Last week the NAACP launched an investigation into the arrest of Creflo Dollar, an Atlanta mega church pastor accused of assaulting and battering his fifteen year old daughter. In a press statement, Fayette County NAACP President Jon Jones, said that the goal of their investigation is to ensure that Pastor Dollar is allowed to be a ‘responsible parent and discipline his children’, because in their view his case highlights the ‘dilemma’ parents face between ‘disciplining’ their children and possibly being accused of a crime or allowing their children to be disciplined by the criminal justice system. This is a real dilemma for many parents of course, but using the Creflo Dollar case to highlight this challenge is an insult to black parents. Pastor Dollar is accused of behavior that should get any parent arrested and the last thing we need is a premiere Civil Rights organization suggesting otherwise especially not in the name of ‘sensitivity’ or ‘freedom, equality, and justice’.
The first question that comes to mind after reading Mr. Jones’s statement in its entirety is, ‘How much violence against children is acceptable in the NAACP’s view?’ Pastor Dollar is accused of slapping (or punching), choking, and slamming his fifteen year old daughter to the floor, then beating her with a shoe. Is this the kind of ‘responsible disciplining’ that NAACP is advocating? Are black parents really being forced to choose between the aforementioned behavior or being ‘apathetic, lax or indifferent’? Of course not, but in making Mr. Dollar the face of the ‘dilemma’, they are either cosigning his behavior or implying that his accusers are being dishonest, which brings to mind another even more disturbing question, which is ‘How much evidence does the NAACP think our children need to present in order for the police to protect them from violence?’
Black children – especially girls – are already more likely to suffer abuse than children from other communities, so if anything we should want the police to be more vigilant in their efforts to protect them not less, but in the NAACP’s view the problem of children who ‘believe they can call the police at any time to stop unwanted discipline‘ complicates matters. Perhaps, that’s true in some cases but in the case of Pastor Dollar, his nineteen year old daughter corroborated the story of her younger sister, the alleged victim. Neither of them were high or drunk. Neither have a history of making false reports. So, how much evidence did they need to provide and why should our children have to meet and overcome a higher burden of proof than children of other communities?
As is the case with most arrests, the accused and the alleged victim tell different stories. Pastor Dollar proclaims his innocence, admitting only to ‘spanking’ his daughter, not choking or slapping her. He says the mark on her neck is not from trauma, but is actually an old ‘ezcema’ scar and the nineteen year old witness also changed her statement when she realized her father was about to be arrested, suggesting that she was trying to protect him. These facts might be enough to prove him innocent, but the cops on the scene can’t make that determination. That’s why we have courts.
Parents no doubt have challenges and of course if we use our imaginations or read history, we can conceive of a dystopian future in which children have turned against parents, sort of like Pavlik Morozov, a thirteen year old Russian boy who in 1932 informed on his family for hoarding food and was killed by them in retaliation. Stalin privately thought the boy a ‘little pig’ for ratting out his folks, but used him in propaganda campaigns nonetheless to inspire other Soviet children to behave similarly. I think we can all agree that things are not this tight our communities, but perhaps we can imagine a future in which the NAACP’s ‘training’ has gone into effect and the police have created new or different standards for child abuse in our communities. Won’t those standards allow more violence against our children than others in the name of ‘sensitivity’? And won’t in the name of ‘equality’ they demand that our kids present more evidence than others to prove they are being abused? This might not be the kind of ‘justice’ that our families need.
Of course Pastor Dollar deserves his day in court like everyone else, but in the meantime we – especially the men in our community – should not equivocate. There is no context in which it is acceptable for an adult to slap and choke a child. Period. If a child makes that accusation – especially if they have witnesses – the accused should be arrested. To imply that treating our kids in this way is within the realm of ‘responsible disciplining’ is an attack, not only on our race, but also on our humanity.