The punishment is harsher for abusing white women, dogs and other players.
To understand our dirty little secret of a national crisis called domestic violence means to look no further than the perverted lack of a serious conversation about it. No more tragic is that observation than the abject silliness of popular discourse within the African-American community when the subject comes up. Deeper is the invisibility of those black women who are three times as likely the victims of it.
Something in the very gut of the American social fabric appears to trivialize the broken bones and busted faces of black women in distress. In her 2001 Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal submission—an essential read—then-law student Lisa M. Martinson argued that racism was “the additional obstacle for the African-American victim of domestic violence in obtaining adequate resources to leave an abuser and continue a life free from abuse.”
It explains the wholly inadequate top-of-the-season two-game slap on the wrist handed down by the NFL to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator. And, in turn, if the NFL doesn’t take the issue seriously, it likely explains why ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith—never known for rhetorical restraint—would feel cozy enough to suggest that Rice’s conduct could have been the result of female “provocation,” and then to double down and defend it in a tweet.