September 14, 2014

Dear #NFL players: What AP did always has been child abuse

Adrian Peterson
I'm going to tread a bit into cultural waters here, in discussing the horrific response by many NFL players to Adrian Peterson's alleged child abuse of his son. (I use "alleged" in purely a legal sense; looking at the photos on the link ... )

Per the "horrific responses" link, Darnell Dockett, Donte Stallworth, Mark Ingram and Roddy White are all African-American. Chris Kluwe, the one voice of reason, is not.

We're not in the land of stereotyping here. We are, I think, in the land of generalizations. African-Americans still present themselves as the most religious ethnic group in America. Whether that, and a certain part of that alleged Christianity, a "spoil the rod" belief, especially from blacks that still have strong connections to the small-town South, like a lot of white with similar beliefs, is part of the issue, I can't prove, but I think it is. Generalizations are about groups, not individuals, but the claims are more legitimate than stereotypes; where the line between the two lies is a judgment call to some degree, of course, and individuals can fall outside of generalizations.

(Per friend Perry, a lot of the comments from the general public on various websites defending actions like Peterson's as "tough love" or just "love" are from white folks, as he notes with the Houston Chronicle. That said, I'll stand by what I am blogging, that, I think this is in part due to African-American culture. There, too, it's probably strongest in African-American subcultures most connected to their Southern roots, as I note above; however, African-American religiosity is stronger than that of whites nationwide. Also, more liberal versions of Christianity have shallower roots in non-white portions of America.)

That said ...

I'm "sorry," (scare quotes apply to all future uses of the word) to some NFL players defending Adrian Peterson, especially if you fall in the African-American generalization above, but it always was child abuse. "Sorry" that you grew up in the wrong culture. "Sorry" that your parents grew up in the wrong culture. "Sorry" that the last of the divarim, per Jewish counting of the 10 Commandments, is right in a secular sense, and that the sin of child abuse in the name of "love" has gotten passed down from fathers to children, not because they hate a stereotypical angry patriarchal father god, but precisely because they love him that much. I'm also sorry that plenty of other dysfunction, including but not limited to, serial absentee fatherhood also got passed along, along with the claim to still be religious. Maybe you ought to look more honestly and less defensively at your past?

Actually, per the scare quotes, I'm not "sorry" at all. I'm kind of disgusted, or more than kind of.

Here's the worst, from Dockett:
I got a ass whippn at 5 with a switch that's lasted about 40mins and couldn't sit for 2days. It's was all love though.
I had to Tweet him that his idea that that was "love" is all wrong. Whether he, and others like him, will listen? I won't hold my breath.

I'm "sorry" that it's this same religiosity, or religiosity intertwined with more general culture, that has led to gay black men remaining closeted at higher rates than in other ethnic groups, despite Michael Sam coming out, even before done with his college career. I'm "sorry" that this closeting has lead to unprotected "down low" heterosexual sex that has fueled skyrocketing HIV rates in recent years. And, ultimately, I'm not "sorry."

And, to square circles, to connect Peterson and Rice, here's this:
“The Adrian Petersons of the world create the Ray Rices of the world,” wrote Kris Huson, a St. Paul woman, referring to the former Baltimore Ravens running back seen on video that emerged last week delivering a knockout punch to his now-wife. “Leaving bloody marks and bruises crosses legal line.”

That is often, sadly, what results. 

More sadly, per this Twitter picture, as shown, Peterson himself is also proving me right, on his Twitter feed.

And, this isn't a white-vs-black thing. American Indians, for all their atrocities in fighting against other tribes or whites, were by and large tremendously indulgent to their pre-pubescent children. (Post-puberty, as initiation rites show, it's a different story.)

Update: Per Perry's link in comments, I think Charles Barkley, buffoonery and all, actually proves me right. And, Kelly Dwyer can't distinguish between stereotypes and between social-statistics based, accurately stated generalizations. Which is fine; he's a sportswriter. What else do you expect?

And, Cris Carter has an insightful response. He notes that such abuse couched as loving discipline often comes from a strongly religious environment, which gets back to what I said about blacks generally being more religious than other Americans. He finishes, though, by noting that can be transcended. You can get video clips of both him and Barkley here.

And, reinforcing these issues, in both generalizations and in stereotypes, Peterson's mom has now also spoken. Among the new notes? She said he has six kids by four mothers.

I guess all those belts and switches don't teach the love of loyalty or fidelity, do they?


PDiddie said...

Charles Barkley agrees with you. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? (Serious question.)

Gadfly said...

Actually, when he doesn't come off as a buffoon, Sir Charles is a straight shooter, and often quite accurate in his observations. I'm glad he's voiced his thought.

Gadfly said...

Actually, when he doesn't come off as a buffoon, Sir Charles is a straight shooter, and often quite accurate in his observations. I'm glad he's voiced his thought.

PDiddie said...

So he is not a buffoon w/r/t "all black parents in the South whip their kids"... since he agrees with you?

I noticed you address this in the update; I just want to make sure I am clear in understanding you. Primarily because I do not agree that a broad generalization such as that can be proven, right or wrong.

For the record, I have long admired Charles Barkley as a teller of brutal truths, sometimes at costly personal expense, and have never considered him a buffoon.

Gadfly said...

I should have been clearer in my first reply. Barkley is normally only buffoonish when commenting about basketball, not society/life. (Even then, it's sometimes an act.)

So, yes, I agree with him. That said, it's true that generalizations don't apply to every individual within a social, economic, ethnic, or other class; however, unlike stereotypes, generalizations are based on actual, valid data.

Jeff Adams Real Estate Seminar said...

Jeff Adams agrees with you, Serious question.