Tuesday, February 10, 2009

think, damn it!

I am angry with many people's responses to this situation where Chris Brown was arrested for allegedly hitting a woman, who is reported to be Rihanna.

People have been saying that R did something to make her attacker beat her up. Unless she physically balled up her attacker's fists and busted herself upside the head with them, that makes absolutely no sense. If she somehow angered CB while they were in a car, his proper response would have been to pull over and leave the woman on the sidewalk calling a taxi if that's what it took to keep from going upside her head with a closed fist. Yes, some women are crazy enough to provoke a man and try to get him angry. And that is wrong. But even so, anyone with an above-junior-high-school mindset is supposed to have enough restraint to walk away and not catch a case.

First, the nasty rumor about why he hit her is a RUMOR. I personally think jealous outsiders made it up to malign one or both of them because they made a cute couple. Neither R nor CB has had much to say in public about this, so I doubt this rumor came from either of them - I distrust any other source. Second, if the rumor was truthful it STILL wouldn't be an excuse for violence.

This is killing me. A woman gets her nose bloodied and her lip busted by someone with martial arts training, and some people's first response is to say, "Well what did she do wrong to cause someone to beat her up?" That is DYSFUNCTIONAL and scary.

This aspect of our culture is what makes people ignore women when they have been raped or molested. And it's not just men, it's women being contemptuous against other women, teaching their sons not to trust women, taking their sons' side when they disrespect women by beating them, cheating on them, or abandoning their fatherly responsibilities. To justify it, they jump on the bandwagon saying dumb stuff like, "That fill-in-the-blank was messing with my son/brother/friend," without trying to be objective about the fact that the woman has a side of the story too. Men and women alike are justifying mistreatment of women because they're working with the stereotype of the conniving Jezebel - perpetuating the stereotype that women are untrustworthy, deceitful, and deserving of violent treatment. And then when something pops off, people want to look the other way, saying it's none of their business, or claiming "Well, we don't know what really happened." Funny how the same people saying we don't know what happened are the first ones to insinuate that it was the woman's fault - I thought we didn't know what happened! Both R and CB have a story, and it makes no sense to just jump on R because she's the woman, yet that's exactly what's happening.

I don't know what happened between R and CB. Hopefully, the facts will come out in court. And if CB actually did what the reports are saying he did, he should be punished. He's young and can get counseling and do better. He's a victim of witnessing abuse, just like me, and he probably needs the counseling. And if the rumors are true about R provoking him somehow, then she should get some counseling too.

We have to do better. I have to wonder if our communal focus on racial equality and respect sometimes distracts us from working on achieving gender equality and respect as well. We will continue to live in a climate that is dangerous to our mothers, sisters, and daughters if we continue to blame the women who get beat up for what someone else did to them of their own free will.

(I wrote another version of this rant in The Black Snob's comment section.)