Don Lemon Probably Shouldn’t Be Raising Kids… Or Dogs

Earth Day Title VII

What the Crap?!

Don Lemon Probably Shouldn’t Be Raising Kids… Or Dogs

Imani Gandy

In which Don Lemon says some things and I roll my eyes.

After news hit cyberland that Adrian Peterson beat the crap out of his kid, discussions about corporal punishment and when and whether it’s appropriate to spank children have popped up all over the Internet. Suddenly everyone’s an expert, with many Peterson defenders saying things like, “Well, I was spanked and I turned out OK.”

Did you, though? Did you really? Because you grew up to be a person that thinks this—

The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson then texted the boy’s mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

Peterson also allegedly said via text message to the child’s mother that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” and also acknowledged the injury to the child’s scrotum in a text message, saying, “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”

In further text messages, Peterson allegedly said, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

—is OK, when it’s not. It’s really really not.

Enter Don Lemon, who never met a contrarian position that he wouldn’t take. Lemon—who really just wants you to pull up your pants and act right, Black people—hosted a discussion on CNN about how parents discipline their kids.

Chris Cuomo came to the table with facts. He discussed a 2003 Yale study conducted by Dr. Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., which definitively concluded that spanking is ineffective in the long term. It might make you feel better, and it might make your kid behave right now, but it isn’t doing anything to teach your kid how to behave in the future.

Don’t get mad at me, spanking aficionados! I’m just corporally punishing you upside the head with some facts.

Via Dr. Kazdin, writing for Slate:

Physical discipline doesn’t work over the long run, it has bad side effects, and mild punishment often becomes more severe over time. Opponents of corporal punishment also advance moral and legal arguments. If you hit another adult you can be arrested and sued, after all, so shouldn’t our smallest, weakest citizens have a right to equal or even more-than-equal protection under the law? In this country, if you do the same thing to your dog that you do to your child, you’re more likely to get in trouble for mistreating the dog.

Not to be hindered by facts, Don Lemon chimed in with “I don’t believe that!” Because in Don Lemon’s world, apparently “facts” are just opinions, and anecdotal evidence trumps scientific studies.

He then went on to compare raising children to training dogs and made it abundantly clear that he should be doing neither:

Listen, I went to training — I hate to do this — with my dog, and fear is the same thing. You have to teach who’s in control… It doesn’t matter whether it’s fear or what have you, I’m saying this, because it stops you from doing it.

Oh Don. Don, Don, Don. It does matter whether it’s fear. You don’t want your kids to fear you. You want your kids to trust and respect you.

Also, Don—are you hitting your dog? If you are—WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOUR DOG, DON!?

You’re not supposed to hit a dog. Ask any trainer. Hell, just Google it. Seriously, do it. Type “should you hit your dog” into Google and you’ll find that the resounding answer is “No! What are you, some sort of asshole?” (Well, you won’t find the last part in Google, but it’s a question that I have, because seriously, only assholes hit dogs.)

Look, I don’t have kids, so what do I know. Maybe parents actually want their kids to fear them. Maybe whipping kids until they bleed is a perfectly acceptable child-rearing technique. (No, it’s not.)

But I have raised dogs—well one awesome dog who passed away at the ripe old age of 16, and I’m currently in the process of raising and training another awesome dog—and having read umpteen million dog-training websites and books, I know that you’re not supposed to hit a dog.

When you hit a dog, yes that dog may stop doing whatever it’s doing—like peeing in your shoe—but you’re not teaching your dog not to pee in your shoe by hitting it. You’re teaching your dog to be afraid of you. And wouldn’t you rather have pee-free shoes and a dog that loves you than a dog that cowers every time you go near it, which, by the way, makes it more likely that it’s going to start peeing willy nilly out of fear?

Don Lemon went on to dig himself further and further into a hole until he said—he actually said—that hitting isn’t violent, and demonstrated his newfangled theory by slapping his co-host on the hand. Her response? “Ow!”

Then, having graduated from the School of Did You Seriously Just Say That?!, Lemon went on to say that a slap isn’t violent, getting hit by a car is violent.


So, because Adrian Peterson didn’t run his kid over with a car, what he did isn’t abuse? Is that your point? That can’t be your point. I’m not sure I’m following your point, Don.

Lemon then went on to say that Black folks learned to beat their kids because something-something slave culture, and it was at that point that my brain crawled out of my skull and shuffled into oncoming traffic.

Look, I have a suggestion: Let’s stop excusing what pretty clearly to me is child abuse by saying “Hey, it worked for me!” Also, just buy some new shoes if your dog pees in them, and then maybe put them in a closet. Then give your dog some bacon. Because everyone and everything loves bacon.

Here’s the video. You should watch it. It’s a marvelous display of WTF?!

You’re welcome.

[via TPM]