Dominic Carter's "No Momma's Boy"

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Dominic Carter, host of NY1's "Inside City Hall," reveals secrets of his tormented past, hidden so deep his own therapist was shocked to find out the truth.

Sexually abused by schizophrenic mother


So young, so innocent; not realizing at the tender age of seven that he had just been sexually abused, the child resumed his weekend routine of watching early morning cartoons on television. After spending the night in his mother's bed,  young Dominic unsuspectingly lay in wait for what was about to happen next.  His captor?  The one person in the entire world into whose arms a child would normally, without hesitation, run for safety – his own mother.  This is the true story Dominic Carter, host of  NY1’s “Inside City Hall,” has recently revealed in his gripping book, “No Momma’s Boy,” where he chronicles horrific secrets of his troubled past, and how he has risen above it and grown into one of New York’s most highly acclaimed news reporters.


A strong shot of Botox couldn’t have raised my eyebrows more than what I read in the chilling account of this tormented mother’s unconscionable acts.  My heart raced with the fury of a wounded stallion as I ventured into the thoughts and feelings of this young child during and after his duel with raw and naked madness.  But at the same time, I cringed while imagining the frightening and relentless demons with which this poor woman must have constantly fought.  Dominic has agonized over these horrible events for the past 30 years – secrets hidden so deep within his soul, his own therapist was shocked to find out what really happened.


Dominic Carter will discuss these and more enthralling experiences which ultimately compelled him to write the shocking book, “No Momma’s Boy,” as part of the Harlem Book Fair this Saturday, July 21st at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located on West 135th Street between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in New York City.


Most people know Dominic Carter from his popular NY1 nightly political television show, “Inside City Hall.”   Carter is well-known for his diplomatic, yet no-holds-barred interviews of some of the most hi-profile and influential personalities in the political arena across the United States.  In 2006, Dominic Carter received great recognition for moderating a series of state-wide debates for Governor, US Senator and Attorney General.  Carter made international headlines when Hillary Clinton announced for the first time that she was considering running for President of the United States.  Dominic Carter has conducted exclusive interviews with former President, Bill Clinton, the late John Cardinal O’Conner and the parents of Amadou Diallo, who was murdered by 4 policemen back in 1999.  More recently, Carter has interviewed on “Inside City Hall,” controversial City Councilman Charles Barron and his Chief-of-Staff, Viola Plummer, who was under threat to be fired by Council Speaker, Christine Quinn for making some remarks against Council Member, Leroy Comrie of Queens, NY.  When South African President, Nelson Mandela came to the United States back in 1990, Dominic Carter was selected to conduct the coveted exclusive interview and while in Japan with then, Mayor, David Dinkins, Carter made headlines all the way back in New York during the World Trade Center terrorist bombing.  He traveled to Israel with then, Mayor Giuliani twice to cover his visits to the region.  Carter has also spent time in the Persian Gulf and reported on the famine from Somalia.


Carter recently appeared on Hallmark Channel’s New Morning with host, Timberly Whitfield, to discuss some of the macabre details of his ominous past.  Apparently, much of the trauma has been “blocked out,” but when Dominic’s mother died, he began researching her life and what he discovered would change his life forever.  The startling medical records revealed that Dominic’s mother was tortured by demonic voices that relentlessly demanded her to throw young Dominic out of a window, and she was actually planning to do it.  But instead, she finally succumbed to another plot induced by the “voices,” which told her to strangle the two-year-old, and subsequently, she did, in fact, begin trying to choke the baby to death. “It was only when I started crying that she finally stopped,” recalls Dominic from what he read in the medical reports he retrieved from one of the many mental institutions in which his mother had been hospitalized – 620 pages from Mt. Sinai alone.


Dominic has gone public with his personal story with hopes that the book will serve as a catalyst of empowerment for people who struggle with issues that are holding them back from their true potential.  He firmly believes there are “No excuses.” 


Dominic Carter was gracious enough to talk with the Black Star News about his first book, “No Momma’s Boy.”  But, in order to get it right, the first thing I had to do was toss out all the questions I had prepared for my interview.  Understand that this reporter was under the impression that the interview was going to be a heartbreaking story of a little boy who spent his childhood enduring unbearable abuse and misery.  Quite to the contrary, Dominic’s story is one of love, strength, forgiveness, hope and redemption -- all that good stuff I love to talk about.  Here’s how it unfolded:


BSN: Thank you for having me today, Mr. Carter.  And thanks for the tour of NY1’s beautiful, state-of-the-art headquarters. 


Dominic Carter:
Brenda, thank you for coming and please call me Dominic.  Ask me anything you want.


BSN:  Thank you.  Dominic, how did you handle your mother when she was about to go into a violent episode with you?  Were there signals that would foreshadow these episodes?  How did you survive that entire trauma, being so young?


Dominic Carter:
  Actually, I don't remember.  I've blocked it out somehow.  What happened with my life was, I knew my mother and I had a terrible past in terms of the sexual abuse, but I didn’t really remember the physical abuse – even as a teenager.  In fact, my wife used to try to persuade me to build a better relationship with my mother.  But it was only after, at the age of 40, receiving in the mail, psychiatric records on my mother and reading how she would violently beat me and bruise me; and then reading that she tried to choke me to death; and that she heard voices telling her to throw me out of a window – that’s when it jarred some of my memory to recall some of the severe beatings.


The only thing I vividly remember is the sexual abuse.  And for me, that’s the absolute worse.  Sexual abuse is enough to scar you for the rest of your natural life.  In our society, in cases of sexual abuse, we usually hear about females being sexually abused by their dad; their uncles, etc., or we may hear about a boy being abused by an uncle or something like that.  We don’t hear about a male being sexually abused by his mother.  I’m not minimizing any abuse, because it’s all horrible.  No one should experience it.  But the scars stayed with me all my life.


Brenda, I want to make it very clear that I’ve forgiven my mother.  It took me a long time to get to this point.  I’ve forgiven her because first of all, she’s no longer here and keeping hold of all that anger is just negative energy.  And I’d rather be about positive things.  I couldn’t even begin to heal myself as long as I was walking around with all that anger as it related to my mother.  So, what’s in the past is in the past. 


Further, I didn’t know anything about her psychiatric condition until I was 40 years old; and I’m only 43 now.  Had I only known, what she was going through, it would have drastically changed our relationship in a positive way.  Had I known she was so ill, I would have said, “It’s okay.  We can recover from this.  I love you, Mother.  Give me a hug.”  I have never hugged my mother; I’ve never referred to my mother as, “Mom,” she was always Laverne to me.  My grandmother was "Ma," as I know, is the case in many Black families.


BSN:  How did that experience affect your relationships growing up, for example, dating in your adolescent years?


Dominic Carter:
  I still remember like it was yesterday, sitting in the schoolyard.  You  know how girls will talk about what guys they like and boys will talk about what girls they like, and half the time, the boys are lying (laughing), you know, fabricating the stories about who they’ve been with or who they’re going to “get with?”


BSN: Yes.


Dominic Carter:
Well, as my friends would tell these stories, I would always get silent because I already knew there was a sexual encounter in my background with, of all people, the woman who gave birth to me; the woman who is supposed to be my ultimate protector – my mother. 


So, at age 12, when my friends began talking about dating other girls and possibly hooking up with other girls, I would think to myself, “Am I going to even want women?”  I really didn’t know.  That’s how confused I was. You have to understand that when something like this happens, with each passing birthday – from 7 years old – you realize more and in more vivid terms how wrong it is – and it becomes more reprehensible with each passing birthday.  So, throughout my life, I carried the pain of an adult, and now as an adult, I carry the pain of a child. But I’m happy to say I have a normal marriage and sex life.


And I realize that I am a very blessed human being.  God has given me great talent in terms of being a journalist, and you don’t succeed to the levels that I’ve been able to succeed without receiving some type of blessing. 


BSN:  Dominic, with all of the negative elements you were exposed to, for example, gangs, drugs, etc., how did you escape becoming a casualty?


Dominic Carter:
Brenda, that is an excellent question.  My mother was often absent for months -- even years (unbeknownst to me that she was in and out of mental hospitals and institutions).  I was raised by three strong women and I was always taught that you’re respectful of people.  I was always taught that you had tremendous pride.  I was surrounded by so much love from my grandmother.  My grandmother came from Augusta, Georgia.  She was a maid.  That’s what she did for a living.  She didn’t have much of a formal education, but I like to say, she had a Ph D in loving me.


I was my grandmother’s entire world and she didn’t give me a chance to mess up.  But we were very poor.  I can recall like it was yesterday, our not having enough to eat.  One thing you will never see me touch to this day is chicken backs or bologna sandwiches, because that symbolizes the tough times that we went through.  And when the money would run out from my grandmother’s SSI checks, we were forced to eat butter sandwiches and mayonnaise sandwiches.  Nevertheless, I was surrounded by a lot of love.  I can remember, from a young age, my aunt saying to me, “You’re going to college.  Education is so important.  You’re going to college.”  And my grandmother found the best youth programs one could find with no money.  I most remember the Police Athletic League (PAL). 


Another thing that forced me down the right path was when I was in high school, I was told by the guidance counselor -- a man who looked just like me, “Don’t waste your time applying to college because you’ll be dead or in jail.


BSN:  WOW!  Why would he say such a thing?


Dominic Carter:
  Maybe because I went to five high schools in four years; maybe he was bitter about his own life.  I don’t know.  But what I do know is, those are words he should never have said. Although now, I’m almost thankful he said those words to me because they motivated me in a positive way.  Some kids would have let the man's words destroy them.  But I was determined I was going to prove him wrong.  So, I graduated from college in three years instead of four and got my Bachelor’s degree. 


Summing it up, there was no possibility of me getting into trouble because I was not allowed to hang out.  Once the sun went down, I had to be in the house.  I couldn’t do many of the things that the other kids in my neighborhood did.


I’m sad to admit, though, that I get letters now from penal institutions across America from friends that I grew up with who are doing 25 years to life for murder, armed robbery, guys that I grew up with who chose the wrong path -- the path of “quick fix,” and looking for the easy solution and it didn’t work out.  And it breaks my heart. My best friend is in and out of jails between Atlanta and South Carolina.  The guy got better grades than I, but he spent a lifetime in and out of prison from drugs.


BSN:  Dominic, while watching you on “Inside City Hall,” I always admire your poise and charisma.  To what do you attribute this?


Dominic Carter:
Brenda, you have to understand -- I was raised by three Black women.  Three Black women made me into the man that I am today.  I never thought I’d be in this role.  But I’m in a role now where I feel I carry the weight of an entire community. Not just in New York City, but for the entire nation.  And we’re not given many opportunities in life, so I feel that I have to make us proud.  I really do feel that way.  I feel that I can never do anything that will make any Black person say, “Awe, that Brother embarrassed us.” 


BSN: What do you mean by that?


Dominic Carter:
  I’ve realized that little kids, particularly Black and Latino kids will recognize me from tv and they’ll run up to me and give me a hug.  That right there is a great responsibility.  Each and every day I have to live up to that responsibility, and I’m going to do it.  I’m not going to be like some of these athletes and dump my responsibility, because I don’t think that’s right.  I’m going to accept the responsibility to be a role model and do it. That’s one of the things that keep me up. 


When I came into politics, one of the reasons I was skeptical is, it appeared as though half the country didn't vote, and nobody paid attention to politics.  But I said, "Let me take this as an opportunity."  And I view my job as that -- an opportunity to educate our people on the process of politics.  We always complain after the deal’s been done and after it’s already gone down. By then, it’s too late.  What also picks me up is when Brothers in their 50s and 60s send me letters telling me that I’ve influenced them to go back to school and get their GED.  


To do something like The Harlem Book Fair, for me is a great, great, great opportunity, and I don’t take it lightly, because I view it as a coming home for me.  I’m going to be doing a conversation on Life and Making It, with Congressman Rangel and some other authors on Saturday, July 21st at the Schomburg.  C-Span is going to be broadcasting.


Brenda, I'm telling you -- sometimes in my life I have to pinch myself because of some of the things I’ve been able to accomplish.  But one thing I don’t believe in is making excuses.  I believe there are definitely obstacles.  And as a person of color, there will always be obstacles.  The question is, how do you handle it?  Are you going to let that stop you or how are you going to find a way to get around it?  I’m into always finding a way to get around it, and that’s the way I raise my children.


BSN:  I understand you married your college sweetheart.  How many children do you have and what are their ages?


Dominic Carter:
My daughter, Courtney Carter is 19 years old, she’s going into her junior year at Syracuse University, and my son, Dominic, Jr. is 14 years old.


BSN:  Beautiful, Dominic.  Congratulations.


Dominic Carter: 
Well, thank you.


BSN:  Dominic, why did you go public with your story?  Weren't you embarrassed?


Dominic Carter:
  A lot of people are telling me that I’m courageous for coming forward, but I don’t see it that way. I know what it’s like to feel so all alone when you’ve gone through something like this, and I feel that if I didn’t share it, knowing that I have the platform of television, and that the media will pay attention simply because of who I am now in life, I feel that I’d be almost like a coward if I didn’t share my story. 


I can step forward and say, “Yes!  They say I’m the best political reporter in New York, but this is what I also went through.”


“Yes!  I’ve been to the White House but I grew up on welfare.”


“Yes!  I interviewed Nelson Mandela when he came to New York but I know what it’s like to be hungry.  I know what it’s like to come out of the projects of New York. I know what it’s like to make a way when there IS no way.”


When I started in this business, I had not a single connection.  I didn’t know how I was going to make it. That being said, there are two things I can recommend to our young people.  If they don’t hear anything else I say, hear this:  You have to do internships and you have to be willing to work hard.  I don’t believe in luck.  I believe you create your own opportunities.  You have to be willing to work so hard that they CAN’T overlook you.  That’s what I’ve done with my career.


BSN: Great advice.  Now, Dominic, I’d like to go back to your childhood for a moment, please, and ask, do you ever have flashbacks of those horrific experiences with your mom?


Dominic Carter:
  Honestly, Brenda, I’m so busy with my work that usually, I don’t have the time to think about anything else.  Remember -- I’m one generation away from the projects – the first one in my family to graduate from college.  So, I’m so busy trying to make a life for my kids and make sure they don’t experience the poverty I did, that I don’t have time to focus on that.  It’s just counterproductive.  When you’re a person of color, it’s never going to be easy.  I don’t care who you are.  Sometimes, I might get a little down, but I always have to work so hard and push so hard, I just keep going. 


I’ve just forgiven my mother.  Now that I know what she went through, I appreciate that she did the best she could with what she had.  The important thing that I want to convey is, there are no excuses. At the end of the day, whomever doesn’t make it, has nobody to blame but themselves.


Dominic Carter will discuss these and more enthralling experiences which ultimately compelled him to write the shocking book, “No Momma’s Boy,” as part of the Harlem Book Fair this Saturday, July 21st at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located on West 135th Street between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in New York City.


For more information on the Harlem Book Fair, please visit
www.qbr.com .


To get your copy of “No Momma’s Boy,” and to learn more about Dominic Carter, logon to
www.nomommasboy.com


Brenda Jeanne Wyche, is Managing Editor of The Black Star News and Harlem Business News Magazine.  If you have a solution, contact
Brenda@blackstarnews.com   Maybe we’ll talk.


To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to
Milton@blackstarnews.com
“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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