My Thoughts on the “Baltimore Riot Mom”


When I first watched the “Baltimore Riot Mom” beat her son into submission I must admit that a part of me was like “go mom,” but another part of me was disturbed. Growing up in a city that reeks of poverty and pain, the “social justice” side of me got it, but my analytical self had to take a step back.

Something did not look right to me. Perhaps normal, but not right. But as I thought further into the whole ordeal, I realized that I needed to stand beside the “Baltimore Riot Mom” because she is my sister, even if I thought her actions did not look right.

I realized that even if her actions were not right, she did what she had to do. It was obvious that her teenage son was a good kid because he took the “smack-down” with grace, but he was not giving in easily. As most teenage boys, he followed the crowd and got involved in something he should not have and his pride kept him from moving quickly towards obedience.

I found myself wondering where his father was and revising the scenario in my head. I pictured a tall black man, with big muscles, and a distinct deep voice. I envisioned him walking over to his son, tapping him on the shoulder, and simply saying “It is time to come home son.”

No arguments. No resistance. No hitting. No fussing. Just a knowing that he had better follow his dad home. I realized that this would have been the ideal situation, but this was not the reality. Therefore, the “Baltimore Riot Mom” had to conjure up every ounce of physical strength she had, make herself as “big and tough” as she could, and “play dad” in order to save her son’s life.

I am a feminist to my core, which simply means that I support the full equality of men and women in all aspects of life, but there is one thing a woman cannot do and that is be a man. She can try and will try if she must, but it won’t look right.

Being a man is really quite simple – it means protecting, providing, and loving his family. This is a man’s God-given responsibility. This does not mean he always has the final authority on all matters, has to make more money than his wife, or any other strange traditional ways of thinking; however, this does mean that he does his job.

Can I tell you a secret? My grandmother met my grandfather while he was in prison. My dad grew up in the West End, which is the roughest area of my city. As a child, he ducked down as his parents threw knives at each other. He was 15-years-old when Jesus transformed his life and God gave him the power to get out of the “poverty mindset.”

I grew up “privileged” as the media is calling it in hopes of stirring more racial tension, but I probably shouldn’t have. This country is not having a problem of racism. Sure, it looks like that on the surface and I am standing with you ladies who feel victimized.

I am angry at the bad cops who are shooting black men in the back who simply owe back-child-support and murdering black teens who are simply out running around causing mischief as most teen boys do.  I am angry at all the men (black, white, and mixed) that are not being men, not taking responsibility, making babies with multiple women, not marrying one woman, not being committed, not protecting, not providing and are sure as heck not loving!

But I grew up “privileged” because my dad gave his full life to Jesus Christ and that made him brave enough to break the cycle of poverty over his life (and therefore over my life). Are we going to sit around and wait for bad cops to become good cops? Are we going to wait for the men in our lives to grow up or are we going to see this for what it really is on its deepest level and “break the cycle?”

This is not a message to black women. This is a message to all women! Let us return to our God, giving him our FULL hearts- the only being that will ever satisfy our souls and help us break the chains of poverty, pain, and insecurity. When we do this, we will raise daughters who will no longer fall for fools because they will be a “privileged” daughter of the most High King.

We must first find our identity in Christ to be free of our “need” for men. When we “need” men to make us feel secure and loved, we are too vulnerable to make poor choices. But, when we “want” a man to share our life with and we wait on God’s timing and direction, we are more apt to wiser life choices.

Being a woman is hard enough and if we can learn anything from the “Baltimore Riot Mom” it is that being the mother and the father is less than what we deserve, less than she deserves, and less than our daughters deserve. We can cry over our present circumstances or we can face reality, put our big girl pants on, own up to our misfortunes and/or mistakes, and decide that the cycle stops now!  

By the way, the “Baltimore Riot Mom” has a name and it is Toya Graham.

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