The Six Stages of Taking an Ass Whipping

By Michael Harriot

I am not an advocate of  ass whippings.

I think it is a remnant of slavery. I think it instills fear. I think it is seeking to teach with violence. I know many of you disagree, and I have laid out other reasons why I am against corporal punishment here, but…

Almost everyone reading this remembers taking an ass whipping from their mama. In a 2014 Harvard University study I never read because it doesn’t exist, sociologists estimate that 79.2% of all ass whippings are given by mothers. Most fathers hands are too heavy, they aren’t that mean or they will be right back after they get a gallon of milk and a pack of cigarettes. Nevertheless, most of us have this shared experience, but if you are one of the lucky few who have never undergone the fear, trepidation and physical exhaustion of an ass whipping, you probably don’t know that there are distinct, separate levels of taking an ass whipping. In an effort to bring us all closer around a common experience, NegusWhoRead breaks down the 6 stages of all ass whippings.

Stage 1: Oblivion During this stage you are doing something that seems perfectly reasonable, or you underestimate the Psychotelekenetic powers of your mother (It states in the Bible that when a Black woman has her first child, Jesus transforms her #BlackGirlMagic into #BlackMamaPowers) Perhaps you have eaten 14 Oreos and you think your mom won’t notice. Maybe you are outside and you don’t realize that the power lamps on your block are broken, so technically the street lights are on and your ass isn’t in the house. You know what that means:

Ass whippings.

Sometimes, you are oblivious because you’re doing something incredibly stupid, so your mom is forced to give you an ass whipping. The worst whipping I ever received was when my mother caught my cousin and I after we had refilled a cigarette lighter with gas from the lawn mower to see if it would work. It didn’t. But because of our steadfast stupidity we thought we might be able to hold the gasoline-filled lighter to our gas stove and…

That’s when my mama walked in.

Stage 2: Realization This is when you realize you are going to get an ass whipping. Sometimes this realization comes because you know you deserve it. She told you before you even went in the store not to ask for anything, and not to touch anything. Now you are standing in the middle of the store asking for the new flavor of Cap’n Crunch with berries and marshmallows and you knock down the entire display. You know what that means:

Ass whipping.

Other times your mother will explicitly tell you, “I’m going to whip your ass when you get home.” Once you realize that you are definitely going to get whipped like you stole something, there is nothing you can do, except make up certain fantastic declarations in your head, like:

“I’m not gon’ cry this time.”

Stage 3: Anticipation  I could always withstand an ass whipping. I just hated the buildup to an ass whipping. There is no greater stomach-wrenching, bubblegut-inducing period in life than waiting for an ass-whipping. It’s like being thirsty, and having Bill Cosby for your bartender–you know what’s coming, you just don’t know when.

One time, when I was about 10 years old, my mom bought me a pair of brand new, pastel yellow linen pants to wear to church. I don’t know how it happened, because he is one of my longtime friends in life, but me and Amp Byrd somehow got into a fight. (His name is Anthony, but by law, in the town where I come from, we had to refer to him as “Amp” until he was 16 years old.) Not a wrestling match–a fight. You know what that meant:

An ass whipping.

My mother didn’t whip me at church. She just yelled at me all the way home asking “who gets into a fight at Church?” and how I messed up my pants, and how she was going to stop buying me pants for church, and how–from now on–she would just buy me army fatigues, since I wanted go to war at church. Then she promised me I was going to get a whipping when I get home.

But when I got home I didn’t get an ass whipping.

Not even after she fixed my sisters and I something to eat.

Not even as we watched TV.

Not even after I took a bath and got ready for bed.

Then, right before my eyes closed, the door opened and there was my mom with a belt.

Remember what you said: You’re not gon’ cry this time.

Stage 4: The Attempted Dodge The greatest thespian in the world is a child who knows an ass whipping is coming. They are nice to everyone. They initiate incredible conversations. They do anything to distract their mothers and siblings from the fact that they have a past due whooping. The worst part of dodging an upcoming butt-cutting is the struggle to convince your brothers and sisters to be good too, because your mama is like a ticking butt-thrashing bomb–anything can make her explode, and rain down ass-whippings everywhere. I used to try to get everybody to pretend that they were asleep, but my sister Robin, in her infinite pettiness, would play along until everyone got drowsy and then yell “Hey! Isn’t Mikey s’posed to be getting a beating!?!”  You just have to pray your mama forgot.

She never forgets.

Remember–you’re not gon’ cry.

Stage 5: The Ass Whipping  The following is the Cliffs Notes for every ass whipping I’ve ever received:

Don’t run from her.
Didn’t she tell you not to…
You bet’ not make her chase you.
She only does this because she loves you.
Why must you make her look like a fool?
She doesn’t spend all her time and money so you can act a fool…
You have to learn…
If you’d act right, we wouldn’t have to go through this.

Oh, yeah–You cry like a motherfucker.

Stage 6 The Aftermath This is when you are sitting on your bed tending to your wounds, which are mostly on your heart, although your right upper thigh still feels like it’s on fire from that last lick. You think you might have broken your left Fibula. You don’t even know if the fibula is in the arm or your leg, you just wish a doctor would tell your mama that you broke your left fibula so you can no longer receive anymore ass whippings.

Your nose is running, and you are sniffing the snot back in your nose while you plot your revenge. The first thing you are going to do is run away. That’ll show them. They’ll never find you and their hearts will be broken forever.

No. Instead, you are going to get rich. Yeah, that’s it. You are going to get filthy rich and then drive back home in your drop-top stretch Range Rover, and you aren’t gonna give them a dime. Yeah, that’s it.

No. You’re going to become famous. Then you are going to make commercials about how your mama used to beat you and embarrass her. Then you’re gonna have some kids and you’re never  gonna beat them.


Good luck with that.

I bet you’re gon’ cry.


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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