The "Mother of the Year" was everywhere yesterday. The hero mom, Toya Graham, is seen delivering a serious whoopin' to her 16-year-old son Michael as he retreats down and across a street. CBS news promised a later feature with the mother and son in their living room. Apparently this was the best feel-good piece the broadcasters could find.
Single mother of six Graham is relentless in her assault, hitting her son repeatedly about the head and face after she says she saw him throwing items at the police trying to quell the riots in Baltimore, and acclaim for her violent reaction is fawning. You go girl, they say.
Turn it around for a moment: say the camera caught a Baltimore policeman hitting the rock-throwing 16-year-old upside the head, all the way across a street. Would the cop be our hero?
What if Ms. Graham began whaling on a policeman in the same way she attacked her son? We would call it, "battery upon an officer". What if a white woman did that to her son? We would think she is crazy, strung out or loveless.
We would ask, "Is it any wonder the young man turned out the way he did?", that is, if we actually cared to know how it is 16-year-old Michael came to be throwing rocks at the cops.
What if a 200-pound white woman charged at the (apparently) smaller young black man, reining her fury down upon him? RACISM, no doubt.
Yet the true racism is revealed by the glee shown uniformly in the news. We accept that these people live in a jungle, and are delighted (as when watching a nature film) the elder member jumps a presumptuous younger member for transgressing the group's mores.
But this is not a nature film, and the younger, smaller member will soon outgrow the family member dispensing jungle justice.
A Philedelphia Times Op-Ed column proclaims with attitude, "Baltimore mother in viral video who beat up her son is my kind of mom." "Who beat up son ..." I wonder if that privileged writer also chose to beat up her children? I wonder what the Department of Children and Families would have to say about that?
If you saw Ms. Graham meting out the punishment to her son in another venue, would it look like child abuse? If your son were involved in mayhem, would pummeling his body be your first reaction?
How about if this were a formative experience of a young President Obama after his mama caught him smoking weed? Would we be reveling in the punishment she exacted, calling it righteous? Would we say, "That is the sort of discipline that allowed Barack to aspire to the White House?
More likely, we would cry foul -- a white woman failing to understand the efforts of the young Barry to fit in. We would chasten ourselves, excusing the lad of simply getting caught in the seine net of hood behavior. We would call his mom a brute, insensitive, surely out of line.
The permutations are many. Look into your heart and decide if this video brings you peace and satisfaction.
This is the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Prediction: Either young Michael will become an honorary gang member, he will be given no quarter for being p-whipped before he is even a baby daddy, or he will have a conversion and join the ministry, capitalizing on his 15 minutes.