I'm sure that many people have heard about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation. Obviously, very few people TRULY know what happened. I, like you, have my own opinions.
But, this post isn't completely about Chris and Rihanna. It's about something I heard last night on the radio and what I see as a dangerous shift in attitudes.
One of the local radio stations had a "call-in-line" where people called in to talk about the C&R situation and I'm going to paraphrase a bit here, but the majority of calls went like this:
- "I don't think Chris hit Rihanna, he doesn't look like the kind of guy that would do that,"
- "She must have really made him angry to punch her like that,"
- "Everybody has their limits and she must've made him real mad to hit her like that,"
- "Females have to understand that if you hit a man, he's gonna' hit you back,"
- "She had to have hit him first to make him hit her like that,"
- "Chris Brown is too nice to hit a woman,"
- "Rihanna, obviously provoked Chris to beat her up,"
- "Let's not be mad at Chris until we find out what Rihanna did to him first,"
The vast majority of callers were African-American women and most of them sounded youngish, in their teens and 20's from my guess. Sadly, they all leaned towards defending or sympathizing with Chris Brown and virtually blaming Rihanna for what may have happened to her.
I was simply stunned. I assumed that man on woman violence would rally women behind the alleged victim, but quite the opposite. They solidly stood behind the man. Maybe it's because Chris has a squeaky clean image, maybe it's because he's cute, maybe it's because he can sing and dance pretty good - but don't all those qualities apply to Miss Rihanna too?
So, why have attitudes shifted, and when did these attitudes shift? Honestly I don't know and I guess I'm floating my thoughts out to the universe to see what floats back.
I always assumed and believed, and still do, that a man NEVER lays his hands on a woman. A man, even when provoked with the gravest of circumstances, NEVER hits a woman. He can yell, he can scream, he can walk away, he can file for divorce, he can go get drunk, hell, he can pack bag and go stay at a hotel for a few days, but he NEVER hits a woman. I thought that was the way MEN did business when things got bad.
Now, I'm not just sitting here passing judgement from on-high in cyber space, I've been there and done that. I've been THAT MAN. Years ago, this woman I was dating brought some nonsense to me and started this intense argument, it went on for 5 or 10 minutes and she decided that she wanted to make her point by punching me in the face. I didn't touch her, I stepped back, furious. When she saw that I wasn't going to strike her back she became emboldened and grabbed a pair of scissors and tried to stab me, I caught her arm and knocked the scissors from her hand, she then bit down on my hand and fell on the floor trying to kick me off my feet. It was intense for a few minutes. But I never hit her, I never smacked her, I never did anything physical to harm her. If this was a man doing this, I would have beaten him bloody, but I have always believed that a man NEVER hits a woman.
I guess that attitude is gone now in most folks. Sadly, I think it's gone in most women.
But, I want to say, right here, right now to anyone reading this blog... THAT NEW ATTITUDE OF ACCEPTANCE needs to change. The standing policy should still be, "A Man Never Lays His Hands on a Woman." Women of all ages and colors should make that a Universal and Un-Breakable policy. It is completely unacceptable that a man should beat up a woman and then have people... and not just men... but have OTHER WOMEN rally around him and help justify what he did! And, I don't give a damn about how much money he has, how cute he is, how nice you think he is... a man that hits a woman is a straight-up punk! A sorry, sucker-ass, jive-time, low-down, no-good, punk!
If a man hits you, get help, call the police and leave his behind in the dust.
Demand more, Ladies! Stand together, and don't accept anything less than you truly deserve!
CHUCK: See, and people like to laugh and say to me, "You've had some bad experiences with women."
I'm with Garland here in large part. I've had some pretty angrry confrontations with women I've been involved with, but it's never gotten to a physical level. Still, I've got some thoughts on this whole Chris Breezy/Rihanna business I want to share with you in the form of some bullet points, as follows:
A) WHY DOES CHRIS BROWN HAVE A GIRLFRIEND... if he's not going to be faithful to her? I call this Bow Wow's Conundrum. Chris is young, rich, and apparently attractive to females. He also, by most reports, is lacking the emotional maturity to be in a monogamous relationship right now, like his peer, the former Lil' Bow Wow reportedly was when he was dating Ciara. Fine. He's 19. What would I do if I was in his shoes?
However, instead of openly playing the field, he's in a public relationship with another pop star. Why? Publicity. Chris is gonna get a lot more press if he shows up for award shows and the like, with another star rather than a random jump-off. Magazine covers, videos, these kind of showmances can be beneficial to the principles' careers if people don't go off the deep end and start to think of the relationship as anything other than a business tranaction. Rihanna, Breezy, maybe you should have called Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman before either of you did anything rash.
B) WHERE IS THE LOVE FOR RIHANNA? I know, she's not from America, she supposedly tried to "steal" Jay-Z from Beyonce, she's supposed to be really jealous in relationships, and all that gossip-blog stuff. And I didn't like that song with Ne-Yo, either. But any expressions of concern for the woman allegedly assaulted here have been few and far between. They're basically along the lines of, "Boy, Rihanna must have really done SOMETHING to get Chris to rough her up like that." Sigh.
Granted a lot of the opinions I heard about this last week were from numbskulls calling in to radio shows, but still. If the alleged assailant is innocent until proven guilty, shouldn't the reported victim be shown at least the same discretion? And the fact that a lot of Chris Brown's most fervent defenders were female only bolstered my belief in something I've said for years: No man can show as much disrespect and lack of concern for a woman as another woman.
C) THE BITES Garland and I were discussing these the other day with some friends. Striking a woman with a hand or a fist is dreadful, but it seems to be historically the way a man will try to display his power over a woman. But biting? Where the hell does that come from? One of our female friends said to me, "Oh, you'd bite some one," and I had to disagree. That would never occur to me. I told her, even in a fight to the death with someone, I would fight with my hands, or whatever I could grab. And if my only way out was to bite, I'd bite hard and take a chunk out of my opponent.
The fact that Chris allegedly laid a number of bites on Rihanna gives me a little pause. Maybe this dude wasn't as Doublemint clean-cut as we were led to believe.
D) PARIS HILTON: WTF? One of the more outlandish stories of the past week concerns the source of a number of suggestive texts to Chris Brown that supposedly kicked off the melee between Chris and Rihanna last week. One report is that the source of those texts was one Paris Hilton.
Let me say this: As mad as my wife would be if I was getting texts from any woman seeking to get with me, she would probably be infinitely more enraged if those messages were coming from a say, woman of loose virtue, like Paris Hilton.
That's all I have to say about that. I don't believe it.
E) THE WHOLE SORDID MESS. The election of Barack Obama as President led most of us to rersolve to do better, as individuals, and as Black people. But here, it's barely been a month, and the new Prez's economic plans for the Nation are fighting it out for headline space with this mess. Domestic violence is a very important issue that I feel is becoming trivialized by the he-said-she-said back-and-forth on this story. The rules were simple when I grew up: You do not lift your hand to strike a female. If Chris Brown did this, and is guilty as charged, he should go to jail for it, And good riddance.