During a lecture at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville last week in which she claimed that child abuse originated with white people, Stacey Patton -- a professor of journalism and a Black Lives Matter activist -- also asserted that white are responsible for the abuse and murder of black children by their own parents at a much higher rate than any other racial group.
According to Wendy Wilson at The Tennessee Star, Patton, who teaches multimedia journalism at Morgan University in Maryland, was slated to present a lecture entitled “How Killing Black Children is an American Tradition,” when the University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media, the College of Communication and Information and the College of Child and Family Studies, pulled funding from the speech on Feb. 22.
Thanks to the support of other departments at the publicly-funded university, the talk went ahead regardless. Patton offered data from the federal Children’s Bureau that shows more than 3,600 black children died from maltreatment (2006-2015), mostly at the hands of black women aged 40 years and younger. She went on to say that black kids are are abused and killed at a rate three times greater than any other ethnic or racial group. But she blames whites for it.
According to Patton, child abuse “was not native to the cultures of our West African ancestors prior to their contact with Europeans, prior to the Middle Passage, prior to hundreds of years of slavery and colonialism and a violent introduction to a bastardized version of Christianity." She went on to say that it was in ancient Greece and the European Middle Ages where child abuse originated.
“Long before the first Europeans landed on this continent to build a so-called Christian nation,” Patton said, “they had grown accustomed to doling out sexual and physical violence against their own children, whom the regarded as savages.” said Patton. According to Patton, whites foisted brutality on to other cultures through colonialism and slavery, but treated their own children better so as to make them “potential inheritors of civilization” in contrast to nonwhites slaves.
Patton also claimed that the original peoples of North America, as well as West Africa, did not abuse their children until they met Europeans. Patton said that the Puritans who landed in colonial America were not only “crazy,” but they were “beating each other, torturing kids in the public square and killing the Native Americans.”
“When you are a people under siege, when you fear for your own life and the life of your child, it is easy to misconstrue cruelty as love and protection,” she said. “Far too many of us believe the generational lie that a good whupping strengthens a black child, prepares them for the harsh realities of being black in America.”
Patton has been controversial in the past. For example, in July 2016, she criticized Hillary Clinton in a Washington Post column for saying that Americans should unite and stop racial division. “Clinton’s call for everyone to ‘do the work’ to unite against hatred overlooks the fundamental fact that it’s whites — and only whites — who must work to fix the racist structures in our society.
In another opinion piece in the Washington Post, entitled “Black America should stop forgiving white racists,” Patton criticized the words of forgiveness expressed for Dylan Roof -- a white man who gunned down worshippers at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. She wrote:
“If we really believe that black lives matter, we won’t devalue our reality and cheapen our forgiveness by giving it away so quickly and easily. Black people should learn to embrace our full range of human emotions, vocalize our rage, demand to be heard, and expect accountability. White America needs to earn our forgiveness, as we practice legitimate self-preservation.
“Black lives will never be safe — or truly matter — and we won’t break the centuries long cycle of racial violence if we keep making white racial salvation our responsibility.”