She lived in constant fear. Her husband claimed to protect her, to know what was best for her. But she couldn’t ever do anything right. It was so easy to anger him, the way she dressed, walked, and even moved. He could be incited to violent outbursts against her. It was always her fault, he was never accountable. And when she tried to stand up for herself, he minimized her suffering by brushing it aside. She exaggerated; he never hurt her as bad as she claimed.
He blamed her when he had to senselessly beat her into submission. If only she had sat where he told her to sit. He blamed her when he nearly strangled her to death. If only she hadn’t made a snide comment under her breath. He blamed her when he raped her. If only she put out as much as he liked, he wouldn’t have to take it by force. He isolated her from all of her friends and family. He spread nasty rumors about her throughout their entire neighborhood. She was a lying and adulterous slut who didn’t appreciate everything he did for her. He controlled her finances and prevented her from working a good job. She had nowhere to turn. No one in her community trusted her. In their opinions, she had brought this misfortune on herself.
We all are painfully familiar with this story, but not in the way you may realize. The abusive spouse in this story is “white privilege” and the victim is the black community. I could even compare this to the way other minorities are treated, but for this post I am going to focus on the black community due to recent events. Obviously, the racial strife which has been tearing apart our country for hundreds of years is the result of small-minded prejudice. But I couldn’t help noticing a correlation when the Black Lives Matter movement was met with an extremely dismissive “All Lives Matter” campaign. I couldn’t get the injustice out of my mind.
It reminded me of how when my abusive boyfriend got aggravated with me one morning and kicked me in the ankle. I flipped out and started yelling at him, telling him how much it hurt. He scoffed at my reaction, insisting he did not kick me and that it didn’t hurt. He mocked me and said incredulously, “So what now? You’re gonna tell your friends and family that your boyfriend abuses you?!” He was minimizing my pain and indignation, twisting it around to make me feel like I was overreacting. I feel like this is exactly what “All Lives Matter” is doing. They are completely dismissing the concerns of an entire race of people! They are ignoring the injustices that have occurred. They are silencing these victims’ voices with their stupidity, screaming back to those overcome with grief and hopelessness, “Oh, you’re hopeless? What about all the other people who have died? What makes you so special? It shouldn’t be all about you!”
We have entire communities living in constant fear of being pulled over for mere traffic violations and having to reach for their wallets. Mothers will now be afraid to let their children hold toy guns in a park. Kids in Jena, Louisiana will be scared to sit under the “whites only” tree for fear of death threats and if they decide to stand up for themselves, the law won’t see it that way. White judges with all white jurors will rule in favor of “white privilege” in order to destroy the lives of black petty criminals.
Yes, this is all very much an issue of racism and prejudice, but also very much a prime example of abuse. In an abusive relationship, the abuser does not view their victim as a human being, but rather as an object. Let that sink in. They do not relate to their “loved one” as another human being. Have you ever wondered how someone who claims they love and care for their partner, could be so cruel at the same time? It’s because they do not love them. The abuser views that person as a representation of what they can do for them. In most cases, that person acts as a “whipping boy” or a “punching bag.” They know that person has nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to and so they can take out their frustrations on them. They get a sort of thrill in dominating them. It’s about authority and power.
So ask yourself, when you hear about people like Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and many others, do you relate to them as a person or as an object? Let me be more specific, do you think of the lives they may have led? Of the children they served food to at school or even at home? Of the person they might have become when they grew up? Or do you think about how they represent something you fear?
Do you fear a cop pulling you over and panicking at the mere mention of how you have a license to carry? Do you fear being beaten to a pulp because you happen to have the bad luck of drawing the attention of a racist cop? I can’t imagine the fears that blacks and any other minority group experiences. But I can imagine the wound, the gaping infectious wound, that our country has caused and seemingly refuses to treat. How can we fix a system that does not relate to these people as fellow human beings but as objects to oppress and dominate? How do we stop cops from panicking and taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury, and executioner for these people?
I always said that an abuser who does not take responsibility for his own actions will continue to abuse. We need to hold these cops that took it upon themselves to kill these people accountable for their crime. It is not their job to kill. It is their job to bring people to justice. We need to hold racist judges accountable for egregious sentences that ruin the future of young adults whose only crime was to refuse to let an entire student body of white racists intimidate them. We need to not let others dismiss the suffering and mourning of those whose family members have died at the hands of these cops. Do not allow others to dismiss fellow human beings.
I have been guilty of remaining silent in the face of blatant racism, because it was too infuriating to involve myself or I did not wish to alienate myself from those close to me. But from now on, I must speak out against this abuse and so must you.