Violent black mega-stars and violent black athletes and the women who try to love them should avoid elevators like most black people avoid therapy.
The truth comes out in both.
In the wake of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice allegedly caught on an elevator camera knocking out his then-girlfriend and then dragging her unconscious body off the elevator and letting it flop — half on the elevator, half in the hallway — to the ground, there’s not been an elevator surveillance video so compelling and damning since Solange Knowles kicked and smacked the Brooklyn braggadocio out of Shawn Jay-Z Carter after the Met Gala Ball in May.
Both are examples of heinously outrageous domestic violence.
Difference is, Solange’s provocation was evident and if Jay-Z had hit her back — even once — he would have been equally wrong but his actions would be slightly forgivable and, I’m shocked to say, understandable.
With Rice, there’s an Internet’s worth of speculation over his victim’s provocation — “She must’ve done something to deserve it,” some say — but we don’t know what it is or what action is conceivably equal to being rendered unconscious.
When men hit and sometimes kill women, at issue — besides the obvious uncontrolled rage and maybe the frequency of that rage — is provocation.
And there is enough explanation, blame and responsibility for that provocation to go around.
We need — no, we must — take responsibility for the times we hit our partners, smack them upside the head, push them, verbally berate and belittle them, spit on them, throw things at them or put our hands in their faces and then register shock and awe when those violated partners hit back.
We have laid the groundwork for two-way domestic violence.
I am not talking about when a (male) partner terrorizes the household with violent words and actions, unpredictably clocking a woman.
These scenarios happen in same-sex relationships and partnerships, but we’re so stuck on stupid worrying about when and where same-sex marriage will be recognized, we’re not about to drag out the filthy laundry we share with our heterosexual counterparts.
Violence doesn’t care where it roosts.
I once forcefully pushed a partner into a glass shower door after she repeatedly poked and jabbed me in my chest during a heated argument.
I’d asked her calmly several times to please stop, please stop. When she wouldn’t, even after I’d waved her hand away, I shoved her with the flat open palms of both hands. I was at least four inches taller and even with our dimensional differences I didn’t know until then the brute force of my own strength.
I was humiliated, sad and sorry.
All I could do was think about her parents, whom I loved and respected and who’d fully accepted me.
What would I say to them if I’d at all injured their daughter?
In that moment, on that night, I was provoked but it didn’t matter. I had to carry what was mine — that I was and still am capable of outbursts of terrific violence and that I must check that potential at all times: when strangers cut me off in traffic, let the door slam in my face at the store or step in front of me at the bar.
That old and tired directive we give our boys that “It’s never okay to hit a girl” absolutely must be revamped. We cannot keep speaking only to potential abusers about the path to abuse.
We need to start very early on talking to our girls about their own rage; and, believe me, after working with mostly black teenagers every summer, I know for a fact that girls are indeed enraged.
Here it is: With exception it’s not OK for anyone to hit anyone and if the seemingly “weaker” person in the equation (me in my lesbian relationships, another woman in a hetero relationship, Solange Knowles in relationship to her brother-in-law) ever lays hands on the other person, then we can and should expect blowback.
And Solange, for one, is a very blessed woman that Jay-Z didn’t knock the black hipster outta her skinny black ass, really. And instead of, all these weeks later, speculating still over who’s cheating on whom in the Carter family, we should be electronically advising Solange to get some help for her obvious anger and rage and damn whether or not she was “protecting” her sister.
Conversely, Rice, poised as he is in the more conventional role of alleged male abuser, is getting the customary professional sports version of a slap on the wrist with his two-game suspension.
Rice was indicted for aggravated assault. For the alleged punch that left her limp on the floor of a casino elevator, Janay married Rice and publicly apologized for her “role” in the incident. During that same Ravens press conference, Rice apologized to his bosses.
Aha. I get it. Say you’re sorry to the mofos who pay you to be violent for a living but keep adding to the complicated fissures within your abusive relationship by publicly ignoring the humiliated victim.
What Rice is too stupid to realize is that if he keeps doing these things to Janay, if she hasn’t previously provoked an ass whipping then she just might from here on out.
By this I mean if she feels publicly shamed enough and tires of being the “hot topic” on gossip shows and blogs then she just might think the only way she can get or regain any power — if she ever had any at all — is to get in that man’s face in the privacy of their home or, hell, even in a public place like a casino.
Maybe she’ll want to emasculate him for kowtowing to his bosses, for being suspended from his beloved game, for maybe paying a fine.
Just maybe, in all the morass and maelstrom of confusion, violence and power plays, it will be worth a smack or a punch just so Janay can get her own ish off the only way she has learned how.
CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: firstname.lastname@example.org