to school, etc… I don’t think that definition still applies do you?

While some bystanders would even like to take matters into our own hands, like this coach, but we don’t and more often than not we look the other way even when that child is ours. Children can see the fear that child protection service and law enforcement bring you. They can smell your fear of the public stares. But here is a question; if your child is doing something dangerous, would you weigh what law enforcement, or strangers might say, or do you just react? Children need parents, and they need their parents to be engaged. Often it seems that parents are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t because sometimes parental engagement results in discipline, but when is disciplining your child become abuse? Parents often fall on the don’t side, legal pressures make it safer for parents to disengage rather than engage in effective discipline of their child.

When the media jumped on Kate Gosselin for publicly spanking her daughter she responded with “Whether the paparazzi are there or not, I am a mother first, I love my children and when they misbehave, I will discipline them as i see fit”, and parents around the country have silently applauded her, she was not arrested.

Murray Straus, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, says 110 studies have linked spanking to increased misbehavior in childhood as well as adult problems such as increased spousal abuse and depression. Diana Baumrind, a psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley, found that children who were spanked occasionally had no more behavior problems than children who were never spanked, but warned that regular reliance on physical punishment, as well as “impulsive and reactive spanking,” causes harm to a child. The hidden issue is that today people have no idea how to be a parent, how to love or how to discipline appropriately. Regular reliance on physical punishment, medication or time out will harm any child.

Most parents don’t have a problem disciplining children, but every parent has a huge problem with people telling them how to discipline a child. Parents are tired of people who don’t have children telling them how to raise children, and that includes local and state governments. Most parents love their children, some may be ill-equipped to handle them, but they still love them. Many Parents have lost control of their children and their households. There are some people who say a good old-fashioned butt whipping kept them on the straight and narrow, or changed their life, but there are others who say any form of spanking a child is abuse. Their is no doubt that the right discipline at the right time can do wonders to alter a child’s perspective.

I know people who have been hit with shoes, belts, whips, ironing cords, brooms, paddles and an assortment of thrown objects. I know people who where stripped naked infront of others and then spanked. I know parents who are basically held hostage by their children. I know parents who are at the end of their rope. I know parents that need a grown up spanking. I know two twin boys, one had more spankings than the other, but the child who had far fewer spankings is the one who says that he was abused.

People have said children are out of control. Child on Child violence is increasing. Many parents and educational systems have given up and have resorted to just medicating children. Through legislation, tools such as spankings have been removed from the parental toolbox, so frustrated parents have begun to medicating their children, was this done for profit? There is a direct correlation between ADHD, the rise of child care facilities and the political correctness of “Time Out”. Medicating children essentially robs them of their youth, even with all the harm it does putting your child on drugs is seriously an encouraged parenting tool, why because it effectively gives parents the peace and quiet they value so highly. Sadly doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers all have a hand in this lucrative method of parenting, it’s an industry and a very profitable one.

Adrian Peterson spanking with switch

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted for whipping his four year old son. People fall on both sides of this issues, some same it is clear abuse, others say it is not so clear. As a father Adrian Peterson was the first person to acknowledge, to his son and to the mother of his son, that he may have went far. Getting whippings was how Adrian Peterson was raised, and he is and has been a star running back in the NFL. Peterson isn’t the only person who credits this physical type of punishment with keeping them on the straight and narrow path. Are we to discount the parent’s own experience, are we to disregard the parent’s self assessment of their actions? As a society don’t we want parents that evaluate what they do as parents and regulate themselves, whether they are in error or not. I heard someone say that Adrian Peterson has so much money that he could have hired a nanny to do the spanking, is that the only way for a parent to be legally safe from the pitfalls of parenting today, is that where we are as a society?
In this case, Peterson says he went too far and that is exactly what we as a society need parents to do in regards to parenting, but should he have been indicted, arrested and suspended from the NFL? People will see photos, the video and react, they wont care about context, they wont care are anything but their own judgement. But what they can’t and refuse to see is that what we have been doing a a society isn’t working. Do we bring paddling back to schools? Do we ease the laws on parents? What to do? What to do? These are not easy questions to answer, but what I know is that We as a Nation have backed the wrong policies for far too long. Whether it is knowing the harm Alcohol, and Cigarettes cause and still allowing them to be legal, Wars that we should have never been in, Rights denied people rights or denial of Military Service due to sexual orientation. It is safe to say that Americans have come down in support of wrongness for far too long a time. What I do know is that spanking conversation is something We need to have. What I do know is that knee jerk reactionist that spawned “Time Out and Medicate” have also helped ruin a generation.

As far as coach Dorsey none of us know what was going on and I don’t know if this or any situation calls for being struck with a weight belt. And since the parents were at practice the question is do others have the right to spank your child? Should this coach have followed school policy, perhaps, but if you watch or listen to the news you know that school policy has not always worked. If the case is that a variety of discipline helps to save live, are we trying to lose lives by not including spanking? Firing this coach, arresting Adrian Peterson, or the next parent won’t make the issue of how to discipline children or not to go away.

In a poll of 100 people 75% of respondents commend this coach’s action. If someone had spanked Osama Bin Laden, AIG, Bank, Automaker execs, Wall street traders and some of these politicians maybe the world and the country wouldn’t be in such bad shape. Could spankings have prevented Columbine, Newtown, Aurora, other school shootings or the shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara? Of course no one knows, but we all know that the individuals who committed those mass murders were not spanked and we know those kind of incidences were not occurring before these stricter child protection laws. America, isn’t it time to trying something else? What would happen we started to commend parents for disciplining their children? What would happen if NEWS outlets reported that schools were allowed to used some form of corporal punishment and it was presented as a good thing?

Parenting is not an exact science but parents and the educators need more tools, not less, because if  you can’t trust parents to discipline their children, then how can you trust then to raise them.

One Name, Two Fates

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates is a memoir with a twist. Wes Moore is a young black man who rose from the drug, crime and poverty-stricken streets of Baltimore to attain prestigious academic honors. The twist is that Wes Moore is also a man who killed a Baltimore policeman while robbing a jewelry store. These two men grew up in the same neighborhood, both faced the same life obstacles, but they ended up on very different paths. One a Rhodes Scholar, interning for Condoleezza Rice, the other was behind bars for the rest of his life. It is the name of the latter individual that drove the author to reach out to him, to attempt to understand how they ended up in very different places.

Set in Baltimore we are given two boys with similar backgrounds and choices. The two Wes’ lived in the same neighborhood, both were raised by single mothers and both had early age brushes with law enforcement. The author believes that he is showing us a paralleling of lives by saying that what happened to the Other Wes Moore could have happened to him, this is not the case but it is interesting. “The Other Wes Moore” is a beautifully written narrative study on the effects of class and that alone makes it unique. Two black youths, who live in the same neighborhood, but in different classes.

The twist is more like a literary hook so-to-speak. Wes Moore’s mother was raised by college educated parents and she would have been a college graduate had it not been for forces beyond her control; his father was no slouch either although he dies early on. When Wes get too rambunctious she had the means to put him into military school. The Other Wes’ life was plagued with poverty and violence inside and outside his home, one day his father just takes off.  As a result of this familial disengagement he ends up having children by multiple women and selling drugs. Here, there is much to be said about “active parenting”.

The story is good, but I was quite disturbed and sadden that two hospitals allowed Race to place a major role in the deaths of two of the story’s characters.  Included in the book is a short ‘call to action’ by Tavis Smiley which will also, like the book, miss its intend mark. “The Other Wes Moore” will not reach the people who need to read it the most. This book is not filled with glorified violent acts, broad shouldered men, barely dressed married-single women, crime lords or thugs trying to get their paper. This book is not a copy of another book with changed names and places. No, it does not remain in the ghetto universe.

Throughout the book the Wes’ dialogue and we are exposed to the realest grit that life has to offer. We see the effects of not having positive mentors urban communities. We see the possibilities. We see the hope, but we also see the hopelessness. As the book ends we are left with these questions:  It is The Other Wes Moore’s fault that he was born into a lower class family? Was it his fault that he became a street urchin? Was it his mothers? His fathers? Or is it just easier to blame them instead the struggle in our society between, The haves and The have nots, The wants and The want mores?

Often these type of narratives make race or racism the deciding factor, “the man was holding me down” or “the opportunities were not there”, this is not so with Wes Moore’s book. These two children lived in the same neighborhood, shared the same obstacles and were divided only by Class. Class and it’s socioeconomic effects are subjects that very few want to discuss. Classism exist in every community, including the black ones. Wes Moore really didn’t need the hook, but I completely understand. And, he never really answers the question, How did this happen? In truth, he doesn’t need to because he knows that the answer is his upbringing. The book does not come across as arrogant, nor pretentious and I hope that this book will open discussions on the class warfare that is prevalent in our society. “The Other Wes Moore”  is less of a textbook for school and more of a textbook for life, so I am including a link to the author’s website, where there are resources for those that want to make a difference in their community, Wes Moore.

Wes Moore forces us to look at an overlooked, much maligned, under represented segment of our population, our children. They are ten percent of our population, but one hundred percent of our future. While adults spend countless hours with electronic doohickeys and bicker over race, politics and other created nonsense a child somewhere needs help with their homework, and another one needs to be told to put down the video game and pick up a book. What “The Other Wes Moore” points out more than anything else is that a child’s life course could be altered by acts as simple as that.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates  is an amazing book and I can’t stress it enough. The way this book is written is worth the read alone. The author’s style is simply beautiful. “The Other Wes Moore” makes you smile, and does much to restore some of the promise that modern literature has lost.

4.5 out of 5