Adrian Peterson will miss his second game with the Minnesota Vikings. The All-Pro running back was deactivated indefinitely by the team due to child abuse charges that stem from him spanking his son, 4, with a switch.
The incident has caused the Vikings to lose a major sponsor, Nike has stepped away from Peterson as an endorsor and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton weighed in by calling for Peterson’s immediate suspension.
While the outcome of Peterson’s child abuse case could take months to be determined, Peterson’s decision to spank his child is divided culturally and among racial lines.
Charles Barkley recently defended Adrian Peterson by suggesting that “every black parent in the south” would be arrested if spanking a child with a switch was a crime.
Barkley was the first national figure to inject race into the discussion and he was correct in his observation.
Traditionally, black parents have a deep concern for their kids that goes beyond the act of a child misbehaving in the moment. Black parents want to instill discipline early in their children because they realize that most of society will treat undisciplined blacks differently.
Even the perception of an undisciplined black person can lead to injury or untimely death.
This past summer, several unarmed black men have been murdered by police because authorities viewed them as undisciplined. These black men were not a threat to society or the law enforcement when they were killed, their biggest crime was showing a lack of discipline.
Eric Garner was murdered by a police officer for allegedly selling cigarettes; John Crawford was murdered by police because he held a toy gun in Walmart; and Mike Brown was murdered by police because he was initially walking in the middle of the street.
Most white parents will never have to worry about their children being murdered by police for a minor offense or perception of being undisciplined. White parents have the freedom to allow their children to make mistakes without harsh ridicule. When time-outs and groundings fail to work for unruly kids, white parents will often have their child put on medications that will keep them calm.
Instead of keeping an unruly child sedated, black parents traditionally believe that spankings are the best way to keep a child in line so that he or she remembers that there are consequences to bad behavior.
Peterson may or may not have went overboard when whipping his child with a switch. But it’s apparent that he initially chose to discipline his child out of love.
Peterson and most black parents would rather punish their child first before society or law enforcement view them as an undisciplined threat.