You really don't want to go there, dun. It's now cliche for white folks looking to justify their own paranoia and fears to invoke rowdy black kids on the train, with no parents, acting a fool. Word up, I hate it to. But my ability to see this threw a racial lens is undercut by one observable fact--white kids act a fool in full view of their parents. In the last three months, I've seen a white child hit his mother, tell her mother to shut up, and run up and down a subway car, ignoring his parents pleas to stop. Yesterday, on my plane to Denver, I watched a white kid get up and walk the aisle--while the plane was ascending. He kept going even after the stewardess warned him.

I've been watching scenes like this for much of my adult life, and there are some pretty good stats which show that white parents are much more permissive than black parents. This doesn't just mean that black parents are more likely to spank (though they are) but punishment in general:

...black parents punish their children more than white parents in all ways. If you're black and you misbehave, you're both more likely to get spanked and more likely to lose your allowance than your white neighbor, who in turn is both more likely to get spanked and more likely to lose his allowance than the Hispanic kid down the street. So on average, poor people spank more and withdraw allowances less, whereas black people spank more and withdraw allowances more.

Anyway, it's always amazes me how white folks--and black folks--will talk about how black kids act in public, but miss the obvious parallel among white folks. I know the white kid with his mother is just rude, while the black kid is "scary," but to me, they're just annoying--both of them. And that brings me back to a sort of equality I can embrace--Black and white folks, please yoke up your kids, so I don't have to.

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