“We’re going to raise a lost generation of children unless they are properly disciplined and properly spanked.”  -Charles Eddie Wiseman

         For those that may not know, in addition to my occupation as a professional photographer, I also make a living working with children in various schools (Hey…a Brotha’s gotta pay the bills). My specialty? Counseling for children who have psychological, emotional and neurological disorders. In most cases, within hours of meeting with my clients, I come to the conclusion that the various diagnosis that the respective psychologists and psychiatrists find are mostly embellished-and we’re dealing not with a mentally unstable patient…but simply just another bad ass kid. Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder are some of the more common things that doctors will tell you your kids have as an excuse for their costly services and various medications. Once you meet the family, it’s clear where it comes from. It’s almost always the same story. A child, or one of many children, groomed in a single-parent home with very little or no discipline at all. It’s a recipe for disaster and sometimes I look into the eyes of today’s youth and in many of them…I see the felons of tomorrow.
         I was born in 1979. That would make me a part of the last generation of kids who truly knew what discipline was. Trained in the deadly ancient art known as the ass whoopin’, and a firm believer in the benefits of its use. Now don’t get me wrong- there’s a huge difference between disciplining a child and whooping a child’s ass. The key in my opinion is combining Nature & Nurture. Constantly dishing out a well-deserved ass-whoopin’ to a child without any form of nurturing or explanation is sure to have bad aftereffects. Too much nurturing to a bad-ass kid with the absence of discipline will surely come back to bite you in the ass sooner or later. In my opinion, if one wants to raise a well-mannered child, there must be a good distribution of both. I say “in my opinion” because many professionals and non-professionals believe the stigma that different races raise their children differently. The stereotype is that African American families will physically beat their children as a means of discipline, while White families refuse to beat or spank their children; they say the form of discipline that we’ve been using for generations is really abuse. So which philosophy is right and which philosophy is wrong?

“Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak.”  -Dr. Anon

         Growing up, I was on the receiving end on what must have been a thousand ass-whoopings…courtesy of my insane father. I say insane because I’d get beatings for trivial things-which ranged from getting C’s in school to Sports. Ronald Gray Sr. always wanted to play Professional Basketball, but his height and weight kept him from fulfilling that dream; and so he decided that he’d try and live his dreams through his only son. I recall our home being adorned with innumerable trophies of his accomplishments-some as tall as me. He pushed me towards sports the way that many fathers do with their sons- however as a youth, I wasn’t interested in dribbling a basketball, but rather expressing myself through art. I had a gift that needed to be cultivated. My drawings were referred to as “monkey men” and destroyed. My vast collection of toys got thrown away and he gave me a basketball when I was six years old. The only fatherly advice that followed was to “go down the street and play ball.”
         At that age, I wasn’t interested in basketball. Going down the street to the John F. McCloskey playground in Philadelphia and playing Basketball with kids-some twice my size-I’d sooner venture down into the basement to play freeze tag with Freddy Kruger. Eventually, I was forced to go and practice on my game. After all…every male in the Gray family played basketball, and my insane father would not let his son be the exception. So there I was; an awkward, skinny kid… struggling against older, taller kids on the basketball courts, with the embarrassment of my father on the sidelines screaming instructions with promises of what would happen when we got back home if I didn’t play better defense.
         The licentious beatings that I sustained at the hands on my father were nothing short of abuse-and I understand the need for children today to receive the nurture that I never did. I grew up an emotional wreck and someone who missed out on many things from his youth- a socially awkward kid that continued on that path until college. Was I a bad child? No. But I remember talking to my Mother teary-eyed and wondering why after beatings, which left marks and bruises all along my back, Chest, arms and legs. Can’t forget my father’s heavy hands or the way I would be kicked if I fell to the ground. The phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child” is often incorrectly attributed to the Bible, however I read that it first appeared in a poem by Samuel Butler in 1664. Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible (The Old Testament) speak on corporal punishment for a child and Christians often quote those scriptures to this day:
Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)." ulletProv 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." ulletProv 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." ulletProv 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." ulletProv 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
ullet      Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

         We’ve all seen those TV shows and episodes of Maury with out of control kids who are disrespectful to their parents, essentially stressing them into early graves. So why is it that some parents absolutely refuse to whoop a bad kid’s ass? Are they afraid of being investigated for abuse? Are they afraid of their children? Or do they think that behaviors of non-compliance from small children are in fact normal behaviors? I read an interview on the web from Dr. Ralph Welsh, who has given psychological exams to over 2,000 delinquents. He says, “Spanking does for a child’s development what wife-beating does for a relationship.” Dr. Welsh also goes on to explain that as the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent’s developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act.
         Alvin Poussaint, M.D, who is a Professor of Psychiatry and Harvard Medical School said, “Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence towards a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children.”
         But I wonder how many of these professionals have children? And even more importantly, how many of these professionals have bad children? And I know some of you guys out there are thinking, Ron…there’s no such thing as a bad child. Fuck that. I’ve worked at schools in North Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia and now suburban Pennsylvania at predominantly white Schools. There is such a thing as a bad-ass kid and these parents are acting as though they’re children are allergic to leather the way they refuse to beat these damn kids.  I’m actually beginning to see more and more black families that refuse to beat their kids. Sheeee-it…when I was growing up, if you were disrespectful to a stranger who was an adult, they were likely to give you some belt action-then you’d go home and get beat again by your parents for disrespecting adults. Today, when teachers call parents with reports of their children misbehaving, you have parents who come up to the school irate, ready to confront a teacher for calling their cell…totally negating the fact that their out of control kid was running amok at school like the antichrist.
         Today we’re witnessing a generation of children who are on various medications to control aggression, when all they need is disciplinary action. Children take drugs like Ritalin, which may decrease impulsive behavior, but in turn makes them so lethargic in classes that they often struggle to stay focused and awake-the very same things they are in school to do. It’s like the man who takes Viagra for erectile dysfunction, but the side effect is loss of hearing and sometimes problems with sight and a racing heart. So now you hafta decide if you wanna be able to get some ass…or be able to see properly and hear. (shaking my head)
         Merely days ago, while conducting a home observation, I witnessed a small child displaying a tantrum when told to complete a homework assignment. The Mother (who has no control of the situation) began to count backwards from five. I shook my head and thought about my childhood for a moment. The only counting my Jamaican-American parents would have been doing for me would have been a Boxing Referee’s ten count because I was on the floor knocked unconscious for acting up. I focused in on the situation at hand-a Mother was preparing dinner for her three bad-ass kids while one was giving her hell and refusing to do homework. I watched intently and recorded how she would choose to deal with the situation. One of them walked over to her, voicing his displeasure and telling her that he “wasn’t gonna do it.” He instead he wanted to go into his room and play with his PlayStation 3. She informed him that she was cooking their favorite meal and attempted to be stern (probably because I was there), telling him that he had until the count of five to do the homework. With a devilish smirk on his face, he turned to the stainless steel pot of simmering dinner…and spat in it! Time itself stood still, as I wondered to myself if I was dreaming or did this little bastard just do the unthinkable! His actions shocked me, but what was more shocking was the Mother’s reaction. Nothing. All I could think of was a kid who received ass-whoopings would have never have done that.
         I was once told “A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn’t like the tune.” If I were against beatings for children, the sight of that would have make me the enforcer that Joe Jackson was to the late Michael Jackson. There are idiots out there that feel as though taking a kid’s pants down and beating them across the butt is degrading. There are those who believe that it’s abusive. Some say that spankings on the butt cause psychological problems, and it doesn’t work-it just scares them into listening. But what about a parent that refuses to do it and becomes fearful of what their child may one day do to them? What about the Psychological aftereffects that Mother will probably have now? The issue isn’t a father who is spanking a 16-year-old female on the buttocks (which would be really weird) but rather spoiled brats who do not understand the concept of authority. In life, we must assume responsibility for our actions.
         I always read about young killers who evade police for weeks and sometimes even months and are found at their parent’s home. There will be rewards offered and notices in newspapers and various forms of media seeking their capture, and somehow their parents allow them to stay in the home, eating a bowl of CAP’N Crunch, and playing videogames. These were once children who never had to accept responsibility for their actions. In the parent’s eyes, it was always someone else’s fault. It was the white man, it was the school system, it was racism, the teacher, the other students. It was always anyone but them. Their child never had to face the music and accept responsibility for anything. They refused to administer the proper discipline, so the Police Department will. They refused to make them responsible, so now a Judge will. They refused to oversee their growth, so now the Warden will. If you’re never forced to accept responsibility as a child, it becomes easy to one day take a life as an adult and blame someone else. Someone once said, “The trouble with children is that they’re not returnable.”
We can’t return them or exchange them, but we can damn sure instill the proper morals in them, and if they get outta line…we can whoop that ass before it’s too late. Start beating these bad-ass kids.

"At this time in the United States, the only people who can smack someone on the buttocks as part of their paid professional duties are schoolteachers, prostitutes and performers in the pornography filming industry." –Unknown

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

The Random Thought Blog archive can be previewed at http://www.thegrayareas.com


Volume 48: The Delusional Diva Syndrome

Note: On yet another uneventful Saturday night, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of social events that Philadelphia offered for the young professional crowd. The words “grown & sexy” are often used to describe the ambiance of Philadelphia nightlife locations, though most cater to the futile, culturally challenged and superficial. There are organizations that throw events with the young professional in mind, but those parties, networking functions, and spoken word events are held at best once a month-unlike the frequent access of the club scene- and are still inhabited with individuals who personify everything but the young professional crowd. Imagine being at a social networking event, exchanging business cards with a sista pursuing her Master’s in Chemistry while teaching 9th grade Science, only to have the conversation interrupted by someone who sells ecstasy pills out of the trunk of a 1992 Ford Crown Victoria and dropped out of the 9th grade. Today it seems as though any and everyone with some form of employment considers themselves a young professional. Women often think of themselves as “Divas” because they have their own worldly possessions, while men often feel as though they are the cream of the crop- simply because they’re employed, with a roof over their heads and a working automobile. A friend and fellow Cheyney alum, John Lott (who really should consider starting a blog or book of his own) had a facebook status that questioned women with a “Delusional Diva Syndrome” or D.D.S. It really made me think about those who perpetrate the identity of the young professional male and the modern day Diva. Have our standards dropped for what is considered professional? Or is our society doomed to be overpopulated with a legion of arrogant bastards who are delusional about their worth?

“When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed they are not in it.”   -Bernard Bailey

         William Shakespeare once said, “Conceit, more rich in matter than in words, brags of his substance; they are but beggars who can count their worth.
No one in modern day society imposes their self-conceit more than the self proclaimed Young Professional Male-who believes he is God’s gift to women-and the sista who suffers from Delusional Diva Syndrome. Diva is the Italian word originally used to describe the woman of rare, outstanding talent. The word was used to describe the celebrated female singers in opera theatre and popular music. Today, it is one of the most overused words permeating the mainstream media since the emergence of “hater.”
         What does it mean to be delusional? In psychology, a delusion is an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary; it’s a false belief or opinion. In psychiatry, it is often a symptom of mental illness. Delusions of grandeur-which is common in paranoia-is the delusion that you are much greater and more powerful and influential than you really are. Sound like anyone you may know?
The Delusional Diva often has a physical appearance that is mediocre at best, yet she finds flaws in everyone else. Oftentimes the delusional diva is a woman of average looks, who may have a physical asset that warrants the attention of men-usually a rotund ass-and gives her the delusion that the attention that she receives has anything to do with how she looks. The woman who suffers from D.S.S may also hide behind designer fashions, advanced degrees, or even membership into a sorority or social club. Some external signs are resume dropping-the act of continually talking about themselves, their accolades and accomplishments. Resume dropping-although impressive to the mediocre mind, merely shows the Educated Negro that many delusional divas seek approval and are so vain that they care about the opinions of the same individuals that they may not even care about. The delusional diva can also be a religious nut…a type of Holy Roller. She takes the I Am Holier Than Thou approach to many things and tries to recite biblical scripture to negate her own inconsistencies. At the end of the day, she’s an idiot too.

The world tolerates conceit from those who are successful, but not from anybody else.
 –John Blake
         It’s not just the females who fall into the delusion of believing that they’re greater and more influential than they are. There are plenty of men who believe that they represent the cream of the crop, simply because of their perceived status, however live a life merely dollars away from total bankruptcy. A young professional by definition is a young city or suburban resident with a well-paid professional job and an affluent lifestyle-also known as a yuppie. The young professional is cultured and well spoken. The true young professional also knows that self-conceit ultimately may lead to self- destruction. Because of that, the young professional may also have an equal level of humility to match. He doesn’t look at others with contempt, but rather attempts to motivate.
         Seems like any idiot with a job today vainly considers himself a young professional, but what is a young professional without a professional job? Can a Dominoes Pizza Delivery boy be considered a young professional? I’m sure that somewhere out there, someone will plead their case, but upon asking a variety of my female friends…the answer was a resounding “No.”
“Conceit is God’s gift to little men.”   –Bruce Barton
         What is it that makes a man perpetrate professionalism? In a word: Women. Women are attracted to status and men seek status to impress the woman. When a man doesn’t have status, cannot gain it, or is unwilling to seek it, he’ll do what comes naturally…he’ll FRONT.
We’ve all seen it. We all know the man that dons the latest fashions from Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, but makes $10 an hour. Ladies who frequent the club are more than familiar with the guy who purchases drinks and makes it rain, while the bill collectors make it thunderstorm at his residence with invoices. Every year I see more people with $50,000 cars, but can barely afford to fill them up once a week with the premium gas they require. What’s
it worth to take on a $700 car note and have to live at home in order to do so?
         To me, the title of young professional is not just in the current status that one has acquired or how much the current job pays-but it’s also about the ambition that they display. A college student that may not be employed is still taking steps in the right direction by attending school and can be considered by many a young professional. A blue-collared worker can be considered a young professional by many for making the right moves, working diligently towards his goals, and seeking to constantly evolve. It shouldn’t be something that is reserved for those who’ve attended college…trust me…I know many educated idiots who have not maximized their bachelor’s or master’s degrees.  To be honest, I’m not someone who can pass judgment on others; I’m a photographer…not a brain surgeon. I’m not saving lives ever day or curing any terminal diseases. I’m just a man with a laptop and an opinion. (smiles) Throw in a bunch of people who enjoy reading what goes through my mind and agree with most of it, and you have The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray. In a perfect world, we’d all be young professionals; responsible, culturally aware people who work for what we have and seek greatness in our respective fields. But that’s just wishful thinking. In reality, we are a flawed but interesting society. A society where many of us notice the inconsistencies, but few are willing to address how it makes them feel. So allow me to address what gets on my nerves:

Delusional People want credit for things that the true independent, ambitious people simply do…and they do it without expecting praise or contempt. A Delusional Diva meets a man and says, “I don’t need no man. I got my own house, my own car, and pay my own bills.” Ladies…we don’t care…trust me…
(By the way) Why do women with no substance-however with fat asses-believe that they are so great?!? Don’t you know that the attention you receive is 100% carnal? Men stare at ass all day and that’s why they like you. You keep staring at asses all day…even a baboon’s ass…some perverted thoughts are bound to creep in! (laughing) but getting back to my point….
A Man who handles his business waits to be asked about his personal achievements and possessions. There’s an aura about him that tells you he has his shit together-there’s no need to brag or boast. It’s always strange how men who flaunt their money despise women who like them only for their money.
What some don’t realize is it’s expected of American citizens to have their own property, transportation and job. It’s nice to know that people are doing well for themselves, however it’s not necessary to boast of personal possessions. Instead, be proud of how many lives you’ve touched and people you’ve inspired to do the same.
         The Delusional Man says, “I take care of all of my kids”, however that is expected of all fathers. The Delusional Man believes that he is special because he’s never been arrested and hasn’t been to jail. The delusional man brags of never having to sell drugs; as if having avoided the preferred method of employment of the low-class citizen is an insurmountable task. Ugghhh…
Ok…time to go back to work…stay tuned, guys…

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality: and then there are some who turn one into the other.”  -Douglas H. Everett

Was there anyone that I forgot?

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…
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