Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rihanna, Sasha & Malia

TwitThis



A couple of weeks ago, 50 cent conceded that
Rihanna
getting beat by Chris Brown
wasn't real to him. James
Montgomery of MTV News writes,

"After I saw the photograph, that wasn't funny anymore," 50 said. "I didn't have any information on it. You're just going on what the public actually had. It shifts the whole thing. Even if you're saying you're in a dysfunctional relationship, I understand that. There's a point when you're already past a woman fighting you back. You look at [the picture], and it's obviously past that point. There's some issues there that definitely gotta be addressed. Not to take any shots at Chris or Rihanna or take sides in any way, [but] it's really not cool. It's not funny anymore, so there will definitely be no more reference to that from me in any way."
Why is a picture needed in order to convey the
seriousness of the topic?


In many ways, I think that it wasn't real for many people.

According to The Domestic Violence Institute, Black women
comprise 8% of the U.S. population but in 2005 accounted
for 22% of the intimate partner homicide victims and 42%
of all female victims of intimate partner homicide.

African Americans account for a disproportionate number
of intimate partner homicides. In 2005, African Americans
accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides
in this country.


According to a survey conducted by Tufts University,
-Approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact
of a sexual nature by age 18.
-The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is

homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner
-In a study of African-American sexual assault survivors, only 17%
reported the assault to police
Last weekend, I was discussing my idea for this post with
Birkhold. I mentioned that, what if, instead of Rihanna it
were Sasha or Malia Obama who was assaulted by their
boyfriend? Malia is 11, and , in 8 years she could be college
student who is dating an R & B.

I chose Sasha and Malia, because collectively,
the Obama girls
tend to elicit a kind of respect
for Black femininity
that I think that all Black
women deserve.


Unfortunately, we have a tendency to organize the
respectability of Black women into a hierarchy.
"Hoe's on the bottom. Triflin' baby momma's in the middle,
wifey at the top.
" All of us are human, all of us deserve to
be respected.


I was discussing this post with Birkhold. I asked
"What if it were Malia. What if Malia was 19 and a
at
Harvard, Howard or Spellman and was assaulted by her
boyfriend. Would we have to see proof in order to believe

that something happened or at least to not make a joke
of it?" He responded, "That it wouldn't make a difference
to many people because, in American culture, there is a
strong tendency to explain men beating women as
boys will be boys behavior."

I have also been thinking about of Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Last fall I remember seeing one of the first episodes,
and all I could think is that "Why is a shallow portrayal of
women as gold diggers being presented to us as
entertainment?"

As I watched the show I became far more interested
in their background narratives, I felt myself wanting to hear
them discuss the abuse that they suffered that has caused them
to try and pursue healing through obtaining material items.

Material and or human beings can't fill God sized holes.

I got my answer. In this month's Essence, Denene Millner
interviews Nene Leakes and Lisa Wu-Hartwell of The Real
Housewives of Atlanta. Millner writes,
Leakes recalls the first time she spent the night at the man's house, just a short time into their relationship. "When we got ready to go to bed, he took out a gun and laid it on the nightstand," she says. "I'd never been around a gun before. It really freaked me out. My thoughts were, Okay, I need to do what he says. I need to be really nice tonight. That should have been my warning." But Leakes failed to heed her own intuition.
This reminded me of Rihanna and her intuition.

I told Birkhold that if a dude put a gat on my dresser,
the countdown would be on for me to figure out
how to get out of that bedroom alive.

We began to discuss the different ways that women asses
danger.
He pointed out that the way my intuition works isn't
necessarily
the way intuition works for other women. His
explanation
was that if I came up with a brother, father or
boyfriend,
who carried a gun, and if when he had that gun
I felt protected
while I was out in the street, then it may not
be that odd
, to me, for a man that I am dating to take a gun
out and set it on the dresser the first
night I stayed over.

I was floored. I never thought about it that way.

We talked about how when a woman decides to leave
an abusive relationship, that it isn't black and white.
That women attempt passive resistance, they attempt
to leave and that many feel compelled to stay because they
may have children.

All I could think was, I hope Chris doesn't have to kill her
in order for more of us to start taking this issue seriously.

Black women are killed by their partners at a disproportionate
rate.


Do you think it would be different if it were Malia?

What has to happen for us to change our boys will be
boys thinking?


16 comments:

the prisoner's wife said...

i'm not at work today, i'm at a tech conference for educators. but i got a call from a an aid that works w/ me & my intervention group. he told me that 2 of my students were involved in a knock down drag out fight IN MY CLASSROOM *sigh*. one was a boy, the other a girl. my first reaction upon hearing the girl's name was....karma. then i felt bad for NOT immediately taking her side, but i know her. i know how she is (she's threatened & put hands on this boy before). does that give my male student the right to hit her back (and apparently drag her around the floor by her hair & hit her several times)? no. but do i understand? yes.

i remember discussing this whole Ri/CB thing with my students. a lot of the girls tended to stick up for CB & say, "well, Ri gave him an STD" or "I heard she was cheating..." and the boys made a big joke of it. i immediately told them that didn't give him or anyone the right to put hands on folks. i asked, what if it were your momma/sister/daughter? they said they'd react violently (shoot/kill dude), but somehow they didn't connect Ri as being somebody's sister/daughter.

but life is always more complicated than we think. when does a guy cross the line? is it ok when the girl becomes violent FIRST? should dudes not hit girls simply because they are GIRLS? or is violence never the answer? (i try to champion the non-violence angle)

i am afraid for a lot of my female students. they PUSH (i've seen it) and dare boys to him them, then clown them for NOT hitting them, then declare that boys shouldn't hit girls & if he had of hit her she would go get her brother/cousin/whomever. i think we are not teaching our kids HOW to relate to each other. parental role models often model the wrong behaviors. Chris saw his mom abused & as much as he hated seeing that, he lashed out in the same manner. why? it's deeper than Boys should never hit girls. it's deeper than what if it were Sasha or Malia. it could be...and i think if it were you'd still have someone asking what SHE did to provoke him.

M.Dot. said...

it's deeper than Boys should never hit girls. it's deeper than what if it were Sasha or Malia. it could be...and i think if it were you'd still have someone asking what SHE did to provoke him.
========
Asking the question presumes

Do we Ask whether Black men, who have been
shot by the police, have done something do
provoke the shooting? Yes some do, and we are
ready willing and able to acknowledge that
JUST by asking the question, it's hella racist,
because it puts the Police above the law,
above accountability.

Black on Black sexism is making my ass itch.

You got my torch flaring....lols.

Thank you for your comment.
Oh. I met Aunt Jackie a couple of weeks ago.

YOU NEXT BOO!

I should take pictures w/ all of yall and create a Model Minority Flkr account....lols.

Christina said...

It wouldn't matter if it was Rihanna, Malia, or Oprah, if she wants to get back with the guy when her family, friends, and untold millions of total strangers know he damn near broke her face in half there isn't much else anybody can do to help... Does it count as victim blame if I think it's her fault for staying with him? Maybe the bright side of all this is that next time someone sees their sister/friend/mom with a black eye they'll DO something

Model Minority said...

Christina,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

I don't think the issue is that black and white.
To a certain extent, SOME people believe that
being hit by the person you love is okay. Some people stay because they don't think they will be hit again. Violence between a couple is about domination and control.

When a woman/man is in a relationship where
they are being BEAT, both the abuser and the abused are sick.

Does it count as victim blame if I think it's her fault for staying with him?
======
Why do you think its her fault?
What do you mean by fault?

Where is the empathy in this statement?

Oftentimes when people stay in abusive relationships, part of the person FEELS that
they deserve it.

If she feels that way, it is between her and God.

Yes, everyone has agency, a will to act.
She can and should leave, but she needs help.
I hope that he doesn't have to kill her
in order for that to be made clear, which of course would be too late.

My issue isn't so much of her leaving, it is with our complacency with violence.

Violence isn't funny.

It isn't funny when it is the police shooting at Sean Bell 40 times, it isn't funny when it is Chris Brown hitting her so hard that she has two knots on the side of her head.

Incident reminds me of when being a "Strong Black Woman" goes wrong.

Lord Phresche said...

I don't think the question is over whether or not it is her fault. I think the main concern is how to prevent or avoid something like this happening in the first place. And it is that basis of thinking that is causing people to react the way they are towards Rihanna.

Metaphor:

If I see a drugdealer on the corner selling his poison to people, I am going to be mad because he's doing something WRONG. However, I would get mad at my little sister IF she bought stuff from him too! In fact, I'd probably get MORE upset at her than I would at the drug-dealer. Why?

Because I assume that a man/woman who has descended to the low of slowing killing other people with chemical substances to advance him or her self financially is a MORALLY BANKRUPT person. This person has already rationalized the act in their minds, which is why they can then take the next step to perform it. In short, there's nothing I can do about that fool.

HOWEVER, I can, should and WILL get upset at my little sister, because his being MORALLY BANKRUPT is not destroying his life as immediately as it will destroy hers IF she buys and uses the poison that he's selling..

And I think this is why people are upset at Rihanna.

Guys in 2009 are EFFED in the head. So, I try to encourage the women that I know to act they way they would if they knew he was not right in the head, until he proves "otherwise".

People can only pretend for so long.

It sounds like I'm saying that she should've seen this coming, but that's not what I mean. What I'm saying is that once it has come, she shouldn't act like it didn't.

the prisoner's wife said...

Guys in 2009 are EFFED in the head. So, I try to encourage the women that I know to act they way they would if they knew he was not right in the head, until he proves "otherwise".
====
Lord P,

operating under this assumption STILL places the blame on the victim. why must she assume he isn't right in the head? and if she assumes this & still continues the relationship, when/if he abuses her, you're saying she should have known better? meaning it's her fault?

i think we need to be careful when we start telling others to take on the responsibility the other person should have for him/herself.

M.Dot. said...

LP,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
Its always nice to when new (old readers) leave a message.

What happens in a society if we
give the d-boy a pass but continue to
have moral expectations for people who are
using.

In reality, many folks who use dope
sell it as well, so where would
that leave us?

I have written about D-boys, victims being perpetrators here.
http://modelminority.blogspot.com/2008/11/can-victims-be-perpetrators.html

What I'm saying is that once it has come, she shouldn't act like it didn't.
======
On one hand I hear you.
On the other, I am wondering where
the empathy is in this statement?

Given the fact that Black women disproportionately are killed by their intimate
partners, where is the language about Men in general and Black men specifically
who feel entitled to us, to our bodies, to hitting us?

Addiction, violence between sexual partners, prostitution, dope selling is not cut and dry. That being said, neither will the solutions.

Christina said...

Hello again,

I'm not saying it's her fault she got beat, even women who are ok and healthy get into relationships they think are ok and healthy-- until the dude shows a sociopathic ugly side *nobody* knew was there.

But then, abuse continues because the woman will hide the effects, lie about how she got those injuries and basically enable it to continue, until the bad end. In Rihanna's case, since she is a celebrity, she didn't get to hide it, everybody knew what happened even before TMZ bought the crime scene photos from a crooked cop. So now when her and Chris are all hugged up again like nothing happened, even before his arraignment, I just cannot understand how a situation like than can be helped. All the empathy in the world isn't going to fix it.

Fortunately, I don't have to; those people are stangers to me so I don't have to care about them. My only responsiblilty is to my own familty and friends, to help anyone I love who finds themselves in an abusive relationship, to let my nieces and nephews that this situation is not ok.

An occurence like this will tell you a lot about people; I have always been in the "domestic violence is always wrong, men shouldn't hit women and women shouldn't hit men either, and if they do they should STOP BEING TOGETHER" camp, so I was honestly suprised to see how many people (a) think she did something to provoke/deserve it or (b) say that if they were her they'd take him back too. It really blows my mind. The problem is that, while this incident tells you about people, it doesn't change people. It just shows you that people who think that way exist, that they will continue to exist, and that many of them will find each other, hook up and breed new generations of abuser/enablers just like themselves. I don't see how this can be changed, all one can do is try to help the individual they can reach.

Lord Phresche said...

M.Dot, I do have empathy and sympathy for her. I expressed this (and the dilemma she must be facing) in a response to one of your earlier posts.

I don't see my decision to ignore the actions of the metaphorical D-Boy as giving him/her a pass. I see it more as an act of wisdom in acknowledging that someone like that is not going to see anything wrong with what they are doing. The law and jail hardly terrifies such people to see otherwise! Now I can expend untold amounts of energy in trying to prevent him from doing wrong, or I can turn my attention to the victim of his wrong-doing (in this case Rihanna) and try to get that person to take a decision that will minimize (and hopefully eliminate) the wrong being done to her.

Whether she did something or not to provoke him is irrelevant in this situation. The basic principle that a man should never hit a woman should not be made subject to circumstance (such as she kicked me in the nuts) because then a scenario can always be invented to "justify" what is unjustifiable.

And, unfortunately, the mentality that the unjustifiable can be made justifiable based on the circumstance is a way of thinking that is allowing for all kinds of wrong-doing in society. A lot of brothers have come to embrace that foolish logic: Circumstantial wrong-doing.


I read your article, and I completely believe in agency of every individual. Prince being a "victim" of anti-gay rhetoric is speculative, but even if he had been, I don't see his statement as perpetrating what he suffered. first of all, I don't think it was even anti-gay. It was what his faith had to say about it, so he's not the Author of that thought, but he believes in it. Secondly, I think it is dangerous to automatically and categorically assume that he said that or feels that way about gay people because that kind of treatment happened to him. I think his stance is based on GOD's stance because of his faith the Bible, more than anything else. That Prop 8 business is far more complicated so I'll leave it alone for now. But suffice it to say that i think a lot of gay people assumed black people were cooler with their agenda than they actually were or are and were completely floored, shocked that "black people would do this to them after everything they had done for the black community".

But back to the point I'm making. Chris Brown has chosen how he will act in this circumstance. His thinking has culminated in this final act of beating as much beauty of Rihanna as he possibly could before he was hindered. This is an established fact.

Rihanna can now (a) remember that he did this, and assume that if he was able to lose control in this way, and abandon a principle which he should never abandon, then he will do so again in the future..or (b) remember this and hope that he won't.

I know one thing though: IF it happens again, all the empathy in the WORLD will be absent because the general consensus will be that she should've seen the writing on the wall.

Model Minority said...

@ Christina

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
I am so glad that the discussion here at MM has been productive, unlike at other sites. I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to dialogue.

All the empathy in the world isn't going to fix it.
======
No one can fix anyone else. I understand that.
But the point of being empathatic, is that
you look to what another person is going through with understanding, not contempt.

Rihanna's behavior has brought a lot of anger from Black women to Black women to the surface.
(I do not, however, presume that you are a Black woman.)

In some ways, I think we are hard on ourselves because we don't like ourselves

Fortunately, I don't have to; those people are stangers to me so I don't have to care about them. My only responsiblilty is to my own familty and friends, to help anyone I love who finds themselves in an abusive relationship, to let my nieces and nephews that this situation is not ok.
======
Here is the rub. Here is where the shit hits the fan. You see. The WE are all informed by the media. Main stream media redistributes back to us what WE think is normal.

We are all connected. All of us.

It is very difficult to be concerned with your (I would imagine teen) nieces and nephews and not be concerned with Rihanna and Chris, BECAUSE the way that Rihanna and Chris handle this TEACHES our young ones what is and isn't acceptable.

IF you do not agree with me, then let me ask you this. Do you think that President Obama and the First Black first family influences your nieces and nephews? If they do, then, what is to stop them from being influenced by Chris beating Rihanna and our subsequent ("it ain't none of my business" or "she is stupid for going back reactions"?)

It just shows you that people who think that way exist, that they will continue to exist, and that many of them will find each other, hook up and breed new generations of abuser/enablers just like themselves.
====
I believe that each person is capable of becoming a more human, human. This comes from watching my father struggle with a crack addiction for 15 years, and finally achieve sobriety. You can only imagine that range of feelings that arise when I think about the ish that he put our family through. At the end of the day, he is a person, and people heal.

To think otherwise is to subscribe to the soft bigotry of low expectations.

EVERYONE isn't going to get it, some will be life long, addicted, enabling, rageful and codependent. I understand that, but I see it as my job to leave space, to leave the door cracked for those why want to try.

Model Minority said...

LP,

Thank you for not only commenting
but going back and reading the post
that I linked to (its one of my favorites:)

I don't see my decision to ignore the actions of the metaphorical D-Boy as giving him/her a pass. I see it more as an act of wisdom in acknowledging that someone like that is not going to see anything wrong with what they are doing.
====
D boys, politicians, mommas and daddies,
and addicts all need to be held accountable.
To assume otherwise is patronizing.
D-boys know that they wrong. That they refuse
to act is something completly different.


And, unfortunately, the mentality that the unjustifiable can be made justifiable based on the circumstance is a way of thinking that is allowing for all kinds of wrong-doing in society. A lot of brothers have come to embrace that foolish logic: Circumstantial wrong-doing.
=====
Truest shit I read today.
But many a folks ARE NOT going to want to rap
their head around it.

I know one thing though: IF it happens again, all the empathy in the WORLD will be absent because the general consensus will be that she should've seen the writing on the wall.
=====
Intimate partner violence is in many ways like an addiction.
She is used to being hit, he is use to hitting,
and it is hard to stop both.

You need help to stop.
And an addiction is typically symptomatic of
a larger issue that needs to be addressed.

Lord Phresche said...

Sup M Dot,

I just heard bad news: that she's not leaving him and they are planning on writing a book together (or something of the sort).

She definitely needs help.

I'd like to pick your brain as to why you think D-boys and friends refuse to obey the law.

By the way, I do believe that they should be held accountable, I just recognize that they don't allow this to guide their actions and still chose to act in opposition to the laws that were created for that intent.

Model Minority said...

LP,

A book together. If he don't kill her first.
Wow.

D Boy's don't obey the law, for the same reason Maddoff didn't. They are more intersted in the cake, and are indifferent about being caught.

Every time I talk to my brother, I am surprised at his willingness to take penitentiary chances in the 80's and early 90's. His code is/was different than mine.

nails said...

abusive people are great at manipulating others. they will do whatever it takes to get the person back and it works a lot of the time.

I do not know why everyone expects a woman who got her face beat in to be totally emotionally healthy right after and not have any room for mistakes. People judge women who stay with abusers as though they are businessmen who are deciding not to take a client back. There is a lot more involved and just getting beat up by a partner can make you very unstable and not as able to make good choices. How many women are depressed after that? how many have post traumatic stress? how many have substance abuse problems as a result? how many are overwhelmed by fear of not obeying their abuser? etc

I have seen a lot of women who have been abused not make good choices about their company because they just dont care about themselves anymore, they are that depressed.

There are a lot of different things people just dont take into account, but it always gets called stupidity and everyone refuses to use empathy about the situation after that.

I think that if it was malia or sasha there would be more initial support, but if they didnt leave ASAP or hell even if they had a friendly text message that the media found out about they would treat them the same way. they would be called stupid despite being at harvard or where ever.

Renee said...

I don't believe that we would view this situation any differently if it were Sasha or Malia because ultimately we live in a society that has quite specifically chosen to devalue black womanhood. Patriarchy has a vested interested in constructing our bodies as existing solely for the purposes of exploitation. If the medias racist/sexist treatment of their mother Michelle is any indication, black women regardless of social rank are always under attack.

Model Minority said...

Nails,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I giggled at this:

People judge women who stay with abusers as though they are businessmen who are deciding not to take a client back.
=====
I mean Really? Dead up!


I have seen a lot of women who have been abused not make good choices about their company because they just dont care about themselves anymore, they are that depressed.
=======
Amen. That's what abuse does.

There are a lot of different things people just dont take into account, but it always gets called stupidity and everyone refuses to use empathy about the situation after that.
====
You know. I think this touches so hard for me b/c my momma had my twin sisters in '68 by a man that she was forced to marry, abortions were illegal, and she was just a teenager. My mothers is haunted by this time of her life. I have spent MOST of my life trying not to add to her pain. Thank you for your empathy.

And keep stopping by and commenting.

-Renina

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