“I Don’t Want Him To Be A Freddie Gray” Mom Who Smacked Son In Baltimore Speaks Out

April 28, 2015  |  

The video of the mother smacking and pushing her son in the streets of Baltimore has gone viral. Most people are sharing it as a means to discourage others from protesting peacefully or rioting, not so peacefully.

They’re praising her for discipling him and taking her actions to mean, simply, that she disapproves of his decision to riot, that she believes the rioting is wrong and wanted to shame her son.

But to simplify this video like that misses the larger message.

And instead of making up the larger message, the real meaning behind her smacking and pushing her son in public, I’ll let this mother speak for herself.

CBS News caught up with Toya Graham and asked her specifically what was going through her mind as she was hitting her son.

In a snippet from the interview, she said:

“He gave me eye contact. And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that. That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray.”


CBS reports that his safety was her only concern and the only reason she struck him like that.

In the news coverage, I’m seeing far too much dismissal and demonization of the behavior and not enough critiquing or even questioning of the evil, the violence, the centuries of racism that caused it.

It’s the epidemic of racism that keep causing these riots. And it’s time to stop treating the symptoms instead of the disease. Once things calm down in Baltimore, if the issue of systemic racism in our country’s law enforcement is not addressed, it won’t be long before we see this happen again, in another U.S. city.

See more of Graham’s interview later tonight on the “CBS Evening News” at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday on “CBS This Morning” at 7 a.m.

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