Listeners Speak Out On Corporal Punishment

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, the audience has their say on whether spanking should be outlawed in the U.S. Also, one listener says a Senate resolution calling on President Obama to apologize for injustices toward Native Americans by the federal government is inadequate.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Spanking or corporal punishment - should it be illegal in the U.S.?

Now Michel, in this week's parenting roundtable, we talked about how the practice has been outlawed in Sweden for 30 years. Two dozen other countries have followed, banning corporal punishment at home, and even more ban it at school.

Our moms took up the question, and for the most part, they did not think that would fly here in the States, and they believe spanking could be an act of love. Here's regular contributor Dani Tucker.

DANI TUCKER: When I see parents who care about their kids correct their child with spanking, they're doing it in love. It hurt me just as much it did to spank DeVaughn and Imani, but I knew I had to do it if they got out of control. I was not abusive, and then I explained to them why I tapped your behind.

MARTIN: Lee, this conversation, as you might imagine, led listeners to rush to our Web site with their views. Here's a note from Teresa(ph). She writes: I'm a Latina who is greatly disturbed by how comfortable many Latinos, African-Americans and islanders feel with spanking. Why do we feel that being afraid of our parents is a respectful thing to be? My mother spanked, and the threat of physical harm was always present. Guess what? I really don't like her very much. Maybe what kids need is some degree of quality engagement with their parents.

HILL: Thanks, Teresa, but not everyone agree with that. I'll read a post here from William(ph). My wife and I have five adult children. At some time in their early years, spanking was used sparingly to correct behavior that went over the line. All my children are well-respected and respect others. And when I say spanking was used, it was done with love and restraint. Sorry, but time out and reality therapy don't work all the time.

MARTIN: Thank you, William. You know that's my son's name.

HILL: Yeah, it is.

MARTIN: Yeah. Moving on, we talked about - he didn't write this, I don't think.

HILL: No, no, I doubt.

MARTIN: I don't think that's his perspective. Moving on, we talked about how the U.S. Senate last week issued a resolution that calls on President Obama to formally apologize for injustices inflicted upon Native Americans by the federal government. Some think such an apology is unnecessary; others say it's not enough.

Blogger Richard(ph) is included among that group of others. He posted to our online forum. I'll read what he has to say. He wrote: An apology can only be a very bad joke. For a nation who deliberately stole the Native Americans' land, a simple apology is inadequate. The least America can do is give South Dakota back. Oh. Well, thank you Richard. Lee, any updates?

HILL: Yes. Earlier this week we spoke about how, for the first time since the floor fell out of the economy last year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is flirting with the number 10,000. Here's one of guests in that conversation, Louis Barajas, a financial planner, explaining the significance of the Dow.

LOUIS BARAJAS: I use because the average person out there needs to have an understanding of something that they can get their hands on, and you know, getting a hold of 500 stocks is very difficult. And if they take a look at the Dow and really compare it to their average portfolio, they see that when the Dow is going up, their portfolios are going up. So it's an adequate measure for the average person.

HILL: Well, here's news for a report. Yesterday, the Dow closed at 10,062.94. It's the highest close since last October, the beginning of the financial crisis. So Michel, yesterday's new market high represents a symbolic shift in a more positive direction.

MARTIN: Well, thank you, Lee, and I guess we'll see.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Once again, that's 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web site, where you can read more from fellow listeners and enjoy a simpler social networking experience. Go to npr.org, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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