Ephesians 6:4 (ASV) says, “Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Child abuse isn’t solely a black issue, but it’s twice as prevalent in the black community than in others. If you’ve listened to some black activists or read black websites like The Root, they’ve attributed the disproportionate number of child abuse statistics in the black community to poverty (partially correct), and they’ve even gone so far as to claim the numbers are skewed because child protective services workers are racist. No, I’m not kidding. Apparently, they’re unaware of all the black social workers our government employs, or they’re totally insensitive to the plight of the victim.
We’ve all seen the evidence. You walk through a grocery store, the mall or a Wal-Mart and there’s a black mother wearing spandex so tight you can see her DNA, and she’s surrounded by her children. You overhear one of the children ask for a treat, and all of a sudden there’s a severe overreaction from mom, either a smack or yelling that occurs as if no one else is around. The child is terribly humiliated, mom could care less, and onlookers gasp in disbelief – but do nothing for fear the mother will lash out at them. Am I lying?
Though I love my mom and dad, I grew up in a home where I was “disciplined” with objects such as a belt, a switch, a coat hanger, a paddle, a wooden spoon and even a telephone cord on occasion. I wasn’t allowed to talk back or express myself freely without it being considered “disrespectful.” Whenever I observed white kids speaking with their parents diplomatically, but in a way for which I thought they should’ve been spanked, I assumed they were disrespectful and spoiled. I wasn’t alone. All of my black and Hispanic friends felt the same way.
There’s no question poverty and a lack of education are major contributors to child abuse in the black community, but these are just symptoms. Sadly, a low marriage rate amongst blacks and so-called “disrespect” in black culture goes unaccounted for.
Last week, right here in Orlando, Florida, a 3-year-old toddler, Xavier Terrill Mokarzel-Satchel, was beaten to death by 28-year-old Lakesha Lewis and her mother, Callene Marcia Barton, 58. Lewis is the lesbian lover of the child’s mother, Brandi Marie Mokarzel, who has been charged with child neglect in the case. Brandi is white and, by the looks of her mugshot, straight-up ghetto. Lewis and Barton are black. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “the fatal beating was the toddler’s punishment for eating yogurt and drinking milk from the jug.” You read that right.
These two beat Xavier with a plastic rod used to open and close window blinds, and then threw him down a hallway after the mother attempted to intervene and pull the child away. Barton was also involved in another child-abuse incident that happened approximately 10 years ago at a local homeless shelter. At that time, Barton was asked by a friend at the shelter to discipline her child because the child was “disrespectful.” Barton beat the child with a plastic toy golf club.
Xavier’s mom had moved in with Lewis and Barton on March 20 of this year. She admitted there were three prior occasions where Lewis and Barton beat the child. The coroner confirmed there were wounds that appeared to be healing on the child’s body.
Xavier’s case is an extreme one. But, sadly, child abuse within the black community is all too normative. According to Statista.com, 14.5 out of 1,000 black children are abused (personally I believe these numbers are low based on the “snitches get stitches” mentality in black America), compared to 8.1 out of 1,000 whites. The stresses associated with poverty are a legitimate contributing factor to child abuse, but again, what’s often conveniently forgotten or ignored is that poverty in America is often a result of broken homes. If you’re unmarried, it’s more likely you’ll fall below the poverty line in America.
If we truly want to see a reduction of child abuse in the black community, then we need to see an increase in the marriage rate, more black dads refusing to abandon or neglect their kids and a decrease of the number of black children born out of wedlock. Blaming whites and poverty won’t solve the cultural problems that exist within the black community today, but looking in the mirror will give us a heck of a head start.