A Critical Race Theory Approach to Children’s Rights

43 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2022

See all articles by Jessica Dixon Weaver

Jessica Dixon Weaver

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2022


This Article uses critical race theory to analyze the impact of corporal punishment and physical child abuse on African American children’s rights in the United States. From an international perspective, the banning of corporal punishment is consistent with multidisciplinary research about the negative effects of physical discipline on children. However, throughout United States history, African American parenting oftentimes utilizes physical discipline to teach children strict compliance with authority in order to prevent deadly violence from being inflicted upon them by white people. Using critical race theory concepts, this Article illustrates how state endorsement of corporal punishment within the family and structural racism within the family regulation system diminishes the parental rights of many African American parents, as well as the rights of African American children. Exploring the thin line between reasonable parental discipline and abuse, this Article concludes that a federal ban on corporal punishment is not enough to protect African American children from harm or maintain their family integrity. When state sanctioned violence against African American children and adults by police and white citizens is still prevalent, the United States must also recognize and reconcile the legal system’s role in creating communities where African American bodies are often bound by violence and are yet to be freed.

Keywords: Critical race theory, African American Children, Children's rights, African American Parents, Corporal punishment

Suggested Citation

Weaver, Jessica Dixon, A Critical Race Theory Approach to Children’s Rights (2022). 71 Am. U. L. Rev. 1855 (2022), SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 556, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4148877

Jessica Dixon Weaver (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
2147682641 (Phone)
2147683142 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.smu.edu/Law/Faculty/Profiles/Weaver-Jessica-Dixon

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