Ray Rice has been getting a lot of coverage as of late. Deservingly so, since he did get caught on tape abusing his then-girlfriend turned into wife. Many felt that he deserved to be suspended indefinitely (which should have happened earlier). Others, however, feel the NFL is coming down hard on him (Goodell deserves some responsibility as well). Still, the domestic violence situation actually made Ray Rice Public Enemy Number One.

But what is to be said for the imagery that this domestic violence situation is bringing about? Let us be honest: we have plenty of white men doing some of the same things and getting a better chance at redemption:

Last month, Federal District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges after he allegedly assaulted his wife at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta. Fuller is a George W. Bush-appointee to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. His wife reportedly had visible cuts at the time of his arrest.

Fuller, however, will almost certainly escape this incident with a clean record. On Friday, Fuller agreed to a plea bargain requiring him to “undergo a once a week family and domestic violence program for 24 weeks.” He will also need to be evaluated to determine if he has a drug or alcohol problem. Once he completes these requirements, the record of his arrest will be expunged. [1]

This isn’t the only case in which another man that isn’t Black has been caught up. War Machine is now facing charges for beating up ex-girlfriend/porn actress Christy Mack [2]. So again, where is the press time for these same men that are doing the same type of thing?

Domestic Violence by the Numbers

Taking things by the numbers, there is a problem with domestic violence within the Black community. From a study done in 2002, the number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner [3]. There have probably been strides made to help stem the tide of domestic violence. Still, approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18 [4]. So, there is a cause for concern with Black women and domestic violence.

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Yet, there is an even bigger piece of information that needs to be understood. The Bureau of Justice Statistics noted that Black women were more likely than white women to be abused but were also more likely to report their abuse to the police than white women [5]. This nugget of information is quite vital to our view of domestic violence. It is hard to say what is real when one race reports the incident more than others. It should make us wonder just how non-violent these relationships are among white people.

Domestic Violence by the Imagery

Now it is time for me to ask the question that the title states: why are black men the face of domestic violence (in recent history)? We could say that it is a situation of coincidence. We could say that we are dealing with a football player that is successful, so it will always catch headlines. We could even say that the domestic violence issue with Ray Rice became a PR nightmare that the NFL had to squelch right after they tried to “cover it up”. Thus, there are plenty of possible narratives we could concoct to answer this question.

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But, we all know the truth: black men being seen as the antagonist of anger in relationships will always win some headlines and conversation. The media is great at fulfilling fantasies through falsehoods. So, why would they not keep trying to paint black men as these uncontrollable, untamed, undomesticated beasts that will easily achieve in their field and smack their women around? Heck, many people want to believe that narrative anyway. And if many want to believe it, the media will damn sure serve it.

In economics, we call that “supply and demand”.

The Conclusion on Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is a problem that needs to be looked at beyond racial lines. It should be said that, by the given numbers, Black women do face domestic violence more than white women. However, how fulfilling are these statistics when White women report their incidents less than Black women? Still, the media will always give some sort of slant to the situation. Therefore, it is time for people in America to look at domestic violence for what it truly is: a human problem.

‘Nuff Said and ‘Nuff Respect!!!