As if you didn’t already know, the video of a mother pulling her son away from the riot in Baltimore has become many people's favorite footage of the incident.
Before watching the video, I’d read so many chortling descriptions of it that I thought it might be light-hearted — like maybe there would be a lecture, or the kid turns sheepish. It can be amusing to see a tough-guy teen drop the act when mom arrives (that was one of my favorite parts of high school).
But not this. No. This is nothing to cheer or laugh about. This is upsetting.
At best, it’s a desperate act by a mother terrified that her son is about to be a statistic. Hopefully, it’s a move she’ll look back on with humility and regret, as something that transpired in the heat of the moment. (Which, to her credit, seems to be the case.) At worst, it’s a poignant and shameful example of how violence begets violence.
What’s also a shame is how many people watched this and proclaimed her Mother of the Year. Others countered with, “The real Mother of the Year wouldn’t have children at a riot.”
Neither one of these is true. Even the best parents can’t guarantee their kid will never make a mistake or associate with the wrong crowd. The power of a mob mentality, especially when politics, poverty and peer pressure are involved, shouldn’t be underestimated.
As for the Mother of the Year talk, that’s as ugly a manifestation of the fetish for corporal punishment as I’ve ever seen. Beating a child, regardless of the circumstances, represents a failure of some sort. It’s never OK. Nor is it OK for us to derive jollies from it.
Time out, everybody.