A Low Down Dirty Shame: Domestic Violence within the Black Community

When incidents occur involving African-American males, two things are certain, (1) the matter will be manipulated until the African-American male, regardless of his role in the event, is the one shouldering the majority of the blame and (2) the image of all African-American males, regardless of their individual accomplishments, divergent political beliefs, various educational attainments, and levels of morality, will be maligned by the incident.

The consistent depiction of African-American males as thugs, criminals, hoodlums, and hopelessly immoral dysfunctional beings are to be expected by mainstream media outlets. Such maligning RayRice 3often creates a siege mentality within the community, leading many in our midst to make a conscious decision to defend and protect our own regardless of their guilt or culpability in the matter. However, there are moments when one of our own behaves in such an egregious manner that even the most ardent supporter of African-American males, such as myself, finds it difficult to support them. Ray Rice places me in such a position.

For those who are unaware, Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, and his soon to be wife Janay Palmer was filmed having an argument in a hallway leading to an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on February 15th. Although a domestic spat between two individuals is nothing new, they occur everyday, it was the horrific attack that Mr. Rice executed against his soon to be bride within the confines of the elevator that have led to his recent release from the Baltimore Ravens and suspension from the National Football League. Interestingly, his recent punishment from his employer and the NFL far exceed any criminal punishment he has received to this date.

Although many have attempted to isolate Mr. Rice as an anomaly, those willing to speak the truth on matters of domestic violence will tell you that such behavior occurs far too frequently within our community. I have personally had many conversations with Black men, and a few women, who endorse the use of physical violence upon women within our community if they “get out of their place.”

Although a fictional story, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple momentarily addressed this issue when Miss Celie, the character played by Whoopi Goldberg, advised Harpo to beat Miss Sophia, the character played by Oprah Winfrey, if she would not behave the way he desired. Matters of human interaction are a pesky pernicious issue that often does not have a correct way of occurring; however, there is certainly a blatantly wrong way to interaction as exhibited by Mr. Rice’s beating of Janay Palmer.

However, the question remains why did this occur? I pose such a question not specifically to this single incident involving Ray Rice, Ricerather in a general manner. Although I would prefer to feign ignorance regarding what leads to occurrences of domestic violence, however, my moral compass will not allow me to cower away from the issue in such a way. In my humble opinion, I believe that this issue of domestic violence is merely an extension of the typical socialization that males receive within this nation.

The notion of “might equals right” holds influence among Americans from our foreign policies all the way through the bedrooms that we share with our loved one’s. Such matters are made exponentially worse by African-American males’ attempted assimilation into a European inspired patriarchal societal structure that contradicts the cooperative relationship that our people have embraced from the moment humanity existed on this planet. Those who abuse Black women know very well that the chances of their being arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to jail are minuscule; so there is in many ways no deterrent to their behavior coming from the criminal justice system.

It is this faith in white societal structures that have never and will never work within our community that not only marginalizes our interactions with each other, but also guarantees that we as a community will continue to experience domestic violence. Unfortunately, the next time it may not be captured by a video camera; regardless of if it is caught on camera or not, the abuser has little to worry about from our criminal justice system, ask Mr. Ray Rice.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

#MRC

The Sound of Music

The gift of music is one of the many cultural gifts that African-Americans have given this nation. Regardless of the genre of music under examination, even a cursory examination will reveal that persons of African descent had a hand in its creation and Black-Children-Chain-Gang-1900sdevelopment as a staple of the American musical lexicon. The alluded to music has multiple utilities as indicated by this musical offering right here.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III (23)

#MRC

The Soul of America: The Indomitable Humanity of Enslaved Africans

One of the most peculiar aspects of addressing the past is the inability to recognize the fact that these are actually fully functioning people who held the same range of emotions, hopes, and dreams as those living within contemporary society. Such issues become more daunting when discussing the existence of stolen Africans ensnared within American chattel slavery.

Despite many attempts to dehumanize and objectify the aforementioned population of individuals who produced today’s African-American population, they were fully functioning human beings and most definitely more humane than their captives could have ever hoped to have been. One must remember that the shame of slavery does not rest upon the shoulders of the enslaved Africans, no, that weight rest fully and squarely upon those who exploited the African for purely financial means. Money had become, and one could argue still remains, their God.

Toward illuminating whom this population of individuals were that survived the hellish slave system, Franklin Delano Roosevelt commissioned writers to record the stories of the last living descendants of American chattel slavery during the Great Depression to capture this most unfortunate aspect of American history. What follows here, is that story.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

#MRC

The Terrible Transformation

The issue of Race in America remains the most divisive issue Western Civilization has ever known. The “color line” that W.E.B. Du Bois called the problem of the twentieth-century in his magnum opus The Souls of Black Folk continues to dog this nation to this very moment. As evidenced by the repeated murders of Black men by white officers and the subsequent protests/riots/rebellions that we see occurring in many American cities.

Most wonder why Race remains such a pernicious issue for this nation in particular. It is my fervent belief that the reason lies in this nation’s inability, or better yet failure, to address the roots of American racial discord; the issue of American chattel slavery.

The issue of chattel slavery is a peculiar issue in the minds of both Black and white citizens as they all acknowledge its existence, however, there is most certainly no consensus to be discovered on either side of the racial divide. The villain in such discord is undoubtedly the lack of knowledge regarding the issue. As a nation we have for too long looked at historical issues through a contemporary lens; such is the formula for disaster.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

#MRC

Can It Be That It Was All That Simple?: Bill O’Reilly Misses the Mark Yet Again

During a recent discussion with the Black Conservative, noted Surgeon Mr. Benjamin Carson, Bill O’Reilly took it upon himself to once again not only address, but also solve the myriad problems Bill OReillyaffecting African-Americans; impressively, he did such in nine short sentences. Mr. O’Reilly addressed the highly esteemed Carson with the following litany. “You remember Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. Weren’t they fabulous athletes — I idolized Willie Mays…And what do we have now? What do we have now? Gangster rappers, you know, Beyoncé. The most famous, you know, doing these videos that show these kinds of things to young, 9, 10, 11-year-old girls? I mean — and it’s celebrated. It’s celebrated. You know, that’s the big change.”

Carson meekly cowered away from the issue and responded “The bottom line is, we as a society must come to understand that this is a problem that affects all of us. And we don’t have to wait for Jesse Ben CarsonJackson or Al Sharpton or anybody to be the leader on this issue. And it doesn’t even have to be a Black person. I appreciate the fact that you’re willing to step out and talk about this because it is politically incorrect to do so now.”

I beg to differ with Mr. Carson in that it is politically incorrect to address the social ills facing African-Americans, particularly in the superficial manner that he and his compatriot Bill O’Reilly are attempting to do, yet again. In fact, there is nothing more American than the tendency of the white community and naïve negroes to blame the social ills occurring amongst Black America on its largest victims, African-Americans themselves.

Oh, if it were truly that simple for us to bring back that sober minded negro Jackie Robinson that so ingratiated himself to the white community. Apparently Mr. O’Reilly has forgotten that Mr. Robinson himself was not accepted by the white community, at least not until he publicly denounced the African-American community’s desire for freedom and liberation; we must never forget that Robinson also denounced Malcolm X before white audiences.

Following the logic of Mr. O’Reilly and Carson, if Beyonce put on some clothes, little Black elementary school girls would know how to behave in their classrooms, receive straight A’s, and be well on Beyoncetheir way to avoiding welfare rolls and that dastardly desire to embrace any semblance of racial pride. In the aforementioned individuals’ minds, such a simplified formula would finally usher Black American males into mainstream society. If only they would disengage from Black Popular Culture, particularly Hip-Hop culture, would we see unemployment decline, the murder of Black folk in the streets of America by white police officers cease, Black wealth created, the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of African-American men and women cease, and assimilation with an obviously morally correct white community finally occur.

So if you for a second believe the spiel given by Mr. O’Reilly and Carson, that Black folk are the lone catalyst behind their own misery, suffering, and degradation, go ahead and turn off the radio. But please let me know how that sophomoric decision works for the Race in either the immediate or the long-term.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

#MRC

Committed to investigating, examining, and representing the African-American male, men, and manhood by offering commentary regarding the status of Black Men and Black Manhood as it relates to African-American Manhood, Race, Class, Politics, and Culture from an educated and authentic African-American perspective aimed at improving the plight of African-American men and African-American Manhood in regards to Politics, Culture, Education, and Social Matters.

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