There’s this open letter to GMA about their response to Chris Brown. I’m nodding my head, thinking, yeah- HELL yeah! Why should this jerk get away with it? Why should ABC send the message that it’s okay to be a woman-beating manchild who can trash a dressing room and storm off after a temper tantrum and get away with such behavior? Why should the message be sent that that’s okay or at all socially acceptable?
But then, I wonder, is Chris Brown getting a pass because he’s black? Stick with me here. I’m wondering- not at all settled on what I think about it, but just thinking out loud per se, that his career still has any traction at all because he’s black, compared to, let’s say, Charlie Sheen or Mel Gibson?
What I mean is, are his actions not receiving more cultural sanction because this behavior is somehow expected of black men? That the mainstream, in the form of the mass media, is tacitly giving Brown a little wink and a nod…because it’s perceived that this is just how black men behave? On the other hand, respectable white folks don’t do this shit…in public.
Either way, it’s utter b.s. that this little toolshed of a toolshed (I had to seriously censor my epithet there to refrain from using sexist language…) is getting away with continual acts of violence, as evidenced by the fact THAT HE STILL HAS A CAREER AND A RECORDING CONTRACT AND MORNING SHOW VISITS…and ABC refuses to bring charges against this guy. But I’m thinking what this tells us about manhood in our society and our expectations of it, that for some, it’s a career-ender and for others, it’s not. Why do some men get to sing openly that “bitches ain’t shit but hos and tricks” (please correct me if I got that lyric wrong), yet others get tossed into the career-equivalent of Siberia for publicly exhibiting the same level of misogyny?
I suspect race has something to do with this, and our expectations of racialized masculinity, and no matter what, those performances of masculinity that involve violence against anyone in order to gain validation are not okay. Ever.
And, I have no empirical evidence- yet- as to the actual career-trajectory-as-evidence-of-cultural-sanction for Chris Brown post-Rihanna, Mel Gibson post-batshit-craziness, and so forth because I haven’t seen any of Gibson’s recent movies (has anyone? Maybe that’s the question), nor have I seen any of Charlie Sheen’s work in…about…15 years (or more? I don’t know), and I couldn’t tell you a Chris Brown song if I heard one. Yes, I have reached that age where my tastes and cultural excursions cemented to perpetually match my interests at age 25. But, I have a hunch that I’m right and that our culture handles misogyny differently, based on the race of the perpetrator. I leave it at that, for now, and throw it out to the intertubes for consideration.