Baltimore Mother Toya Graham is now internationally known. She is internationally known because she upheld her responsibility as a mother when she physically removed her son from participating in a Baltimore street unrest triggered by police's handling of an illegally arrested black man that resulted in the man's death.
It is hard to understand how some folks are coming out critical against this mother's actions. Dr. Stacey Patton, a professor of American history at American University and the author of “That Mean Old Yesterday", wrote a scathing piece based on Ms. Graham's handling of her son.
The professor believes that the physical actions Graham took against her son distracts from the truth that black men face some tall survival odds in the street. She feels that public disciplining sends negative messages reinforces sterotypical perceptions about black mothers raising sons. I think professor Patton over analyzed the actions of a responsible mother.
You see, black mothers are critiqued no matter what they do. When they seek help they're seen as needy. When they show displeasure they're tagged angry black women. When they don't discipline their children they're written off as ineffective parents. You've read what is said when they evoke even biblical consent (spare the rod spoil the child) to discipline their children.
They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. They thrive in an arena where the decked is stacked against them.
The infographic included in this post is titled "Will Black American Moms Be Celebrating Mother's Day?"
Of course they will and they should.
While the infographic can be perceived as suggesting with all the hurdles black women face as mothers and women, they might be discouraged from celebrating a day they are just as much a part of as any other woman. The figures presented in the infographic are not absolute.They serve to confirm black American mothers do face more challenges and that their unique situation deserves the attention of our country’s policymakers and stakeholders.
I share the data with the hope it will add clarity to the diverse kaleidoscope black mothers and women are viewed through.
African American Mothers are a demographic of women that definitely should be celebrated not just on Mother's Day, but every day of the year.