“Why Do We Keep Letting Black Women Down?”: Ray Rice, Darren Wilson Supporters Sound the Same…

September 12, 2014  |  

“She’s still alive isn’t she?”

“But, one hit just ruined that man’s career.”

These are just a couple of the comments I’ve personally read or heard from African American men.  Writer Julian Long recently wrote a piece for The Washington Post ,”Black men’s excuses for Ray Rice sound a lot like the ones Darren Wilson’s supporters used” that spoke what many Black women are feeling as they scroll down their timelines and watch as Black men excuse Ray Rice’s actions and are infuriated with the NFL’s decision to let him go.

“We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives,” wrote Wilson supporters on the fundraising site, Go Fund Me. As if their “trying time” even touches that of Mike Brown’s family. As if Rice’s hit knocked out your regard for a woman’s life and safety. As if your Monday night football is of more importance.

And yes, these are two different extremes. Rice is now out of a job. Officer Wilson should be behind bars. There are many complications in looking to relate the two incidents, however what we can say is let us not excuse the actions that harm both our men and women.

 

“Black men. Fellas. Brothers.

Stop complaining about Ray Rice’s (much deserved and yet woefully insufficient) punishment. Right now.

When we are beaten, slain and otherwise persecuted, our sisters, our mothers, and our women stand for us with nearly unilateral, unwavering support. They march for us. They cry out our names and demand justice. They support us in our moments of quiet fear when we shed the bitter tears of self-doubt and fatigue.

Why aren’t we doing the same?” writes Long.

As a Black woman who has sat in the community meetings, asked for signatures, been shoved by police while marching for Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and well it’d take the entire word count to list them all – I am tired.  And waiting for the day all of our men rally just as strong when the pain and injustice is against their women as well. This is no, “which group Black men or Black women has it the worse?” But, it is a call to action. A call to, well the brothers who think Ray Rice was justified to look at themselves.

Stephen A. Smith wasn’t alone in blaming black women for the violence against them. Too many black men are making shameful attempts to explain away the punch that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice laid on his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer. The caught-on-tape abuse earned Rice an indefinite suspension from the NFL this week. That’s the least he should suffer for knocking a woman unconscious. It’s foolish to watch that video and see it any other way.

And yet, black men are complaining about Ray Rice’s punishment and diminishing his actions:

“It couldn’t have been that bad. She married him.”

It doesn’t matter.

“She should know he’s a big man and, if provoked, he’s gonna hit back.”

It doesn’t matter…

When you say these kinds of things — when you look for ways to go easy on Ray Rice — you are doing two things: First, you’re telling black women, “Your lives and your sense of safety have less value to me than the recreational sports that I watch ritually.” You’re telling the women who stand for you, cry for you and demand justice for you, “Thanks for all that, but don’t mess with my game.” You damage their feeling of safety with you. You reinforce the perception that they are alone in their struggle. All of that leaves them even more vulnerable in a society that so often leaves them behind.

 

Yes, Long. Yes.

Read Long’s full piece in the The Washington Post here.

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