On education, poverty, and beating your children

I am so sick of people with zero worldly experience talking out their ass about things they know nothing about. Making assumptions about poor people. Making assumptions about Arabs and terrorism. Making assumptions about black people. Making assumptions about people who did not go to college.

There is another thread here on the Dope where a member, with whom I have no problem personally, he could be anybody, I don’t care – but he just assumes that “uneducated” people (mind you, this is both high-school dropouts AND graduates!) beat their children more than college graduates. He is confused because he can’t find any information or studies online to correlate what he has always seen on television!

Despite the fact that this poster takes pains to say that by uneducated, he doesn’t mean “poor,” that’s the way it often pans out these days, whether he wants to say so or not. The days of someone growing up without shoes or enough to eat, and yet ending up someday in the Fortune 500, are mostly behind us. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that this person, and many more just like him, don’t actually know and may have never met anyone who is “uneducated” in the way he is thinking, and who beats their kids. A college education costs a prodigious amount of money these days, and it’s not just future wifebeater-wearing, gaptoothed, alcoholic droolers who can’t afford it.

Child abuse mostly is not something people do because they don’t know it’s wrong. I wonder if people ever consider that the same folks they are assuming must be beating their kids, are also far more likely to be beaten up by police? (And that cops, who presumably have been to college, are 2-4 times as likely to beat their kids as the rest of us?) I’m not saying that either one of those facts ever excuses anyone from hitting a child, ever. I am saying that you just can’t generalize about things like that, and furthermore those kind of goofy superficial classifications are only going to distract you COMPLETELY from seeing more fundamental truths. Stop worrying about what those poor folks are doing in their steamy dens of iniquity! Instead, ask yourself why does ANYBODY hits a child in what we consider a free and enlightened nation? Why does anybody molest a child in what we consider an immaculate house of worship? Why would any government, ever, put radium in orphans’ milk?

Besides, if a major political figure in America, and other major political figures supporting him, think it is “genius” for a billionaire to figure out how to rob his own nation of the tax money required by law, money which benefits all, money that is an agreed-upon contribution of a civil society towards the perfectly understandable goal of not living in anarchy – then I submit to you that this “education” and “intelligence” we value so highly might not be conferring the absolute altruism that people think it does. Oh, but he doesn’t beat his kids; he just gropes women.

And another thing: stop writing otherwise decent science fiction with the same old tired Middle Eastern/ Muslim terrorists! In fact, stop doing it in fiction at all! Swear to God, what if everybody’s so busy sweating some poor sweet soul in a burka that they COMPLETELY MISS the crazed evil bomber who is Norweigan or Canadian or just a stupid American white guy? I know lots of Muslim, Middle Eastern, and African people, and I promise you, they all just want to live their life & raise their kids in peace. They may very well have more respect for your religion than a lot of people have for theirs. (Well, they may not be up on Pastafarianism. But I daresay they would probably just shake their head and smile.)

When I was growing up, I experienced profound cognitive dissonance at the things my parents said about black folks when they demonstrably didn’t know any. I thought that was bogus, and I decided not to enter into life situations with preconceived notions about any whole group or class of people. The first time I was robbed, yes it was a black guy; but it was also a black couple who found me crying and walked me home safely. Well duh, I was in a black neighborhood. Don’t you see?

Here is my background, in case you want to try to pigeonhole me: I grew up in a middle class family. I am white. I took a couple of college classes as an adult, got all A’s, no degree. I make less than $12,000 a year. I raised a son by myself who is a wonderful, kind, employed person.

It’s been 15 years since 9/11 & people are still this ignorant about islam?
Of course there are muslims who are wonderful people (my family worked for a really nice muslim couple for many years), but it’s the ideology that’s bad.
I’m personally getting really sick & tired of “useless idiots” & other apologists for islam who buy into islamic propaganda without checking the sources for themselves. I mean it’s so easy to access the quran & sunnah (muhammad’s life & practices) online. quran.com sunnah.com That’s it, it’s super easy folks! So any time you hear something that might sound like hate speech or propaganda, go check the sources for yourselves.

If the majority of worldwide terrorist attacks are islamic, that should make you sit up & pay attention & start thinking about why, instead of burying your head int he sand & trying to forget it exists, while it steamrolls right over you.
The quran’s verses of violence

Quran 4:95 (Sahih International)
Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] - other than the disabled - and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward
As for child abuse or any other kind really, they do it because they are filled with hate, temporarily or chronically, at something that’s gone wrong in their lives & usually take it out on an easy target.

It’s the ideology of the subset of Muslims who are extremist and promote violence that is bad, not the ideology of Islam as a whole. It’s just as easy to find quotes in the Bible that could be used to promote violence as it is for the Quran, and just as easy to find quotes in the Quran that promote peaceful behavior as it is in the Bible. Further, there were times in history in which the Christian world was, in general, more violent and less tolerant than the Islamic world. It’s a quirk of history and a result of various geopolitical and economic forces that have led to a disparate number of violent extremists being associated with Islam, not something special about Islam. The religion itself isn’t special any more than Christianity is – it’s very easy to justify violence in both religions, and very easy to justify peaceful behavior in both religions.

This is pretty old, but


And this cite mentions “harsh discipline” as a factor in later childhood outcomes, and is correlated to socioeconomic status..


Good for you, and for him.


Well I am college educated and I plan on beating my children. Just to even out the stats.


The OP is also missing the fact that most people who physically strike their children do not consider it child abuse. And that, while it is not an overwhelming difference, corporeal punishment is more acceptable by those with less education. Here is the survey results from 2014 asking if it is sometimes necessary to give children a “Good, Hard Spanking.”

Is that child abuse? Depends on who you ask. For me, I don’t hit my kids and have never felt the need to. I look at the research and conclude that at best, if done properly, corporeal punishment can be similarly effective and safe as compared to other discipline methods and conclude that it is not worth it. It is never been shown to be more effective, so why inflict pain on my children? But others disagree. And the less education someone has, the more likely they are to accept what they experienced as children as the proper way and not question it.

I have no doubt there are well educated parents that don’t spare the rod, but I don’t think it’s controversial to believe poor/under-educated parents are more likely to use violent means to rectify their children. This would be for a variety of reasons that go well beyond the patronizing ‘they just don’t know any better’.

I beat my kids purely for fun.

Well, don’t keep us in suspense. Are you college educated, or not?

This is a flat-out unfair characterization of Wesley and his question. I don’t know his socioeconomic background, but I can tell you mine - born to a poor, educated single mother who abused the shit out of me, in a trailer park neighborhood full of kids whose poor, uneducated parents abused the shit out of them. While I was never brutally beaten, that was a pretty regular thing in the culture where I grew up. I witnessed other kids get the shit beat out of them multiple times. That’s not even getting into the neglect and sexual abuse.

There does appear to be a correlation between poverty and all types of violence. Why? Not because ‘‘poor people are dumb and violent’’ but because being poor is insanely stressful, and it’s more likely that under insane amounts of stress you will lash out at the people you love, especially if you had a similar upbringing. As any person working actively to end child abuse and domestic violence will tell you, a huge part of the picture is alleviating poverty, particularly the systemic oppression of people based on race and gender that heaps even more stress onto the already existing stress of poverty. It’s no more bigoted to acknowledge higher levels of abuse among poor people than it is to recognize the statistical reality that black children are disproportionately abused relative to white children. To deny those statistical realities is, in essence, to ignore that the nature of the problem is systemic and that only systemic changes can make an enduring impact.

As for me, growing up with all that, I’d sooner cut off my left arm than hit, physically threaten, verbally berate, or neglect a child. I felt that way long before I earned my degrees.

Low SES is positively correlated with intermittent explosive disorder, if not other impulse disorders that lead to violence, too.

There’s another contributing factor, which is that poor impulse control can lead to both child abuse and poverty.

It’s a complicated web of suck.

And cyclical. Poverty inhibits proper brain development. If you add in physical abuse you may even have brain damage which increases the likelihood of poorer impulse control, thus perpetuating poverty and abuse.

No, we don’t all turn out like that. Not every poor family – or community – perpetuates abuse. And certainly abuse happens across all socio-economic conditions. But these are real issues that shouldn’t be dismissed on the basis of classism.

Beating you child isn’t always child abuse … if they’re over 18 it’s 4th degree assault …

I also think there’s an idea in many poor/oppressed communities that teaching kids to give in to authority is a crucial part of saving their life. And I am not sure that’s incorrect.

If it helps, I’ll beat your children too. Mine hit back hard…and it hurts.

First issue - child abuse is positively correlated with poverty. First cite I found with a 30 second Google search:

Second - the bag guy of the day (woe is Islam):

Yes, today the leading bad guy is Islamic somehow.
Older science fiction had the commies (most of Jerry Pournelle’s work, for example). You can take the Honor Harrington series by Weber and find plenty of bad guys on the “progressive” side as well.
Several years ago its was IRA terrorists in the media.
South American drug dealers are always good for a scare.
Racist white country boys are another favorite trope.

While it sucks when it is your ox being gored, the next wave of bad guys in fiction will no doubt be related to the next wave of bad guys in the press. I think we are in for some more “evil large corporation” bad guys now.

Isolating education and its risk factors for child abuse and domestic violence is not easy. However income and child abuse are connected.


As are income and/or education and domestic violence rates.

Sorry. The truth hurts sometimes.