CNN anchor Don Lemon, no stranger to the occasional head-scratching observation, took a debate over corporal punishment to a strange place on Wednesday night with a pair of remarks.
Lemon took issue with his colleague Chris Cuomo, who argued that research clearly shows that spanking children is not effective discipline.
He told Cuomo that his parents used corporal punishment on him and he, in turn, employed similar methods on his pet.
“Listen, I went to training — I hate to do this — with my dog, and fear is the same thing,” Lemon said. “You have to teach who’s in control.”
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s fear or what have you, I’m saying this, because it stops you from doing it,” he added.
Lemon eventually admitted that the child abuse allegations against Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson have caused him to “evolve” on the matter; he just doesn’t think spanking should be completely taken off the table.
The anchor said Peterson’s alleged abuse has also prompted him to examine the historical nature of the issue.
“Especially for me as an African-American, because the question is where did you learn that from? Was that learned from the slave master? Getting the switch? Being beaten?” Lemon asked.
That point left Cuomo and CNN’s Alisyn Camerota a bit confused.
“How is that a rationale?” Cuomo said. “Help me with this. Is this white man’s ignorance? I keep hearing this. Well, maybe it was passed down from slave culture. Why would that be a rationale to continue a practice like this? Isn’t that the last thing you would want to continue?”
“Because Chris, the slaves were beaten and some people had to go and get the whip,” Lemon responded.