Toya Graham is being touted as a national hero while a storm is raging. Injustice, discrimination, murder, and corruption seem to be everyday elements of black life. On any given day, we are being murdered or brutalized. This, unfortunately, hasn’t gotten any better since slavery. “Reckless eyeballing” laws that were prevalent during the Jim Crow era- still rears its ugly head with regard to black interaction with the police. Let me preface my post with saying- I know some amazing police officers who do their jobs with care and compassion but we aren’t talking about them. We ARE talking about those assholes that diminish black life to trash in the street. The ones that misuse authority for their own devious needs.
Throughout our tenure in this country, black people have fought tirelessly and voraciously even with the understanding that they would more than likely be executed. The Marroons were notorious for being fearless and relentless in terms of fighting for their freedom. Denmark Vesey, a man who had won the money to buy his freedom, planned a rebellion until he was betrayed by a coward. The most celebrated revolt in American History was organized by Nat Turner- which started with only 5 people including him. These warriors had heart. They were willing to fight for their freedom and the freedom of others. The Civil Rights era was no different. Black people- young and old were tired of having their family members lynched, raped, decapitated, beaten and mutilated. During this time, the youth were forging and heading movements to speak and act out against injustice and the devastating brutality that our elders were facing daily. They held strong.
Fast forward to Baltimore 2015- one of the latest incidences of calamitous events on the Black American timeline of “mierda” was a video of Toya Graham slapping and beating the hell out of her son has gone viral. White news outlets and even Oprah have lauded her a heroine.
*rolls my eyes until they hurt*
What did she do exactly? She dismissed her son’s anger and devalued his place in this world just as the Baltimore Police Department did when they murdered Freddie Gray. Before some mother says that she acted properly by beating him- HEAR ME OUT! I have spanked my daughter so I am not against corporal punishment per se. I don’t beat my daughter and I, rarely, have had to put my hands on her. I, also, wouldn’t dream of killing her warrior spirit. I understand her fear of losing her son. That is a very real sentiment for most parents. I would assume that but here’s my issue with Ms. Graham. This young black man expressed his anger and discontent with a system that is assassinating brothers- young and old, like it’s going out of style and all this woman could think to say (after slapping him up) was, “What did they (the police) do to YOU?”
Are you freaking kidding me? Instead of asserting to her son that he was ENTITLED to feel this way because he was correct. So Toya Graham would rather him cower and live in fear that they “might kill him” if he expresses outrage or takes a stand? Does she NOT realize that whether he takes a stand or not- he IS a target already? Is she so caught up by the praises of a “poor, jobless single black mother of 6” by White America, the media and some silly bandwagon riding blacks that she would sacrifice the fighting spirit of her son? Why did she not feel a surge of pride when she saw her son taking a stand like his elders before him? Has she ever heard of Cato’s Rebellion or Toussaint L’Ouverture (he inspired many of the revolts in the States)? Her son showed great heart and she didn’t think that she could’ve redirected his warrior spirit to perhaps be a part of another aspect of the movement of change in order to calm her own fears of losing him.
Ironically, the initiators of the protest in Baltimore were black high school students. It quickly escalated of course but to think that young black kids, who are simply fed up with the bullshit, had the heart to engage in civil disobedience to initiate change where they lived is PHENOMENAL! We can discount their ages and levels of maturity. We can attribute the bravery that they displayed to their naivety but we would be doing those youngsters a great disservice. They managed to bring blacks from around the nation to converge upon Baltimore with furor and purpose. Michael Singleton was one of those kids and I hope that someone, hopefully his mother, will get a clue and continue to cultivate that fire. I salute you, young brother!