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Abuses of Power: Ray Rice and the Racist Media

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Ray Rice is an abuser and woman beater. This is a fact. I believe his “punishment” to be far too light and his recent public statement lacking much in contrition, humility and accountability. I am afraid for Janay Rice. Based on what I observed in the press conference regarding Ray Rice’s behaviour and through my work as a social worker and anti-domestic violence educator, it is highly probable that he will hit Janay again or abuse her in the other forms of domestic violence that are outside of the physical if he has not already.

Ray Rice is all kinds of guilty but I think it needs to be said that the white supremacist capitalist media enjoys this story a little TOO MUCH.

Ray Rice gleefully fulfils all the white supremacist capitalist media’s twisted ideas about black men. I can literally envision them frothing and the impact of this high profile story (as it should be) has already sent ripples through what is already a toxic racist culture.

IF they ever arrest Darren Wilson and IF it goes to trial the Ray Rice video will sit HIGH in the minds of that white jury regarding Mike Brown. Maybe not Ray Rice literally but the pathology of the violent black man that makes white women grab their purse when a black man gets on the elevator or as in this case, the violent black man who punches women out cold in the elevator and will sexually assault you too because the stereotype is the embryonic heart in the birth of the nation.

The perverted pathology that is white supremacy conflates black people into a “oneness” that dictates that the actions of one are the actions of all. Like a hive mind we are incapable of individuality in this paradigm thus Ray Rice’s actions reify what White America thinks about Black men and Black people as a whole. White America says “Yup. There they go right there”.

When Ray Rice violently struck his wife in that elevator figuratively every Black man in the country did it too and it validates all the draconian policy and legalism created to oppress Black people. “That’s why there are so many of them in jail and THAT’s why our police officers have to shoot them even when unarmed and and and, because they’re so…. dangerous and THAT’S why we do what we do to them.

If evidence from a recent Stanford study says that “highlighting racism in the criminal justice system is not the answer, and in fact pushes white voters in the opposite direction. Even when whites believe the current laws are too harsh, they’re less likely to support changing the law if they’re reminded that the current prison population is disproportionately black”, then what effect does footage of Ray Rice brutally knocking out Janay Rice on an elevator have?

If this story wasn’t about Ray Rice but Tom Brady, would any magazine in the country call him a thug? I find it difficult to see this, especially when we take into account stories that involved the criminalisation of dead, unarmed children like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown or young women like Renisha McBride.

Instead, they would be talking about how much Tom Brady needed therapy and counselling and how he grew up in a domestically violent home. Blackness is forever dehumanised in life and in death. We have seen this happen countless times before and while Ray Rice is not the innocent party in this situation, the dehumanisation narrative surrounding him is one that is conferred onto black bodies time and again regardless of guilt or innocence while being markedly absent when it involves white bodies. In that regard a glaringly different process of humanisation takes place, most notably when white bodies are the guilty party.

The NYPOST, while being brazen and racist is also being more “honest” than most and was just reflecting the popular opinion and pathology of the dominant culture. As racist as it was, I appreciate such “honesty” as truth is at a premium as it relates to the topic of race in this “post racial” era of “colourblindness”. The irony is that this story in so many is about the abuse of power: Ray Rice as a man and husband against his wife and a racist media against a Black male football player who is violently abusive.

This story is not either/or. Janay Rice is a battered woman who needs help. Ray Rice is a woman beater who needs help AND the white supremacist capitalist media also enjoys the story far too much for my liking.

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About Joseph

natty dread bastard child of the first world. something like a literary trap beat.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Abuses of Power: Ray Rice and the Racist Media

  1. Incredible article. There’s a lot of discourse about the impact on women and domestic violence around this and I hadn’t even considered how it was racially framed, and how different that framing would be otherwise. Thank you for opening my eyes to this. Jesusfuck.

    Posted by claviclecapitalism | September 11, 2014, 3:50 AM
    • Thanks for your generous comments and for reading! Here is a link to an article that TIME magazine just wrote that reinforces the very points I made in my piece: http://time.com/3319243/oj-simpson-ray-rice/
      It is reflective of the “The White Racial Framing of DV”. Time magazine at it AGAIN with a racialised piece that demonises blackness. The other black person they mention in the article? Chris Brown. Coverage of domestic violence that focuses solely on blackness positions it as a “black only” problem that eschews White America of its participation in it. This coverage also reinforces cultural notions of black criminality and reifies the prosecution of blackness. It’s fucking egregious, racist and irresponsible journalism. Furthermore, not only is the representation of DV as a black only problem a disingenuous racist distortion of the issue, it is also dangerous for the vast number of white women who are also victims of domestic violence and who may not be aware of it. To see it in this iteration being presented as a Black only issue then states by default that their partner or prospective partner (if they’re white) doesn’t fit the profile.

      Posted by Joseph | September 14, 2014, 5:40 PM
  2. Joseph, this is a great piece. I wonder though, if the release of the video had more to do with trying to shame the NFL? Also, what do you think of this piece?

    http://mediadiversified.org/2014/09/09/black-men-need-to-support-black-feminism/

    Posted by listengirlfriends | September 11, 2014, 4:43 AM
  3. Interesting post but the thing that amazes me is why this story became so much bigger after we saw the video. Everyone knew what happened on that elevator, more or less, but it was only after we all saw the second video that the public truly became outraged? That seems twisted to me.

    I have a thirteen year old son who had a Ray Rice poster on his bedroom wall and a Ray Rice jersey. I’m trying to raise him to respect women and to understand that a man should never hit a woman under any circumstances. Unfortunately, the media, the NFL and the justice system seems to have imparted a slightly different message: You’ll get in trouble if you do it BUT you’ll get in much bigger trouble if there’s a video of the event. Everyone should have taken this more seriously when it happened. The sudden outrage now has my hypocrisy meter on overload and is making me question some people’s true motivations.

    Posted by pangloss9 | September 11, 2014, 4:47 AM
    • Agreed. The NFL’s response to the Ray Rice DV incident was less about the DV incident more than it was about their protection of their brand. The lack of response when it was identified that he was involved in an incident sans the video footage speaks to that. On a broader perspective, the NFL is an organisation that profits off of violence. It is a hyper-masculine forum that pays men well for their aggressiveness, strength and ability to impart punishment on their opponent. These are virtues considered to be of great quality and worth to the NFL and the game of football. Ergo, the NFL is hardly the right organisation to be critiquing its players for exhibiting the very attributes that they also pay them handsomely for. These attributes are also reflective of the distortion that is culturally defined masculinity in the public sphere. There is a price to pay for raising boys and young men to believe and invest in these attributes and all too often the women who love us are the ones who end up paying for it. Thanks for reading.

      Posted by Joseph | September 14, 2014, 5:36 PM

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