violence breeds violence, regardless of the motivation…

I write this with full awareness that I may have my head bitten off by several people for posting the following opinion… I will also remind any commenters to please keep their comments civil and respectful. I’m ok with discussion, but not bashing.

I am in the minority of people appalled by a video of a mother beating her son for partaking in the Baltimore riots this past week. I will not hail her a hero or “mother of the year”. I do not care what her reasoning was, I think she was wrong. I also think her son was wrong for participating in the riots in the manner he did. It was stated that the woman was trying to prevent her 16-year-old son from being killed. Reportedly, he was about to throw (or continue to throw) things at the police, and join in the general havoc. This apparently justified the mother smacking her son repeatedly on his head and torso as she berated him.

I was told by many friends and family that they “would have done the same” or they understood her fear/anger reaction. My problem with the whole thing was that she used the same logic and behavior he did to try to dissuade him from further action:  I am more right, and have more power for X reason, so I will beat you into submission… That’s up there with cursing someone out while you tell them not to curse.

I’m pretty sure that’s a huge double standard right there (not to mention a mixed message). It’s suddenly ok to beat your child (and have it filmed, then applauded by millions) because you are trying to prevent them from getting hurt?! If I see my kid almost run into on-coming traffic because he didn’t look before he ran, is it suddenly ok for me to yank him back and start beating on him? Would the media and millions of Americans tell me I am “Mother of the Year”?? No. I would have the child taken from my custody (even if temporarily), and I would have CPS up my ass for the next year or more. “But I didn’t want to see him killed, and he wasn’t listening to me when I told him to stop.” would never fly as a valid excuse for beating my child…

There’s pages and pages of articles on the generational cycles of violence. It’s a safe bet to say that the 16-year-old kid witnessed (with some regularity) violence growing up. It didn’t have to be his mom, though her reaction to his poor choices leads me to believe she likely has done something similar before. It’s also safe to say that she was probably witness to violence in her childhood. People repeat what they learn. Even those with the best of intentions can succumb to early learning. Heck, I see in myself some of the very things I hate in my dad. I try to make a conscious effort to not behave as he did/does, but I’m certainly not perfect (super-far from it actually). I find myself angry and yelling more than I would like. I can feel rage bubble, and fists want to fly. I do my damnedest to not act on those urges though… Would my anger at my early life excuse abuse I perpetuate on others? Absolutely not. It would be understandable, but not excusable. I would still be expected to change my behaviors… I am expected to change my behaviors. I mainly turn my violence onto myself. Even that is not acceptable. I hear from person after person that I need to be kind to myself; that I need to stop treating myself so abusively…

So why is it ok to see this mother hit her son repeatedly? People come back with responses along the lines of “I would do anything to keep my kid safe.” or “What would you do if your kid was about to walk into his death?” I maintain that my response would be non-violent. I would step in his way to block his path, I would pull him away, I would do my best to hold him in place, or move him back if possible. I would not strike him. If for some reason, I lost my head and started beating my child, I would hope someone stepped in and pulled me away rather than film it and laud me with praise… But I guess I have a different perspective than most.

That same day, when I questioned the logic of rioting and looting within the community, it was defended by some as “displaced anger”. This also bothers me. Why is displaced anger from a mob more ok than displaced anger in say, a romantic relationship? If the mob were a man, and the destroyed property his beaten wife, he would have been arrested on domestic violence charges (in the very least, there would have been some outcry of injustice from women’s rights activists and a public push for charges). So why are we excusing it because it’s fueled by institutional racism? When my dad came home pissed because he got mugged on his lunch break, then proceeded to yell at, threaten, and hit my mom, it was not okay simply because it was “displaced anger.” When a parent beats a child because of financial stressors, it’s not excusable as “displaced anger”. Why are we so quick to step up and excuse other violence as such? Why is mass-perpetrated violence ok when individually-perpetrated violence would be scorned?

I do not believe racism should be tolerated. I do not believe young black men should be singled-out and harassed or harmed. I do not believe anyone should be harmed. I do agree we should be outraged by the state of our society. I believe we should stand up and “fight” for change, but I do not belive rioting, looting, and violence are the answer. They get us nowhere but deeper into the cycle of violence. I really wish more people understood that…

 

Advertisements

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: