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Beat It

By Kathy Y. Wilson · May 25th, 2005 · Editorial
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Do I have to beat this into you?

Republican Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone got elected on a platform of black-on-black violence. Over grainy, closed-circuit images of black thugs looting and pillaging Over-the-Rhine bodegas in faux caged bird homage to Timothy Thomas and Officer Stephen Roach, Malone vowed in 2003 to stomp out race-based bullying and lawlessness.

Giddy that a black someone could publicly (and not very articulately) say and do what they could only say and do behind closed doors for fear of being labeled racists, the Hamilton County Republican Party rode Malone's black ass all the way to a council seat based on his willingness to lambaste poor blacks.

Now that Malone has been exposed for being the repressed, angry, violent little man he probably always was, his council colleagues are pleading prayerful fifths, afraid to publicly call a beat down a beat down.

This is not, as many of them have said, a private family matter. Malone said it best himself.

He's an elected public official. His private lashings become our public ones.

Here comes the first blow: Malone isn't smart.

Besides all the petty examples I could trot out from his lackluster greatest hits on council and several appearances on the now-defunct Hot Seat, he isn't smart because in the early aftermath of misdemeanor domestic violence charges for beating his 14-year-old son badly enough to leave welts and swelling, Malone publicly called for a full investigation.

"I invite it to be gone over with a fine tooth comb," he told The Post.

Blow two: Two days later, Post reporter Kevin Osborne unearthed the 1991 domestic violence charge against Malone for allegedly choking and hitting his mother, charges she filed along with a temporary protection order.

In the new black church of black talk radio, Malone's mother, Drucilla Malone, first enabled and then echoed her son, saying she couldn't recall the details of her ass-whipping by her then-20-year-old son but that she asked the cops to intervene because "I wanted him to learn you have to obey authority." Ironically, it's the same reason why Malone said he left welts on his son's back, arms and chest -- to make the boy respect authority.

Blow three: There are so many cultural subtexts at work here, this could be a college-level psychology course. Many parents beat their children in the name of discipline, fear and respect and even out of externalized anger and disappointment over their own lives.

For black parents, however -- especially men -- to beat their children to the point of physical scarring is a tired but true legacy of slavery that blacks keep perpetuating on one another in the name of "love" and the ever-elusive "respect for authority."

Meanwhile, who's really advocating for the boy or, for that matter, any black child savagely beaten by parents and guardians? Street rumor has it that the family of Malone's son who trotted out the 14-year-old to TV news cameras to show his swollen welts are allegedly standing by the boy until he turns 18 and receives settlement money from his mother's accident.

They're not the only ones biding time. The Republican Party is figuring out how not to back their boy behind the same closed doors where they once strategized Malone's empty political ascension.

And somewhere in Cincinnati another 14-year-old black boy is figuring out how to be a man on his own.



Kathy y. wilson: Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
 
 
 
 

 

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