Is Going ‘Brenda Richie’ On Someone Ever Acceptable

Okay, unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that you’ve heard about the Tiger Woods debacle. Originally reported as a car crash in which his wife helped to free him, it has been alleged by TMZ that Woods suffered injuries prior to the crash and that actually his golf-club wielding wife went all “Brenda Richie” on his ass upon learning of an affair, allegedly.

I find this interesting because my sister and I had just talked about the Rihanna interview on 20/20 and how she never stated that she attacked Chris Brown, even though it has been widely reported that this is what happened. What she didn’t expect was that he would go O.J. on her and beat her like she stole something. I don’t believe that you should ever put your hands on someone, but if you hit someone in anger and sometimes in jest, you should expect to be hit back. Do I think that men should hit women? No. Do I think that women should hit men? No.

This is a glaring issue in domestic violence — the fact that no one wants to talk about women jumping on men in many of these instances. It’s unpopular to discuss because then women’s rights advocates (I am one) often accuse you of blaming the victim. It is not about blame — it is about having an honest discussion about domestic violence. Battering men, even cheaters and batterers, is not going to stop domestic violence in any community. Just like it is never okay for men to hit women, it is never okay for women to hit men either.

Further, it is ridiculous that some women think that they can hit men without recourse because men aren’t supposed to hit women. Really. In the world that I grew up in, if you hit someone, you should expect to get hit back which is why I’ve never put my hands on a man. I’ve been mad, cheated on, mistreated, etc., but nothing has ever prompted me to put my hands on a dude. I’m not trying to fight a dude or go to jail for hitting someone because I exercised the same lack of control that he demonstrated when doing his dirt.

I just walk away, leave him alone and keep it moving. No man is worth publicly humiliating myself or going to jail over. Domestic violence is a two-way street and women attacking men is no laughing matter.


Janet Jackson Performs at the American Music Awards

I know from John Allen Muhammad to Janet Jackson. I so love her and really appreciated this 2009 AMA performance so I thought I’d share it with you!Janet Jackson

John Allen Muhammad: Is Justice Really Being Served?

John Allen Muhammad, better known as the DC Sniper, will die tonight. The state of Virginia will execute the man responsible for terrorizing the metropolitan DC area. His manner of death? Lethal injection.

Many people, particularly those from this area, believe that Muhammad is getting what he deserves. I’ve read and heard “fry him,” “eye for an eye,” and “he did the crime now do the time.” Muhammad and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, terrorized the beltway and are responsible for 10 murders and 16 shootings. Had they not been caught, who knows what the statistics would have been? It seems like a clear-cut case, ripe for execution, but there are other factors to consider.

One of those factors is US Attorney Gen. John Aschcroft’s decision to send Muhummad and Malvo to Virginia to be tried in the first place.  If most of the murders took place in Maryland, then why were they were tried in Virginia? Because the death penalty was on hold in Maryland due to issues surrounding racial disparity in the administration of capital punishment as opposed to Virginia, a death penalty state, where action is swift and death is certain in most death penalty cases.

It was no surprise that Muhammad, the mastermind of the murders was sentenced to death. It is no surprise that judges in Virginia truncated the time for filing appeals and refused to hold a single hearing after the trial.  It is also no surprise that Governor Kaine denied clemency to Muhammad even though his lawyer’s argued that the case moved too quickly and that Muhammad’s original lawyers failed to communicate that the man has a history of mental illness.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Sheldon, Muhammad’s current lawyer stated,

“He is delusional, paranoid and incompetent. He was angry at the government after he came back from the Gulf War. And he has delusions of racist conspiracies.”

Which leads me back to my original statement, John Allen Muhammad will die tonight, because the state of Virginia will do what it has always done, fast-tracked the execution of convicted murderers, most of whom are African-American. Regardless of how one feels about Muhummad, if someone is mentally ill, should he be put to death?  If the murders occur in multiple states, should the U.S. Attorney General have the authority to “arbitrariiy” send it to the jurisdiction where the plaintiff is more likely to die than not? Is justice really being served? (read more)

This post originally appeared on, where Nsenga serves as managing editor. Follow her on Twitter @ntellectual.

‘Precious’ Comments Spur Activity on FaceBook

Okay, so I made the statement on FaceBook in reference to what I was doing, “Hating ‘Precious’ and ‘The Blind Side.” Stereotypes about Black folks are making a big comeback in 2009. Post-racial society my a**.

This spurred a plethora of comments that created a really interesting dialogue. See the exchange below:

AB:   meeeee tooooo !! ~ it’s ridiculous :o(

FO:  I’m not really feeling ‘The Blindside’ either based on the trailer but I was planning to see ‘Precious.’ Y r u hating it?

CM:  Would love to hear what you have to say about both flicks…what was stereotypical about it…are they saying Black people can’t raise their kids again? Thinking about shows like Different Strokes…

AP:  Haven’t heard of The Blind Side. What’s it about?

FO:  @ Chris – that was my takeaway from ‘TBS’ trailer. ‘Different Strokes’ is a good reference except this time ‘The Great Hope’ is a woman, played by Sandra Bullock. I hate how they’re exploiting that young man’s life. Kilolo break down ‘Precious’ for me?

NR:  I read “Push” (the book on which “Precious” is based) this week, and I’m looking forward to the movie. Nsenga, your complaint – while I think I understand it – reminds me of the exasperation we heard when The Color Purple was released many years ago. That’s somebody’s story, and it should be told. I wish there was more balance out there, too, though. Still love ya, girl ;- )

LH: @ Nichole: ( bumping fist) Now, I’m prepared to wince but I’m curious to see the adaptation.

NWM: Folks love to see us drugging, beating, molesting and just generally being ignorant and/or criminal. I am tired of it because there just aren’t enough positive counter images. It is just very discouraging.

CO:  gotta agree with dr. burton. I am waiting on a remake of Amos and Andy.

JS:  Ok…now you got me feeling bad about wanting to see this cuzzo!!! lol

GP:  I’ve seen Precious. Liked it a lot. I don’t think it is what you are expecting. Very well done. And I do consider myself sensitive to the issues that you are talking about.

TC: Still interested in seeing Precious because my clinical work is largely based on treating survivors of prolonged childhood abuse. Curious to see whats depicted in the movie.

NB:  Okay. @Glendon, Nichole and Lena – I hear you loud and clear. It just amazes me what films do get made in Hollywood. If you want it made and Oscar worthy, there has to be some perverted Black pathology involved. Lee Daniels has made a grip off of this (Monsters Ball), although Like Glendon, he is an interesting producer/filmmaker (Shadow Boxer). I … Read Morealso find it interesting that such strong female-centered narratives get to be told by men i.e. Daniels and Perry. I would have loved to have seen Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me) direct this film. So it’s problematic on multiple levels, which is what makes me want to hate the film. I do have a negotiated relationship with it because it is an extremely well-done film, although a bit heavy-handed in some instances. The Blind Side is another dominant Hollywood narrative where some white person saves some black person from his terrible life. While that happens in society, black people and others I would argue do that too. Why is the same colonizing gaze/narrative being circulated in Hollywood all of the time? I know that it is an economics piece — we love that dominant narrative in our society for obvious reasons. When will we see black folks save other black folks? There are true stories of that happening. Some of us have them ourselves. Where are they? Must I continue to see some white woman or man intervene in the life of a Black person in perpetuity? It’s been 100 years. Time for a new, consistent narrative. Antwon Fisher and The Pursuit of Happiness demonstrate that there is a market for these type of stories. Let me be clear, there is room for so many stories which is why I question the constant circulation of narratives about black people that involve our pathology and need for rescue as opposed to our resiliency with or without the presence of whites.

MB:  Hey girl, check this out:

I agree with Nichole — and like both you, I would love to see some balance. Unfortunately, we have ourselves to blame for a lot of this stuff. Our community doesn’t do the best job of demanding/investing in better. We can get the story of Biggie’s life to the big screen but Ben Carson’s… Read More? Not so much. He’s a movie of the week. How about Geoffrey Canada? Bayard Rustin? Ruth Simmons? Audre Lorde? What about bring Octavia Butler’s work to the screen? (Well maybe no because if the f it up, I will be pissed?) It’s true that Hollywood is more comfortable with us in certain roles. It’s amazing how the same f-ing movie gets made over and over again (you know the kind with the white folks to the rescue and with us full of gratitude, blah blah). Oprah should have known better with “Beloved” — you cannot leave that movies as a white person and feel good about yourself lol! That said — and God Bless her — it turned my stomach to see Halle Berry accept an Oscar for that madness. She chose that and too often we are choosing to support that.

GP: You also have to look a the genesis of this film. it was produced outside the system. Written, directed and produced by us. Not sure of financing. It wasn’t until Sundance that Tyler and Oprah got on board and brought it to Lionsgate If you read the soiurce Novel, Push, it is a hard adaptation and not an obvious film. Daniels is the only one… Read More who pursued the author and had a vision of turning that novel into a film. I completely understand your perspective, but I think the facts on the ground (did I just stray into foreign policy) makes this film different.

CAW: Whoo hoo!

SBW: This is a great topic Nsenga. I can see if from both angles. There have been a few more good movies though. “Coach Carter” and “Aqueelah and the Bee” just to name a couple. But I think what we see on the big screen is indicative of what our counterparts see of us. It still amazes me how little, many people actually know about African-American … Read Moreheritage and culture. I work as a teacher on the Southside of Chicago. The majority of what I see is negative. But I am a caring black woman who decided I wanted to help my children. But I do see so much negativity and neglect everyday it is truly disheartening. As several people said, this is someone’s story. Just as “The Cosby Show” was someone’s story. I do remember people criticizing Cosby too, saying that it was unrealistic. Of course we still have a long way to go. But I think much of that has to do with us coming together “as a culture”. I think of Jesse Jackson getting caught on air talking about President Obama. I think if we supported each other more would could deliver more positivity in film.

NB: More info on the film: