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Since the Chris Brown/Rihanna fiasco, domestic violence has become the latest hotbed issue. However, before we even had a chance to fully adjust to Chris Brown being the “poster boy” for an issue that we all know is as old as time, enter Ray Rice. Now, the NFL has stepped in to demonstrate—in no uncertain terms—that it has a zero tolerance for domestic violence. So, even though the NFL is beleaguered with illegal drug use; alcohol usage and alcohol-related automobile accidents (some of which have resulted in fatalities); not to mention blatant acts of racism, domestic violence is the only social malady that they are apparently willing to address with fervor. Apparently, it is the only malaise that results in an indefinite loss of lifestyle…at least if you are a member of the NFL. Other sports such as Hockey, Baseball, Tennis, Soccer, etc., must not be troubled with such. Right??

For what it’s worth, I believe the media, the NFL and society in general have got it wrong. And in their error, they are sending the wrong message both to women and to men as well. As it stands, women (starting from little girls) are being convinced that they are the only possible victims of domestic violence. They are being told that they are not culpable, even if they strike the man/boy first. This is not only ludicrous, but dangerous. This creates a situation where women get all the benefits of equality such as equal pay, equal position, etc., with none of the accountability that men are faced with.

Let’s compare the situation involving Solange and Jay-Z with Ray Rice and Janay Palmer. According to TMZ, Jay-Z was assaulted by Solange in an elevator. The same source cited Janay as being assaulted in an elevator by Ray Rice. In Jay-Z’s case, we have no footage of him hitting Solange or even defending himself from her assault. However, in Ray Rice’s case, we see an altercation taking place. We witness a mutual exchange of words and blows between a man and a woman and not the plight of a battered woman fearful for her safety. We saw an angry woman approaching Ray Rice prepared for battle. What happened after that is debatable. Nevertheless, both situations were caught on tape. Yet, there was no outcry from TMZ (or anyone else) for Solange to be punished in any way for her actions. Jay-Z was barely even applauded for being a gentleman.

What do you believe would have happened if Jay-Z had defended himself, which, let’s not forget, he had a right to do? He would have been the bad guy! Why? If we are intent on punishing the aggressor, shouldn’t Solange or any woman be the “bad guy” if they decide to physically assert their position? Why are men held to a higher level of self-control then women? If men and women are truly equal, then women, just like men, need to be taught to keep their hands to themselves. Abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator is male or female. Women should not be given a free pass to hit men just because they are angry. Apparently, this is where women draw a line in the sand regarding the need for equality. Instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, they want the right to hit men and have men’s lives destroyed if they return fire.

It has gotten so out of control that I heard Keyshawn Johnson, an NFL Analyst and former NFL player, state that even if the woman has a weapon, the man should just “take the weapon from her and not hit a woman under any circumstances.” Though some might find this quite chivalrous, I find it presumptuous, foolish and, quite frankly, chauvinistic. You may ask why I would say such a thing. In truth, some females are more equal to men than men would like to acknowledge. I don’t know about you but, I’ve seen some rough-looking female cops, wrestlers, bus drivers and construction workers, just to name a few. I don’t advocate trying to take a weapon from them. You may just wanna run for your life.

Bottom line: Everyone keeps their hands to themselves and no one, male or female, gets hurt. Now, verbal abuse? That’s another blog for another time. Can anybody hear me?

 

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I’ve heard almost every argument, scientific or otherwise, explaining how people become addicted to various substances. I’ve heard about them being “predisposed” or having some “chemical imbalance” or other condition that renders them unable to control their actions once addiction takes hold. Obviously, my heart goes out to those people who are in the grip of addictions. However, the one argument I never hear concerns their and our participation—and sometimes determination—to become addicted to something or someone.

When you consider that smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking medications (whether legal or illegal) often requires dedication and sacrifice on the part of the participant, some of the blame for addictions have to shift. This is not to say that the manufacturers are blameless. Not in the slightest. Nevertheless, when the buyer has to put in days, weeks or months of work in order to master the art, you can scarcely blame predisposition for what is practiced and thus made perfect. So, to me, it would seem that the answer to this social malady is found in three simple words. Just say No. In other words, if you don’t start it, you won’t have to struggle to end it.

Smoking, for example, is not addictive from the first puff. Coughing is probably the more likely outcome. Yet, we persist in smoking for our own reasons until we become proficient…and by extension addicted. Yes, tobacco companies were allowed to add addictive drugs to their products, however, it took persistence (and money) on the part of the smoker to not only want to smoke but to learn how to do so in the first place.

More often than not, I find that people are often addicted to or obsessed with some person, some activity or some chemical that is inherently harmful to them. Occasionally, you find someone addicted to cleaning, caretaking or some other less socially unacceptable habit. However, in the vast majority of cases, it seems as though we are not so much addicted to any one thing as we are addicted to destroying ourselves. Very, very rarely are we addicted to making positive changes in our lives or ridding ourselves of the baggage—chemical or otherwise—that has been holding us back and limiting our opportunities.

Please don’t take this as an indictment of those facing addiction. It is not. What this is is an observation that all of the time and effort we spend in creating or feeding addictions could be better spent on something else. My hope is that, one day, we will become addicted to ourselves, not in a selfish way, but in a way that demonstrates our love and respect for our persons and all that entails: that we become obsessed with our own health nutrition, mental stability, emotional well-being and moral character; that we become obsessed with kindness and patience; that we become obsessed with fair treatment; and that we become less obsessed with the bottom line – money and power! Can anybody hear me?