Tag Archives: Relationships

5 Thoughts on the Ray Rice Incident

I need to share some thoughts. Because some of the failures of logic presented as opinions in the last 24 hours would be silly if they weren’t so serious.

1) Victims of abuse often make decisions that individuals with healthy states of mind and in healthy relationships would not make. The fact that Janay Palmer married Ray Rice after he knocked her out isn’t evidence that she’s cool with domestic violence. Instead, it is evidence of just how common and insidious abuse is. There are loads of research on this.  See Stockholm Syndrome for a dramatic example. 

2) The circumstances around leaving an abusive situation are far more complex than those of us on the outside can appreciate. But equally important is that women do leave abusive partners and are still abused. In 2009, I met a woman who went to high school with my girlfriend.  She was memorable because she was cool. She had dimples, I think, and laughed easily. Less than a year later, that woman was killed on her doorstep by her EX-boyfriend, who subsequently killed himself in a car a few blocks away. Leaving him wasn’t enough. Rational actions mean nothing to irrational people. For more on this, see #WhyIStayed

3) I don’t condone domestic violence no matter the gender of the aggressor. However, I also do not condone fallacies of false equivalence. Ray Rice’s left hook to his fiancé’s face is an utterly disproportionate response to ANYTHING that occurred before it happened. If you see this in a ‘she hit him and deserves to get hit back’ binary, then your critical thinking skills are lacking, and could use some work. My nephew punched me in the eye a few months ago. I learned in the most unfortunate way that the kid’s got a solid right hand. By the flawed logic I’ve seen floating in cyberspace, I should’ve punched him right back. He’s 2 and 1/4 my size, but eye for an eye. No exceptions.  

4) When it comes to football, cats treat the game like the holy grail and coaches and players like gods. It’s disturbing. Remember that the entire Penn State football program turned a blind eye to rampant acts of sexual abuse of children. Those men protected Jerry Sandusky, and Penn State football, for years. The kids, not so much. 

Of course, Ray Rice isn’t the only football player who has committed a crime against women. As many have pointed out, Rice’s firing makes no profound statements about the League’s tolerance for domestic violence. So, this isn’t a watershed moment. Nonetheless, that others haven’t been punished isn’t grounds for leniency in Ray Rice’s case. It is grounds for investigation and/or policy changes for the entire organization. 

5) Lastly, some folks agreed when Stephen A. Smith opined that, lest they be subject to a beat down, women would save themselves trouble if they just wouldn’t provoke men. This reasoning is problematic because it lets men off the hook for behaving like fucking savages in a civilized society. Provocation is incredibly subjective when “provoking” a man who, in most cases is physically dominant, can range from an involuntary smile or touch to a deliberate act of violence. Provocation is an arbitrary concept and leaves all the onus on women; it leaves us to walk on eggshells around men. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

As an evolved society, we should expect that adults can control themselves enough to not resort to violence when they have disagreements. We’re not there, I acknowledge that. However, at the very least, we should be disgusted witnessing a bully knock his wife-to-be unconscious.  



All in Love is Fair

I’ve learned over the years that love is the one subject that has no rules. Of course, people place restrictions on love, and other people choose either to abide by them or not.  But, intrinsically, there are no rules in love.

What?  because I love you, I can’t love nobody else?  Or maybe I can’t love someone else as much as I love you, or the way I love you.  But how do you tell love that?  “lookahere love,  you gotta reign it in.  can’t be lovin anybody if you love somebody already.”

Folks don’t know what to do with love.  They feel like they gotta bottle it.  make sure nobody else can see it or have it.  can’t accept that love is promiscuous in a sense.  and if you’re lucky enough for somebody to give it to you, you can cherish it.  But you don’t get to hoard it.  We think loving someone and having them love you back is a zero sum game. Once I give my love to you, then by this logic, I should have nothing left to give.  Zero love reserves left.

But I’m a human being — an Aquarius human being — blessed with uniquely large capacities for love and friendship, and relationship.  And reason.  I understand that your love for me doesn’t preclude your love for him, or her.  And I’m ok with that.  I know where I stand with you and as long as you honor me and nurture us in our relationship, I’m ok.

Love and faith are opposites of fear.  Fear operates on absolute terms — black or white, this or that, her or me.  Because if we recognize that life is shades of gray, and that love is the quintessential gray area, then we are terrified of what that means.  We think we can’t rest comfortably in knowing (and feeling) that the love really is there.  Or that the person we love will honor it the right way.  But that’s not love’s fault.  Check the cat you chose to give your love to.  Is she worth it?  Or are you selfish about it?  Or did you make a bad love choice in the first place?

We often expect that love will look like it does in Disney films.  We’re all princess so-and-so waiting for prince or princess so-and-so to sweep us off our feet and pledge fealty to us and our interests only.  For all time.  And there’s nothing wrong with that when it happens.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting that.  Except that life isn’t a Disney film.  And most folks aren’t Bella or Cinderella, or Prince Charming.  We want love and we want to keep it, but we’re conditioned not to trust it unless it’s all encompassing and effectively forsakes all others, save family.  And even that’s shaky sometimes.

So, with less than 48 hours separating us from a new year, and a fresh start, I’ll make my New Year’s resolution in the here and now:  I resolve to make no apologies for the way I love and my commitment to it.  In other words, if I love, then I love.  I love hard and I love well.  And I’m committed to nurturing what we have.  I won’t live in fear.  And I won’t entertain fear shrouded in the guise of love.  Some shit you just have to trust.  And you can’t be afraid of that either.

With Love,