Thursday, September 18, 2014

Adrian Peterson and the Switch

It goes without saying that the media have been consumed with Adrian Peterson's use of a switch to beat his 4-year-old son.

Some of the discussion has focused on the use of corporal punishment as a cultural thing, saying African American families employ the technique in raising children.

For example:

A good whuppin’? Adrian Peterson child abuse case revives debate"

Adrian Peterson must beat his upbringing

An aspect of the discussion that surprises me is how many people are unfamiliar with the term "switch."

To those people, I ask: Where have you been?

I have never been beaten with a switch, nor have I ever beaten anyone with a switch. But, I've certainly heard of the term and the practice.

Did you ever read Tom Sawyer? Aunt Polly used a switch to discipline Tom.

Did you ever watch The Simpsons and hear Grandpa Simpson threaten to use a switch?

Didn't old Loony Tunes cartoons frequently reference the use of a switch?

I think so.

For those needing, Jonathan Capehart explains the switch:

Peterson is accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a “switch.” That’s a tree branch denuded of its leaves and then used to “light the hind parts” of a disobeying youngin’. Peterson’s son got his hind parts lit after he reportedly pushed another Peterson son off a video game. Being beaten with a switch was one of the ways I was held accountable by relatives from New York to North Carolina for defying or ignoring various and sundry adult admonitions. How said punishment was meted out varied depending on the offense and on the relative.
How weird that "switch" needs to be defined!

I find it very strange that so many supposedly intelligent people seem to be so confused by the term.

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