Commentary: Ohio Beating Should Inspire Mass Support for Black Youth

Pat Mahaney

Commentary: Ohio Beating Should Inspire Mass Support for Black Youth

The beating of Ohio man Pat Mahaney by six Black boys should make us rethink our modes of activism.

Published August 17, 2012

Pat Mahaney (Photo:

On the night of Saturday, Aug. 11. in Ohio, Pat Mahaney was beaten by six Black boys while walking home from the store where he went to buy beer for the evening. The details of the ordeal are saddening; however, if the races were reversed, the details would have sparked anger and radical advocacy on behalf of the boys — but why can’t we still take that approach anyway?

The six boys are all between the ages of 14 and 15, and, according to the police report, the boys told officers that they attacked the man because they “were just bored and were looking for something to do.” Mahaney, who is white, suffered severe internal injuries from the beating and had to be hospitalized for four days. Now, all six of the suspects, barely teens, face felony charges of aggravated riot and felonious assault.

“They were pretty arrogant in the interview with us,” North College Hill Police Chief Gary Foust told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s appalling. I think it’s despicable. This appears to be premeditated and there was no remorse on behalf of any of the assailants. Thirteen-year-olds ought to be playing basketball, not running the streets looking for ways to entertain themselves at the expense of somebody.”

Foust’s sentiments are exactly where we should be placing our uncomfortable feelings about the incident. That’s where the Black community comes in and revives the conversation about what is happening with our youth instead of waiting to have the talk when something happens to our youth. Our efforts in rallying support for slain teens such as Trayvon Martin and Chavis Carter will ring hollow if we don’t cultivate a culture of proactive activism in addition to avenging the wronged.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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Written by Naeesa Aziz


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