Toya Graham & Ray Lewis
In Baltimore the murder of Freddy Gray by city police has led to riots following the funeral of Gray. The leadership leading up to the mass confusion (finger pointing) and riots as in Washington, DC, Ferguson and North Charleston are similar in style—no substance. The blind continues to lead the blind.
Children had taken over the streets in Baltimore and some black adults are condemning their behavior—I wonder why?
These children did not come out of their mother’s womb with aka47s, selling drugs, using the N word, wearing their pants down below their knees, looting and burning mom and pop businesses to the ground. This is all learned behavior–taught by us.
The exceptions are the moms like we seen in Baltimore. “The Baltimore Mom” Toya Graham, took to the streets to save her only male child. The video went viral and shows how flawed this system really is when it comes to controlling the behavior of today’s black children. And you want to know what is wrong with our children–take a look in the mirror.
According to today’s rules our children like the young boy seen on the video taking the Floyd Mayweather left jabs and right hooks from his mom, he would be an abused child in the eyes of today’s laws. He could have called 911 and had his mother arrested for child abuse—are you kidding me?
This is exactly where we lost our children to the streets. Parents like the “The Baltimore Mom,” she is trying to raise her children like she was raised but she is now seen as a criminal in a flawed law enforcement and court system.
The Baltimore Police Chief Anthony Batts said, “I wish we had more parents like her,” but the truth be told in normal circumstances a 911 call from her son, she would have been arrested by members of his department.
This system is the brainchild of the 1% who control all the wealth. Therefore, they control the court system in America including the Supreme Court.
For example; this is the same 1% who influenced the Supreme Court to pass a law allowing the 1% to give an unlimited amount of cash donations to their favorite political candidates. They can then buy the White House, Senate and Congress. This allows the rich to keep getting rich and the poor stays poor.
The Baltimore mom was my mother and grandmother. I can hear “The Amen” coming from the black community as I write.
I am speaking from experience and not from “he say she say.”
My heroes were not athletes even though growing up I admired Heavyweight Champions, Jack Johnson and Joe Louis. There were also the multi-talented Paul Roberson and baseball great Jackie Robinson. All won my respect and admiration because they stood for something and didn’t just fall for anything like most of today’s athletes.
Unlike former Heavyweight Champion George Foreman who made an appearance of Fox News during the chaos in Baltimore in April of 2015. He was seen and heard saying how PAL (Police Athletic League) rescued him, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali from the mean streets of their hometowns. It sounded more like an endorsement for the police departments around the country. We all are aware that there some good cops out there, but the bad ones are being given a Free Pass to murder black men and children. George is another example; “Its best to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Big George has a history of going along to get along. In the 1968 Olympic Games San Jose State sprinters John Carlos and Tommy Smith shook up the sports world when they raised their black fist gloved hands above their heads while receiving their medals on the podium. This was their way of protesting racism in America. They were banished from the games. In the meantime, George Foreman was seen after his Gold Medal win in the ring waving the America flag. Gold Medal winner and NBA legend Spencer Haywood who was only 18 years old at the time says, “I could not believe George’s behavior especially after John and Tommy were banished from the games. George was seen by the other black athletes as a Sellout and an Uncle Tom.” His appearance on Fox News 47 years later says, little has changed. Long live Muhammad Ali.
Tommy Smith and John Carlos taking a stand
I admire NBA LaBron James and his Miami teammates who wore Hoodies during the senseless killing of Tryvon Martin, and the NFL Bengal players who emerged from the tunnel of a game with “Hands Up” in support of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The Wizards Paul Pierce and John Wall adding their voices while asking for calm and peace. There is a place for the Black Athlete in reach-back efforts to help improve the lives of inner-city youth whose lives once resembled their very own.
Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce and John Wall–Wizards winners on and off the court
It is truly amazing that sports fans, media types and regular Joes want to compare who is the best basketball player, Michael Jordan or LaBron James? In the final analysis, what it all will boil down to, will not be found in NBA statistics, points scored, rebounds, assist, triple doubles, or titles won. The most important stat when all is said and done will be–who was the better “Human Being?” Labron will win hands down. His reach back efforts to family, friends and community compared to Michael’s–no contest.
I am confused by those in our community who call our children “Thugs and Hoodlums” and have never walked in their shoes, especially, NBA color analyst Charles Barley. And then there is my friend ESPN PTI co-host Michael Wilbon who goes on national television and says it is okay to use the N word among friends. He is not thinking, he is also teaching and telling his children it is okay to do the same.
What about those college students at Maryland and Duke Universities who riot and set automobiles on fire after their underdog team wins, are they “Thugs and Hoodlums?”
How about when the Denver Broncos won the NFL Super Bowl in 1999. Fans set cars and buildings on fire–hoodlums and thugs?
How about when Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup in 2011 and fans went on a rampage burning torching everything in sight–hoodlums and thugs?
How about 2014 when the SF Giants won the World Series and fans cost millions of dollars while rioting–hoodlums and thugs?
How about 2015 when Ohio State won the NCAA football championship students and fans set cars and buildings on fire–hoodlums and thugs?
But when a white cop shoots and kills a black man or woman in cold blood and the end result is a riot–hoodlums and thugs? I don’t think so!
ESPN NFL color analyst and former Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis’ was clearly out of bounds as he was seen ranting on a video that went viral. His shout-out as it related to the riots in the city was anything but helpful. He is seen sitting in his “Ivory Tower” in Baltimore yelling out to the rioters words about their bad behavior. Here is a guy that jumped the moon his rookie year in the NFL when he was a suspect in a murder investigation in a Atlanta night club shoot-out. Thanks to Raven owner the late Art Modell and General Manager Ozzie Newsome he beat the charge. If Lewis was really interested in trying to defuse the situation, he would have gathered several of his former teammates and encouraged them to put on their Raven football jerseys and make their way to Penn Ave. There they would join the other volunteers to try to bring peace to the community. Now that would have been You Tube worthy.
My friend Charlie Sprow hit the nail on the head describing Ray Lewis’ You Tube rant when he said, “I saw Ray Lewis ranting and raving last night. Nothing he said was of substance!”
Ray’s former teammate QB Joe Flacco was quoted saying, “I love Ray and I love how, he always spoke from the heart, but if you listen to those speeches, a lot of them didn’t make sense. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn’t know what he was talking about 90% of the time.” See Ray being Ray in link below.
Message to Ray Lewis, “We are a show me community, don’t tell me.” My heroes were not athletes, my heroes were black women with names like Mommy B and Grandma Bell.
My brothers and I spent our early years with Amy Tyler Bell the matriarch of the Bell family in NE DC. Grandma Bell was the Enforcer, Terminator, the Good Cop and Bad Cop all rolled into one. She did not play when it came to her children and grandchildren.
The Ground Rules at Grandma’s House: When the street lights came on you had to be in the front yard or in the house—no excuses or exceptions.
Grandma Bell & Grands Mommy B & Earl, HB and Bobby
I remember one evening my younger brother Earl missed the curfew by a few minutes and was late getting to the dinner table. Grandma asked him what was his problem, he muttered something under his breath and before he knew it she had hit him with a backhand. She knocked him into the kitchen sink. When he made it back to the dinner table as the Bible says, “He was clothed in his right mind!”
Today’s black children are already sick and tired of being sick and tired. They see no way out. They are victims of high unemployment in double digits compared to white children. They are being taught in inferior schools and are victims of a murder rate among black men and children that is off the charts. Over 600,000 children go to bed hungry every night and 16 million people are homeless in America, the richest country in the free world. They see their parents struggling and they don’t seem to have a clue. The so-called Black Leadership is never seen until after the fact (someone is dead).
These deadly encounters have become nothing more than photo opts for you know who? For example; as the family arrived at the grave for the burial of Freddy Gray there was not one member of the clergy who participated in the funeral in attendance. The mortician had to give the final prayer.
Hats off to “The Baltimore Mom,” you go girl, keeping hope alive for your son.
By the Way: Setting The Record Straight
You got a good deal of the Ferguson, Baltimore, calls right. But you’ve got to frame the situation correctly and install it with the proper historical/ political dynamics. Otherwise, you end up in contradiction across the board. For example, just as your discourse stands , I’m glad that “Baltimore Mom’s” name wasn’t Adrian Peterson – the contradictions would have been far too stark for all of those cheering her actions and a media / governing apparatus controlled by the 1%, a leadership class so crass and desperate to quell righteous outrage that they would pitch Ray Lewis, George Foreman, and Charles Barkley as leaders and spokespersons in a struggle that is so serious, that has so much at stake that young Black men AND WOMEN are being buried – and I’m not just talking about those killed by White cops and vigilantes like George Zimmerman . The more than 5000 Black homicides and over half as many suicides each year must also be counted in the mix if the dynamics of the Baltimores, Fergusons, etc. are properly factored in, framed and projected. Within this context, “Baltimore Mom” is as much a victim of developments as Freddie Gray. It is also the case that only within proper context can the labeling of desperate, marginalized, villainized, and dehumanized young people as “thugs” and “criminals” be fully understood. In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was White racists who talked confidently about “outside agitators” and who applied “criminal ” and other such labels to ” those people “. Now it is Black officials, from the Mayor right up to the President who have slipped so easily and thoughtlessly into the tack of covering gross, malignantly negligent economic, political, and moral failings of the American system and society with ” labels”- as if the young people cited are responsible for the conditions of their communities and absolutely wrong for their expressions of blind rage against their situation and outcomes. So in sum, I am all for condemning violent behavior, I am all for cheering on “Baltimore Mom” – AFTER THE POLITICAL /ECONOMIC / MORAL FRAMEWORK AND DYNAMICS THAT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONDITIONS IN BALTIMORE HAVE BEEN ADMITTED AND RESPONSIBILITY ATTRIBUTED IN CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL LANGUAGE. THEN let’s see where the negative labeling TRULY is appropriately applied –I guarantee you that the children will be principally labeled as victims of poor education systems, off shored jobs, collapsed family , civic, and community political institutions, etc. And THAT is where the real change work must focus – not just upon the young people changing THEIR minds and behavior.”
Dr. Harry Edwards is the author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, Dr. Edwards was the architect of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the Black Power Salute protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both San Jose State College athletes, at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.