Monday, February 20, 2012

Domestic Violence > Any Other Crime Ever?

The 54th annual Grammy Awards were held 2 weeks ago and, per usual, the evening's wardrobes, awards and performances were front page news for several says after the event. This news coverage was helpful to me since I didn't get a chance to catch them while they were airing live. There was one story I read that struck a chord with me: Chris Brown threw a tantrum on twitter. He won a Grammy for Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E and was, understandably, excited. Many critics of Chris Brown were livid and responded with reference to his infamous domestic violence case with Rihanna from 3 years ago. Chris Brown (the way any professional adult would) took to twitter to voice his opinions. His tweets, before they were deleted, said the following: 

"strange how we pick and choose who to hate!Let me ask u this.Our society is full of rappers(which I listen to)who have sold drugs (poisoning)

But yet we glorify and imitate everything they do. Then right before the worlds eyes a man shows how he can make a Big mistake 

andLearnt from it, but still has to deal with day to day hatred! You guys who to hate!!! But guess what???

HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY. Now! That’s the ultimate F**K OFF."

While obviously not the smartest of moves to make, he did raise a good point for discussion. We know that Chris Brown physically assaulted Rihanna. He faced his trial and was sentenced at the judge's discretion. There are many other celebrities who have been arrested and charged with crimes in the past who continued to have successful careers. Lil' Wayne and T.I. were both sentenced to prison and saw their careers continue to prosper. One could even argue that their careers did better while they were in jail. Why is it that we can forgive some things and not others? Why is it that no one ever talks about the time Lil' Wayne spent in jail when he wins an award? Why is T.I.'s criminal record never a cause for outrage when he makes an appearance? Why is it always "Chris Brown, the singer who was arrested for assaulting Rihanna in 2008," and never just Chris Brown? Is it secretly because Chris Brown's crime is gendered and drug charges are not?

For the record, there is nothing about Chris Brown's actions 3 years ago that I agree with or condone in any way. My feelings, however, have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Rihanna is a woman and Chris Brown is a man. I don't think that men should abuse women, but I also don't think that women should abuse men either. Violence is violence and it is unacceptable. Period. While I may see things this way, there are many other people who see physical violence against women in a different light. These people see women as inherently weaker than men and as people who need to be protected in a different way, like in the way we protect children from abusive parents. Women are not children. Women are adults who are capable of being assaulted are also capable of assaulting others. We cannot pick and choose which crimes for which we're going to forgive people for especially if our views of these crimes are inherently sexist. Men who are assaulted need to be treated with the same care and respect as women who are assaulted and women who assault others need to be punished in the same way as men who assault others. 

Bottom line: If you're going to hate Chris Brown, hate him because he's proven himself to be impulsive and violent towards another PERSON. Don't hate him because he hit a girl.


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