African American Teen Kills His Mother Over….Playstation? It’s NEVER that simple.

by Aiyana Ma’at Authorities say a young Kendall Anderson was so angry his mom took away his PlayStation that he killed her with a claw hammer.

Our children are angry. No, they are more than angry. They are outraged….outraged at what? Some of them know. And, some of them don’t have a clue.

I’ve counseled many African American male teens who will tell you in a heartbeat. “Don’t nobody care about me. My mother…she do the best she can but she ain’t no man so she can’t teach me how to be a man. I don’t know where my father is… f*!k that ni**a, I don’t need him anyway!”

So, when I see a report in the news about another one of our children (especially our boys) temporarily “losing their mind” (because that’s what happens—they temporarily lose their mind) my first question is: “Where’s the man?” When all of that bottled up, pushed down, hot scorching pain that they’ve suppressed for so long comes bubbling out onto the surface…. you better watch out. And, it seems often at the slightest provocation. A playstation, really?! Yes, REALLY.  Rage isn’t logical. No, indeed it’s quite dangerous.

And, while I in no way feel that this youngster shouldn’t have to face the natural consequences that come with snuffing out someone’s life (laaawd, his mother no less!); I feel that ultimately there are some folks who need to be locked up with him. Where was his Daddy? The young man said in his confessional: “I really miss my mom….She was the only person who cared for me.” THE ONLY PERSON? That says a lot. Where were the uncles, grandfathers, older cousins, godfathers?? Where?!

I know what you’re thinking. “This young man is probably very disturbed….there’s a lot we surely don’t know” or “Aiyana, you’re trying to make it all deep…talking about rage and all that but this boy just needed somebody to seriously check him.” Well, to both of these thoughts I say: You are most likely quite right….all I know is that this young man needed (and still does) a CONSISTENT MAN in his life. Someone to say “I’m listening.” and someone to say “Be Quiet and You Listen.” I’ve worked with young men just like Kendall Anderson for 10+ years and I’m telling you it would have made a hell of a difference.

Source NY Daily News/BlackVoices

The 16-year-old allegedly told police he decided to kill his mother, Rashida Anderson, after a 90-minute argument that culminated in her taking the video-game console away.

Anderson considered his actions before killing his 37-year-old single mother, said the judge who read the teen’s statement in Philadelphia Municipal Court. The teen paced for three hours mulling over what he would do before deciding to kill her, said his confession, which he gave to a police detective.

Anderson struck her 20 times with a claw hammer while she slept.

In an effort to get rid of her body, he tried to “cremate her” in the oven, according to the confession. When that failed, he smashed her head with a chair, then dragged the body out into the alley behind their house and hid it.

The remains were not found until nearly two days later, after family became suspicious and notified police. Anderson was charged with murder in December, as well as possession of an instrument of a crime and abuse of a corpse.

The teen was not known to be violent, but had been charged with stealing a laptop from his high school.

“If I could, I would not do it again,” he said in his confession. “I really miss my mom. … She was the only person who cared for me.”

26 replies
  1. Fallible Sage
    Fallible Sage says:

    Having recently embarked on a new relationship that I hope to stand the test, I've been a quiet observer of your site, and I've learned a lot, and nodded my head in agreement on everything you've posted… until now. Truth be told, it's not even that I'm not nodding on this post, I agree with the essence of it, but to subtlety suggest that there is a direct correlation between this troubled young man’s actions and the possibility that his father wasn't in the home is somewhat hyperbolic I think. I too have worked with our kids, have faced their anger, and have seen much in the way of what’s eviscerating our community… and personally, although a factor, I think that single parent households are more symptom, and less cause.

  2. Jakki
    Jakki says:

    I agree with you Reginald. I believe many women think they are being insulted when someone says a woman can't raise a boy to be a man. Its not an insult, yes we can raise successful men, but I believe that a boy always longs for his father, someone that he truly identifies with. I am single mother of a 21year old son, and I watched him grow up trying to be brave as he dealt with the absence of his father (its a hurting thing to see). It is the little things that we woman have no clue about.

    I remember my son was 5yrs old & he was fighting me on taking a shower, the same thing he did every night. This particular night his dad dropped by to see him after several months of being absent & he said, "I'll put him in the shower". My son stopped crying and became this willing participant, I was preparing dinner and listening to what his dad was telling him. "Ok man this is what you do, spread your legs & bend down a little, raise your balls and wipe underneath your ball because the last thing you want is sweaty balls, my son was soaking it all up like a little soldier following direction, and happy doing it. That was my light bulb moment b/c I would have never thought to tell him all of that that; primarily because I'm not a man with those organs. in fact he might have been crying because when I washed him up I was probably being to rough trying to hurry so I can get to the next task as I prepare for the next day without realizing there was a method to bathing a boy.

    As small as this may seem, it was significant to my son. I realize that night that it was not about how I saw it, and what I'm was capable of, it was about how my son felt when his father wasn't present, how he processed or didn't know how to process the abandonment by his father. I often hear women speak in I terms, I do this, I do that, but what really matters is how your child's heart, soul and spirit deals with not having his/her father or parent around, and I believe to many times we overlook the real victim feelings, our children. I ache for this family. God Bless~

    • Stephanie McCraw
      Stephanie McCraw says:

      This makes me very sad i think about my nephews
      That are growing up without a father & wish better
      For them, thinking about how do a man look at their
      Son(s) or Daughter(s) that looks exactly like them and jus
      Leave them 2 the wolves~ that is their seed & will beat
      You down in order to say he's not the father, i hope the
      Father's that are not there look at this article & take a look
      At themselves & make a change w/ their children, I will be
      Praying 4 this Mother, and also this young man, ~
      Lord You are kind and forgiving,
      Most loving to all who call on You. Psalm 86:5

    • Fallible Sage
      Fallible Sage says:

      A two parent household by itself isn’t a guarantee, or even necessarily an advantage. Each family has their deficits and strengths, and it’s those strengths and ability to overcome deficits that determine outcomes no matter who may be represented. Of course two capable, healthy, parents are always better than one. But what about those households with one healthy parent and one abusive one, or one healthy parent and one emotionally absent one, or what about two dysfunctional individuals providing subpar parenting, or those forced to live in an unhealthy environment, or with little resources etc… would a healthy, capable, single mother/ father with access to resources be the better deal? My point is that we are oversimplifying a complex situation when it comes to lifelong effects and outcomes.

    • Fallible Sage
      Fallible Sage says:

      (More) Please understand that it’s not that I don’t agree with the idea that a two parent household isn’t preferable, or that I'm advocating single parent homes. It’s just that I know enough to know that single parenting is not the culprit inherently. Two loving and capable parents with access to resources are better than one… but one loving and capable parent with resources at the ready is also plenty. LOVING. CAPABLE. RESOURCES are the primary factor. We need to address this issue in concert with the many other societal factors that feed the issues we want to alleviate.

    • Fallible Sage
      Fallible Sage says:

      A 2005 study (which admittedly wasn’t done in the US, but I think it remains accurate) showed that “most children from single parent families do well, and that many factors influence how children develop in single-parent families: the parent’s age, education level, and occupation; the family’s income, and the family’s support network of friends and extended family members (including the non-resident parent, if available). Disadvantages in these factors that often accompany single parenting appear to cause most of this association rather than single parenting itself.” Multiply that by 10 the social and economic disparities in our communities, and we see a far reaching problem not confined to who makes up a family.

    • Fallible Sage
      Fallible Sage says:

      (more) Of course single parent homes is sometimes ONE of the factors that influence where people end up (and as stated prior, those disadvantages have more to do with economics and an increased chance of having at least one parent that’s not funked up), but why was a parent absent in the first place… and in addition to having one available parent, what type of environment did they live in, did they have educational deficits, did good teachers stick around, were they poor and their poverty generational, was their remaining parent capable and willing to provide them the resources and guidance needed to be successful, and if not, what about support from extended families and mentors, did they live in a still racially divided America (however covert), are employers rushing to take on young people with criminal records, were they taught that rims & high-end merchandise provides them value and will appeal to the opposite sex, were their parents victims of the same societal skew? What else is going on?

    • Fallible Sage
      Fallible Sage says:

      (End) It’s tough enough to make it in this life without first being born into a situation that works against success on several levels. Identifying a factor like single parenting and rectifying it (if you could without first addressing other issues), still would not fix the whole problem. If it’s change that we want to see, I again encourage all to systems theory and macro this thing.
      This is not to let wack fathers (and mothers) off the hook for shirking their responsibilities… and being so very wack, this is to empower single parents to work hard, provide for, and to be the capable loving parents that they can be. In knowing that their children are not doomed at the inception of life because of one sorry individual, that’s waaaay too much power… too many other factors to be factored in.

  3. Ayo
    Ayo says:

    (part 2)
    I have embedded a vdeo of our great Congolese elder, Dr. Bunseki Fu-Kiau author of 'Kindezi: the Congolese Art of Babysitting'. Dr. Fu-Kiau articulates so well how far we as African ancestored women have been moved away from our culturally deteremined child rearing ideal. I say that we have been 'moved away' from this because we did not create the current economic construct that functions in opposition to harmonious marital and familial relationships. Perhaps our community can craft intergenerational chld rearing support structures, as exist in the Congo and that include our elders, in support of our sisters who are raising children without fathers present. Peace.
    [youtube odzXE1M77dE&feature=related youtube]

  4. Ayo
    Ayo says:

    (part 1)
    Aiyana, I received your open letter to single moms. Don't feel the need to apologize. No daddy in the home has become a multigenerational phenomenon in our community, such that it is unfortunately a cultural norm in many quarters. "I didn't have a dad and I turned out ok," is a response that is to be expected. FYI – I am a married mom (20 years) of two boys ages 10 and 12 (we started kinda' late :o). HOWEVER, my initial reaction to the post is that the cause was far more complex and ran much deeper that a missing dad, no man to check him, etc. What came to mind immediately was sexual abuse, unintentional emotional neglect simply cause a sister's gotta work, and 'violent media consumption overload' beginning at a very young age. Rage has to come from somewhere and not having a dad to check you, generally isn't enough to create such an extreme example of sociopathic behavior (continued below)

  5. Patricia Knight
    Patricia Knight says:

    Aiyana, what responsible man with a home, job and family of his own has time to deeply impact the life of someone else's children? The time such a man has to devote to someone else's kids is limited; unless of course, his job is teacher, counselor or youth worker.

    My sisters, wake up! If the man don't look like he's going to stay, don't let him play! If the one who helped make the baby couldn't be bothered to stick around, a time deprived stand-in can't be counted on to finish the job. With all of the other things vying for his attention, one man barely has time for his own family.

    The boys aren't going to fix this one; it's not a problem for them. It's a BIG problem for us and our kids. Act now! Stop believing in fairy tales! If he looks like he's not a keeper, don't sleep with him! My sisters, let's do our part to keep these kind of tragic events to a minimum.

  6. Zaafirah Haaydarah
    Zaafirah Haaydarah says:

    This story is truly disturbing. Have our children become so desensitized towards such horrific acts of murder that it becomes a simple activity to be considered along with…hum what should I do, play video games, do my homework or bludgeon my mother to death. On another note, his eyes look so lost and lonely.

  7. SMonique
    SMonique says:

    ""MORE'" Guest what Mr. or Mrs. hhhmmm….PROFESSIONAL SWIMMERS, HONOR STUDENTS, CHESS MASTERS, PLUMBING TRADE ASSOCIATION LEADERS, PERFECT ATTENDANCE FOR THEM BOTH SINCE THE DAY THEY ENTER SCHOOL (12yrs & 9yrs) FLUTE & PIANO…and takes EVERYTHING from them as that sister did as a true parent would…to all of the previous posters (villagers)..I CONCUR WITH YOUR STATEMENTS …I'm just saying THANK YOU TO YOU and MAY GOD BLESS THIS YOUNG MAN, FOR ANYONE HAVING TO LIVE WITHOUT A MOTHER IS PAIN LIKE NO OTHER…The father thing just took me there..Love Yall!! BRB!!

  8. Kia
    Kia says:

    A man does not "complete" the picture in all cases. There are men who just aren't good fathers…my ex is one of them. I can teach my sons a lot of thing and no I cannot teach them how to be men…however I do place them in an arena where they get all the tools they need for success. Obama didnt have a full time father. I believe it starts with the foundation. I have 3 brothers that did not have a full time father at home and grew up to be strong productive men. My children are both on high honors and have a vision that I have helped implement. I showed this article to my sons to show them how they are not to behave. My children are taught that things like "playstation" and DS are a privledge not a right in our house. Every action triggers a response, so they need to make sure they are doing the right thing so they dont lose the things that they enjoy. Life is a game of chess and there is only room for 1 queen on the board. I play to win when it comes to my children. Check mate!!

  9. Kia
    Kia says:

    Wow…as a strong black female…all I can say is wow. I am a single parent of two boys. The first thought that came to my mind was not the absense of his father but how she was dicipling this child that he would even think to grab a hammer. I am sure the problem with THAT child is much deeper than a playstation or an absent father. I am a very spiritual person and I believe that if HE can take me to it…HE can get me through it..father or no father.

  10. Reginald Williams
    Reginald Williams says:

    This is truly a sad story and speaks volumes for the need for fathers to be in their child's life every day. As I read your comments,
    "My mother…she do the best she can but she ain’t no man so she can’t teach me how to be a man. I don’t know where my father is… f*!k that ni**a, I don’t need him anyway,”

    I can't tell you how often I fight this fight telling sisters – abandoned to raise a child alone, that it takes a man to raise a man. But sisters will fight me to the death that they can. This story and the prison cells filled with black boys prove otherwise.
    So brothers — using the Ma'at's motto — stop playin and start pushin. Stop being about getting a piece of @$# & then abandoning a sister when her womb carries a child who will need your daily presences, and sister please stop giving these brothers jewels only meant for a brother who will give you his last name, his whole heart and protection for all of his family.

  11. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    My Lord is all I can say right now. Even while he suffers the consequences, he has to live with he killed his mother. I pray that someone who can influence him in the right direction will step into his life and help guide him.

  12. The1Ms.HBIC
    The1Ms.HBIC says:

    This is truly disturbing. I wholeheartedly believes that his rage diabled all common sense as he obsessed over the idea of murdering “The only person who cared for him”. I’m disheartened by the social stigmas that children live with when they have an absent parent. I’m wondering if there were some signs of mental illness involved here. I say that because he attempted to burn his mom’s body in the oven. Nevertheless, it doesn’t excuse his actions. He should suffer the consequences. I do believe that children are more confident, successful and stable when they have both parents involved. But, we have to seek out Mentors or trusted family members to step in and help provide guidance to our youth. I’m a firm believer that it takes a village.

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