In Defense of the Mother Who Gave her Son a Good, Old-Fashioned Butt-Whipping in Baltimore

Toya Graham
Toya Graham

A response to Dr. Stacey Patton’s article in the Washington Post titled, “Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child?”

As soon as Toya Graham dealt with her son about the foolishness he was doing against the police in the dangerous streets of Baltimore, we said that if you just give it a day or two, the family services people and the liberal professors, who do not have any children, will condemn this dear mother. And, lo and behold, just as we predicted, Dr. Stacey Patton (a black woman who benefitted from a few butt-whippings herself and now has a Ph.D., but will never give the credit due to her good adoptive mother) has come out criticizing Toya Graham. She wrote in the Washington Post:

The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love. The beatings originated with white supremacy, a history of cultural and physical violence that devalues black life at every turn. From slavery through Jim Crow, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the innocence and protection of black children has always been a dream deferred.

Dr. Patton wrongly states that corporal punishment or the chastisement of children originated with “white supremacy.” The truth is, chastisement of children originated thousands of years before the white supremacy and racism of America. It is found in the Holy Word of God, the Bible. Here are just a few verses:

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)

“Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:14)

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Proverbs 29:17)

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 29:15)

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)

Dr. Patton goes on to say: “Praising Graham distracts from a hard truth: It doesn’t matter how black children behave – whether they throw rocks at the police, burn a CVS, join gangs, walk home from the store with candy in their pocket, listen to rap music in a car with friends, play with a toy gun in a park, or simply make eye contact with a police officer – they risk being killed and blamed for their own deaths because black youths are rarely viewed as innocent or worthy of protection.”

Dr. Patton says behavior doesn’t matter for black youth, but it does. Millions of young black people have made it through (including this author) by the grace of God, and because we didn’t steal cigars from a convenience store and intimidate the store clerk, nor did we loot or rob a store in our own neighborhood. You know why? Because those butt-whippings worked; they had a tendency to knock some sense into our heads. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

Continuing with Patton’s argument:

This celebration of Graham reflects a belief that black youths are inherently problematic, criminal and out of control. The video also supports the idea that black fathers are absent, suggesting that all we need is an angry black mom to beat the “thug” out of an angry young man – and everything will be fine.

The truth of the matter is that all children — black, white, red, and yellow — are inherently problematic, criminal, and out of control — so are adults for that matter — according to the Bible, the Word of God.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

“…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil…” (Ecclesiastes 9:3)

Patton continues by saying: “What is so disturbing is that white supremacy is let off the hook. A militarized and racist police force is not the problem. Systemic racism — from the War on Drugs to racial profiling, from hyper segregation to community divestment — is not the issue. The message becomes: Black children’s behavior is the true enemy of peace.”

With all due respect, Mrs. Patton, you are talking like a crazy woman here. Baltimore is run by black people: the mayor is black, the police chief is black, and half of the police force is black, so come off it.

Allow me to call your attention, dear reader, to one more statement from Dr. Patton’s article.

This distracting conversation turns the spotlight back to black youth. If only Freddie hadn’t run; if only his parents had beaten him; if only he was perfect, maybe he would still be with us. And the praise of Graham reflects a belief shared across race lines that beating black children is the only way to keep them safe from the dangers of a racist society, or from stepping out of line. Rather than embracing her son Michael, rather than hearing and seeing his pain and assuring him that she’s got his back, Graham beat and shamed him in front of the world.

Dr. Patton, you still are not sounding sane here. People of all races — red, yellow, black and white — have been chastised or have experienced corporal punishment. The truth is, you saw in Toya Graham a mother who truly loves her son. If you can’t see the love of that mother for her son, there is something very wrong in your life.

By the way, do you have children, baby? If you do have a son, go ahead and raise him in your new-fangled, sweet little way, and you call us in about eighteen years and tell us how it worked out.

BCNN1 Editors