WASHINGTON, D.C.–Like most of you, I watched in horror the video of Baltimore mom, La Toya Graham charging at her son, hitting him multiple times in the head.
I flinched each time she connected with his face and felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment for him.
It wasn’t just that she hit him a few times; it was the persistent intensity of her attack that marked, in my mind, the work that we need to do in our oppressed communities to educate our people to the difference between the violence of the oppressed and the 500 year old violence from our oppressors.
Her son, a young African male, who said he joined the Baltimore protests because he was “tired” of the police attack on his community.
Being in the streets with hundreds of other black people, who were “tired” of the police state in the black community, empowered this young man to finally fight back.
However, during his empowered moment, his mom places herself between her son and the police making it so that she is the person he has to fight.
For this, the mother has become the darling of white ruling class media; applauded both by a sector of the black community and the white masses for good parenting.
Had this just been another day in the ‘hood, she would have likely been arrested for child abuse.
Her reasoning was that she was trying to protect him from the police violence that killed Freddie Gray. She also made her decision a question of morality.
During an interview with bourgeois reporter, Anderson Cooper, she explained that she “didn’t raise him like that” and that her son “is not a thug…like the media wants to portray boys like him”.
Her statements exposed the underbelly of fear that many black parents have and the colonial imposed sense of morality that have many of us defending white power instead of our right to resist oppression.
However, I can’t condemn this mother because unfortunately many in the African working class are tied to the notion that we can’t win the fight therefore our struggle must be grounded in philosophical non-violence. That we were born into this situation and that is the way it will forever be.
But not condemning her is not the same as not criticizing her. Because it is clear to Ms. Graham that some sort of struggle needs to be made against police violence and murder.
Otherwise she would not have gone to Freddie Gray’s funeral which itself was an act of protest.
And if Ms. Graham is not criticized for standing against the people and with the police, she could very well become a lackey of ruling class media to be paraded in front of the people condemning the revolution.
That’s why it is absolutely essential that we do what we can to provide our people with the leadership and proper political education in order to decolonize.
Under colonialism to be a soldier for imperialism is ok, but to be a soldier for our people is not.
The armies of U.S. imperialism are the most violent entities on the planet and will always put our children in harm’s way, but we let our kids enlist and by doing so we allow them to be the purveyors of oppressive violence and cannon fodder for the rich who are incapable of fighting a just war.
That’s why it is during times like this, when our whole people have the space to fight the very thing that is oppressing us that we have to be able to stand as one with the youth.
The “violence” that they are using against the violence of the oppressor is a liberating and necessary step toward our freedom that only needs to be organized.
When black parents beat their children for fighting the oppressor, we become an arm of the State.
When black parents encourage their children to turn themselves in to the police, because of some colonial understanding of morality or white ruling class law, we become an arm of the State.
What this means is that the State does not need to kick in our doors or police our communities because we will do it for them. We will line up to protect them, providing a buffer between the police and masses of our people.
Our role as parents today is to find our way into the Uhuru Movement and African People’s Socialist Party and bring the children with us.
We teach our children to organize and defeat our long time enemy by any means necessary. Sometimes that means throwing a brick.
Unleash the power of the youth!
What steps can we take to defend the lives of our children. The African National Women’s Organization supports the call for Black Community Control of the Police. This is what we work for, Power in the hands of the African community!