bell hooks Tackles Parental Abuse

Father holding daughter
Via Pixabay
Emeka Ochiagha
May 24, 2021

bell hooks was enjoying herself at a party, when the topic of child discipline came up. One man bragged about the beatings he got from his mother. Knowing what he was like, she interrupted him – and asked whether he would be such a violent man if not for his mother’s abuse! Did she have a point?

Hooks, an author and professor, researched the topic – and discovered that many adults never recover from the abuse they receive during childhood, and frequently become more violent as adults!

But there’s an answer. Love and abuse don’t mix, hooks argues in her seminal book, “All About Love.” Beating children because “you love them” creates confusion in that child – and teaches them that love comes with violence. 

If they accept that from their parents, they might accept that from strangers – and learn to express love with violence as well.

hooks realized that many parents don’t know what a loving family looks like, so creating that love in their household is difficult. But if we reflect on the abuse we received when young, we can spare our children the same fate!

Beating children as a form of discipline is staple in our communities, but maybe it’s time to change that. To improve Black well-being, we need Black adults who know how to love themselves – and the Black people around them.

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