Ray Rice's elevator video and the denial of black women's humanity

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

That woman could have died. The video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee (now wife), Janay Palmer, in an elevator on February 15 has been released by TMZ. Janay lunged at him, and he punched her with all his might right in the face. She fell immediately, hitting the elevator handrail on her way back, and was unconscious as she lay on the floor.

I’m not sure what knocked her out first (the fist or the rail), but it doesn’t matter. She could have died. He then dragged her out of the elevator like he was taking out the trash. She lay face down on the floor as he had a conversation with a man who didn’t seem too alarmed that there was an unconscious woman on the ground.

For this, Ray received a 2 game suspension from the NFL. TWO WHOLE GAMES. That’s the equivalent of a child being told to face the wall for almost burning the house down. People have been punished more for way less serious offenses (and victimless “crimes”). Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns was given a one-year suspension for smoking weed, while Ray used his woman as a punching bag and they told him to be on timeout for 2 weeks. They’re telling us that partaking in the puff puff pass is a more punishable offense than beating a black woman. The NFL says they didn’t see the video until today, but we don’t believe them, and they need more people. A plethora of people.

At least society is consistent in its message that black women are one of the least cared for and least protected groups. “All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us.” Word to the Thrillermaker.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, in a press conference held in May, Janay apologized about the role she played in the elevator. THEY MADE THIS WOMAN SAY SORRY FOR GETTING KNOCKED CLEAN OUT LIKE A CHARACTER IN MORTAL KOMBAT! I wish I had the words to articulate how disturbing that is. She has to take responsibility for being beaten, which lets HER know that there is no one and nothing to protect her from his fist or however else he decides to hurt her. We’re out here making folks be like, “I’m sorry my face got too close to his fist.” We have failed.

This is also why I HATE that people are saying “but she married him.” The point called and left a message saying, “you missed me. I’ll try again next time.” Janay married Ray Rice a month after the incident, and people are using that as some sort of evidence that she doesn’t deserve empathy and compassion. What if he threatened her life if she left? What if she felt like she could not leave and live to tell about it? Half of black women who are killed by their partners were murdered as they were in the process of leaving the relationship. People have been calling this woman stupid when what she could be is just incredibly powerless.

Victims of domestic violence often feel trapped in their situations because they feel like the danger they’re in when they leave is even greater than the danger they find themselves in every day at home. Instead of looking at the abuser and placing the onus on them to stop their behavior, we ask why the person being abused stays. That is the absolute wrong question to ask, and it is where the conversation on this terrible incident has landed. Shame on everyone, but we need to place a shame basket on Ray Rice’s head.

There’s a peanut gallery of men AND women who are defending Ray Rice. Some belligerent dummies are reaching into the air to come up with excuses for him and reasons that will justify why he had to put his hands (and strong fist) on his partner. It is absolutely mind-boggling and disgraceful that people are even thinking to fix their mouths to do anything but verbally drag Ray like he physically dragged Janay out of that elevator. He is the culprit, he is the villain and he should be the person being questioned and asked to justify his actions.

The NFL is protecting an asset they value (not as a human but more as a piece on their moneymaking chess board). But what’s the excuse of everybody else who is defending Ray Rice? Oh wait. It’s because you don’t see how Janay could be you (for the women who are defending him) or you don’t see how that could be your mother, sister, or daughter (for the blind men). This web of oppression got way too many spiders helping to keep it intact.

So for anyone to be pointing any finger at Janay Palmer Rice right now is appalling. For anyone to be defending Ray Rice is disgusting. For the NFL to suspend him for 2 weeks for making her a punching bag is beyond deplorable. And for me to even have to say any of this is sickening.

Let’s say Janay Palmer did NOT marry Ray Rice. How will you be speaking of her differently right now? Would she have a right to be able to be a victim that she is then? Too many people are denying this woman full humanity right now, and that is why we cannot have nice things like progress.

Luvvie is a serial ranter and blogger who talks pop culture at Awesomely Luvvie, technology at Awesomely Techie and is the head behind DumbestTweets.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@Luvvie), Facebook and Instagram.