“I just lost it.” – Toya Graham, explaining why she beat her 16-year-old son during the Baltimore riots
Showing love has its risks – especially these days. I have considered the risks in writing today’s column, but decided to move forward anyway, because the risk in not writing it is greater.
Today’s column is being released on Mother’s Day. Some will read it as a slam on black women. To the contrary, it is my gift to single black mothers.
We’re really in this world for one purpose – to allow God to create love through us. And showing love means telling the truth. It has been said, “The truth shall set you free.”
I’ve been telling the truth to black Americans – to help free them from their chains of blame and anger – for 25 years. The truth hasn’t always been popular; try to speak the truth to an angry person!
And telling the truth to an angry black woman is really risky, whether people want to admit it or not. Let’s just keep it real.
But Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32).
This is a long preface for what I’m about to say, but unfortunately in today’s world, where words and motives are so easily disparaged, it has become necessary.
There are two recent, celebrated instances of black women taking extreme measures to discipline their sons – Toya Graham, the Baltimore single mother of six, who many dubbed “Mother of the Year” for publicly beating her rioting son; and Chiquita Hill, a black mother in Columbus, Georgia, who had police arrest her 10-year-old son to “scare him straight.”
It is tempting to praise these women since Americans are so fed up with lawless behavior from young black males. Yet, anger and beatings of black boys and girls are the problem – not the solution – in the black community.
Single black mothers, I know many of you are angry with the men who’ve abandoned you, and you are struggling to raise your children – particularly your boys. You’re frustrated that they won’t listen, and often end up in the streets to commit crimes – or even kill or be killed.
But human anger is wrong. Blaming others while not looking at our own sins is wrong.
When Toya Graham said that she “lost it,” she was admitting that she lost patience. But since, “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19), losing patience means losing your soul – at least in that moment. And no good can come from it.
Men have a natural standing in this world. Young black males often kill each other because they’ve been “dissed.” But the original dissing often comes from the boy’s mother, who is emotionally or physically abusive.
A woman – hard as she may try – cannot replace a man in a family. Men have a special role, given to them by God, as the spiritual head. However, it is possible, through forgiveness, for a woman to overcome an angry nature. This will allow her to properly correct her children, girls and boys.
And running from the police, that’s right
Mama catch me, put a whooping to my backside
And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama
I finally understand
For a woman it ain’t easy trying to raise a man
At my nonprofit organization, BOND, we’re doing everything possible to prevent another lost generation of black males. But we must get across the life-saving importance of patience to single black mothers.
We’ve all seen the angry black mother at the store yelling at – and sometimes cursing – her children. We all know it’s wrong. Now it’s time to repent of that wrong, and start a new reality in your family, made possible with a simple change of heart.
Someone has to speak up for young black males. It isn’t going to be their fathers; most are not there. It isn’t going to be the child himself; he’s been warned by his mother not to “disrespect me.” It certainly won’t be white Americans; you’ve scared them away!
And the average black single mother – due to her anger – lacks the necessary insight to correct herself. So speaking up for young black males has been left to those like me.
I realize this letter won’t be received well by all black mothers, yet I also know that Jesus got only a 50 percent approval rating from the thieves on the crosses next to him. But I do know this letter will help some black mothers.
The solution to this ungodly mess never changes:
- Fathers must return to the homes.
- Mothers need to forgive the fathers for their weakness.
- Fathers and mothers must apologize to the children for failing to spiritually protect and guide them.
Love is the solution for black mothers, for the black family and for America.
“Love endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8).
Read Rev. Peterson’s column, “Yes, there really is a war on young black men” – which goes into depth about the real war on black boys.
Check out “The Word on the Street with Jesse Lee Peterson,” “Message to single black mothers“: