Monday, March 23, 2009

Domestic Violence Made Real

Originally, I wasn’t going to talk about this but the response of some people has made me feel like I need to say something.

From Feministing:
Do Something , an organization "using the power of online to get teens to do good stuff offline," has made a video re-enactment of the Chris Brown/Rhianna conflict as part of their 1 in 3 Campaign (designed to education young people about dating violence). It's obviously based on the actual police notes from the incident, making it highly realistic and unavoidably horrifying:

While I could understand why some people would be outraged by this bold PSA tactic, I'm completely in support of what Do Something is doing. They're making the incident--which has been so obscured by the media hype, ignorant commentary from pundits and the public alike, and so much disrespect--real again. A woman, a man, out of control emotions, and inexcusable violence. If Rhianna weren't already horribly outed by this whole incident, I might feel like it were an invasion of her privacy, but at this point, it's just so public. It seems like the most respectful thing we can do for Rhianna is make sure that this whole thing inspires young people to get educated about relationship violence--as the ad does.

What bothers me about this whole thing is the response to the actors being white and how people find it as racist.

Why is it racist?

I’m not being sarcastic. I really want to know.

Is it because this somehow means we should be more sympathetic to a white women being beat up by her boyfriend? Is it because the idea of the “angry black man” has become some facetious stereotype in our society? Is it because we just wouldn’t care if the actor portrayed a woman of color?


I’ve never wanted to be one of those white people who cries about reverse racism (because even though it does exist, it seems so trite to wine about the social injustice of it) but I’m a little annoyed how every action can be viewed as racist.

Or sexist.

Or against our “most precious and unique people.”

Our society has become so sensitive about every little comment a person can say that we are loosing creditability and the ability to converse openly and honestly with one another.

Talking about this video and racism only does one thing, takes the focus off of domestic violence and places it somewhere I don’t think it really belongs.

Because we don’t know why these actors were chosen (maybe they were volunteers), but we KNOW that this situation happened.

If people are going to be upset, it should have more to do with the possible re-victimization of Rihanna by having to watch her ordeal over and over instead of the perceived intention of the director.

And lets be honest, people would say it was racist if both these actors were black.

So maybe my ignorant white female perspective is showing, but I think we’re missing the bigger picture here.

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