Talk Back

Understanding the Baltimore Mom

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Since the video of Baltimore Native Toya Graham disciplining her son went viral, the conversation about the state of Black motherhood has been the topic of discussion in America. The video shows Toya smacking her son against his head after seeing him on the news as one of many participating in the riots following the death of Freddie Gray. Her rage and anger towards her son’s actions comes from the fear that many Black moms raising sons in this country have developed after the continuation of the racial injustices our government has shown the Black community. Should we judge her? No. Honestly, we should understand her and look at her fear as the issue itself so we can begin to fix the darkness of raising Black children in America.

Put yourself in Toya’s shoes: You’ve just lost a job, you have a household to maintain, 6 children to provide for financially, mentally and spiritually while keeping yourself sane. Now imagine that you’re Toya watching the news (following another police brutality case) and you see your ONLY son throwing rocks at police instead of marching for peace. Wouldn’t you feel the fear that she felt for her Black son? The problem with America is that instead of addressing their biases in order to gain a better understanding of Black moms and the struggles they face, the country chooses to treat moms like Toya as a science experiment and examine “the problem with the Black mom.” The examination of Toya is giving light to the main issue in this country and that is the misunderstanding of the Black mom.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 72% of Black children come from single parent homes with 83% of those parents being moms. Black single moms are the result of a system that has forced the lifestyle due to socio-economic conditions that continue to destroy the state of the Black family. So why is America coming for Black moms like Toya that are willing to risk their all for their children when they are the ones that have created the “Toyas?”

As we sit and watch CNN and other media outlets get the “Black scholars” to come on their television shows to basically ridicule Toya as a “poverty stricken Mom,” let’s talk about the fact that we did NOT see nor hear from this young man’s father. Let’s also talk about how her son had on a black mask that would instantly make him appear as a threat to the police. The issue here is that America has pimped this mother by giving her fame for protecting her child so they can showcase the inner city lifestyle to ridicule it. Why can’t we have more media outlets like “The View” talking about the importance of moms whether they are PTA moms or moms working minimum wage jobs disciplining their children?

America has many questions to answer before trying to shame a Black mom whose actions comes from the fear they created. Black moms have a burden in America and have been silenced for too long in this country. Toya just freed Black moms everywhere and gave us a voice that deserves to be heard after centuries of allowing America to take our children from us!


Ariel Rainey is a Brand Consultant, Journalist and Mommy Activist that focuses on building brands, writing good content and knowing the latest in entertainment. Nicknamed the Mogul by her clients and following, she is known for being the bridge that connects pop culture with emerging brands. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @ArieltheMogul and on her website