Tuesday, July 14, 2009


A little dose of hypocrisy

Last Sunday,I was chatting with a friend when inevitably the the conversation turned to Michael Jackson. She had strong words of anger and disdain directed at Joe Jackson for beating the young Michael. This from a woman who firmly believes that to spare the rod is to spoil the child and is quite liberal with the rod of choice. NB, the rod is almost always a belt or anything that could administer lashes. Needless to say I pointed out the similarity between her dispensations of discipline and that of Joe Jackson. Girlfriend got offended.

So it got me thinking about the hypocrisy many Caribbean people are using with reference to beatings. Suddenly, everyone knows that beatings are wrong even though they quote incessantly that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. If Michael Jackson were a Caribbean child growing up in the 60's, 70's ,80's and beyond he would get his fair share of blows and name calling. Let him lose his school books and is blows. His lunch money, blows. God forbid if he talked back to some adult, failed an exam or left some chores undone to play cricket in the road or to go to the beach. Let's not forget Common Entrance and the pressure to attend one of the top schools. I know you all know what I'm talking about.

The truth is I don't see Joe Jackson as the devil(though admittedly his behaviour at the BET awards was bizarre)but as a man who saw music as a vehicle to drive his boys to a better life. His methods may not have been palatable to the American public and us but how many of us would not do the same with a prize like fame and wealth dangling before our eyes? I want to believe we would have worked those kids the same way. Just look at those children on Toddlers and Tiaras who are made up, primped and pushed into competitons after competitions.

Then the detractors harp on Michael's self hate as if it is uncommon. Are we willing to examine the reasons for bleaching and the glorification of good hair and features that are Eurocentric? Are we?. And when black men abandon the children they father are they not scorning their DNA as we claim MJ did by fathering white children? look at the Man in the Mirror people. We may be closer to the persons we dislike than we think.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Joe is a bastard, but he's being demonized now that MJ's secret pain is now made public. People need to take a look in the mirror sometimes.
You're right. Let's start beating our children until they start moonwalking.
Great Post. I think your friend was uncomfortable with the way you called her out. But there are many Vincentians who will endorse what Joe did to the Jackson kids by saying it was done to them and they turned out alright. I don't think beating is an effective way of disciplining a child and for that I am not a fan of Joe Jackson on that end.
I'm disgusted with myself as a white person that I didn't understand the symbolism of MJ's bleaching and plastic surgery. I apologise to all black people for being ignorant in this manner.
Excellent post! I support liks! 100% So I aint have no problem with Joe for giving the chile some liks. Actually I aint sure I have a problem with Joe.

I think he was a bit forceful with pushing the music thing but as you said if he was trying to get a better life for his kids and he saw the talent who are we to argue. Is the same thing with Venus and Serena's dad aint it?

Where the issue with Joe came in is probably he realized Mike was the most talented and was probably the hardest on him plus it was probably in Mike's makeup to react the way he did. I mean after all I'm sure the other kids got doses of Joe if not as harsh probably pretty close and none of them aint turn out like Mike right.

Anyways its probably a deeper issue with Mike and Joe is what I think. The liks, the other stuff are part of it but just the way he acted at the BET awards etc tells me he really doesnt seem to care for Mike one way or the other. Children can always tell when the love is or isnt there even if the parent is abusive aint it?
Angie, no need to apologise but there's no denying that slavery left its legacy and one aspect is the way we see ourselves.

Yeah Jdid, I dunno but most likely he never understood the sensitivity that MJ had. More than likely he saw that as soft and maybe effeminate and for that he probably was harsher. Of course we are only theorising but I don't think it's farfetched.

@ Empath. Yes I've noticed people don't like you to call them out but this was too good to pass up esp as she beats like there is no tomorrow.
A very good post Abeni! I am a firm believer in discipline. We can see the results of parents failure to discipline their children in the behaviour of many of our youths. How a parent decides to discipline his/her child is up to them, but they should ensure it's effective and not abusive, therein striking that delicate balance. Also discipline can me in different forms and a combination of the various forms, including a few licks. I got quite a few beating when I was a child and I didn't turnout to be a scarred child with many problems as many psychologists in the US would want us to believe.

I agree with Jdid, that the issues between Joe and Michael are much deeper than the few licks he got from the strap. And also some of MJ's behaviour could stem from his own personal insecurities.

As for your friend... I can see why she got offended... the truth hurts.
girl this is just one hypocrisy in our soceity to add to all the others... we are a society that loves to judge - even when we are engaged in the very same activities we are judging...

and you call out your friend!!! of course she vex with you... we always AGREE with our friends... isn't that how it's supposed to work??? :-P
But wait, Stunner surely MJs personal insecurities stem from the behaviour of his parents and his upbringing?

But then as you say beating never does anyone any harm - it just makes them insensitive to others pain just as their parents were insensitive to their own. So what's the harm in that right?
My mother was the disciplinarian in our home and I was beat with anything she could lay her hand on at the moment: broom-stick, belt, ironing cord, pot-spoon, wood, whatever was handy would work.

While I was very resentful of her attitude to discipline growing up, I began to understand her better when I grew up and became a parent myself; we are actually quite close now.

My father on the other hand was a very disinterested parent. I think he acknowledged to himself very early that he was not interested in raising children and cast off any pretense of doing it.

He did not want to know anything about any of his children and said as much to our faces. He was not angry or abusive really, he just wasn't there. Even when he was in the house, he wasn't there to us. We were not allowed to call on him or ask anything of him.

Today, I have no relationship with my father whatsoever. We do not speak at all and he is comfortable with that. It took me many years and a lot of counseling to accept that the issue is not mine; to accept that this is just the way he is.

By comparison, I understand and empathize with my mother's determination to raise us the best way she knew how. She was very involved, and sometimes for us, painfully so, in our lives and education etc. The beatings were bad, but I am glad that in her way, she was trying the best way she knew how to get us to do "the right thing".

For her efforts all her children love her dearly and would do anything for her. My father still has no relationship with any of his children, and he is still okay with that.
what u up to these days? dont see you on CC.com anymore.
Anonymous,your tale is one many a Caribbean child can identify with. As you said and what I can agree with is many times you can live with the beating. The indifference though is a whole different ball game. Generally too, parents do what they think is best and what they know. More and more I am seeing how hard a job it is and how easy you can mess up. At the end of the day you can only hope your children will judge you kindly.

Yammie I am good. Busy with studies, work and some volunteer work. I've lost interest in CC
I agree that all you can do is your best.

For people who remain resentful of parents who were less than skilled in the child-rearing department, my advice has always been to view your childhood experiences as opportunities rather than burdens. Harsh as they may have been, we always have a choice as to how we respond to them: We can use them as opportunities for work on our hearts, minds and souls or we can allow them to be negative baggage that we carry around with us.

In the end, as adults we always exercise choice as to how we will deal with our past.
I don't support the rod as a means of discipline. My stance is not to beat. I have managed to be good about that with my children. I only got one good beating when I was a child and I turned out damn good.

I agree with what you say though, there is always a double standard that exists. It's always wrong until you're accused of doing it.
If we are to believe MJ, what Joe did wasn't discipline, it was wickedness. There is no comparison between the liks we got as children to make us do the right thing and some of the discriptions Mj gave of his father's actions. It wasn't no few liks with a strap. Among other things, MJ said Joe often slammed him up against the wall. He said he grew to fear and hate him so much that he often vomited when he saw him coming. That's what MJ told Martin Bashir on Living with Michael Jackson. No doubt MJ was frailler than his siblings so the emotioanl impact would be greater.

You're right about one thing for sure. Lots of us black folk have the inferiority complex to one degree or other. We just don't have the cash to fund it like MJ did.
Hey Jackie

I understand you are saying there is a difference between beating and brutality. However, from my observation and what I have experienced first hand the lines in the Cbean are quite blurred too.
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