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Dr. Boyce: Was Evelyn Really an Innocent Victim? Probably Not

I wasn’t so sure what to make of the latest release of the reality minstrel show known as the marriage of Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lozada.  Evelyn is one of the many women on that hit TV show “Basketball Baby’s Mamas.”  (Wait, it might be “Basketball Wives,” but it can’t be, since almost none of these women were actually ever married).

Evelyn has replaced Juanita Bynum as the newest face of domestic violence after her new hubby Chad was locked up for head-butting his beautiful bride. Perhaps the head-butt is the new mating ritual for primitive black people on reality shows, I’ll have to look that up.

Chad went to jail, and Evelyn is now wondering how this all could have happened to a love that was destined to be something special.  Making matters worse, Chad was just cut from the Miami Dolphins over this little incident, meaning that Evelyn will now have to find another wealthy, famous man from whom she can suck her blood.  Times are tough for poor, sweet, innocent, Evelyn. All she ever wanted to be was a loving wife.

Mind you, it’s obvious that domestic violence is always a serious matter.  When I spoke with my girls about the 2009 boxing match between Chris Brown and Rihanna, I had to make it clear to them that they should be fully prepared to pay the funeral expenses of any man who put their hands on them. But in their perpetual (yet inexplicable) love for Chris Brown, they asked me an interesting question: “If the woman hits the man, why should she be upset if the man hits her back?”

Now, the old man in me immediately thought “I hate it when kids learn to think for themselves.”  I wanted to send my girls to the nearest psychiatrist to help them fully understand that a man should never hit a woman under any circumstances.   I could only imagine them as victims of violence, where they presented a perspective that seemed to argue that they could actually be perpetrators.  This obviously concerned me, because it forced me to think through my views on relationships a bit more.

After seeing the evil television Banshee known as Evelyn Lozada in action, I wonder if my daughters have a point.  Evelyn is the woman that I once saw crinkle her brow with an evil glare, take off her shoes, and climb across a dinner table so she could smack another woman’s weave square off the top of her head.   She’s a woman where the words “I’m gonna kill you b*tch” are uttered at least 15 times before breakfast.  Given the peculiar manner in which Evelyn has branded herself, it’s hard not to imagine her “getting just a tad bit upset” after finding condoms on the floor of her new husband’s car (these kinds of fights always seem to involve condoms).

So, this leads me to the question:  If a woman hits her man and he hits her back, does that allow her to call herself a victim of domestic violence?

I say the answer is “not always.”

Imagine if Chad and Evelyn were a gay couple where one man just happened to be a 130-pound beauty queen, with long flowing hair, perky lips, and perfectly pedicured fingernails.  If he were to whack the hell out of his husband and then get beaten down in response, would we consider him to be a victim?  Would the answer change if he had a vagina instead?  Obviously, situations like this lead all of us to rethink our view on domestic violence and at least refrain from judgment until we know all the facts.  Also, we have to rethink the popular view that the thousands of men who are victims of domestic violence are just wimpy little dudes who simply need to “man up.”

With all the speculation about what happened with Chad and Evelyn, the goal is not to focus on these two ridiculous people.  They are meant for comedy, not much more.  There are two simple points to be made here:

First, keep your hands to yourself in your relationships. I don’t care if your partner cheats on you, cusses you out, calls you a name or pees on your cat, violence has no place in a relationship.  If your partner does put their hands on you, don’t fight back.  If you’re in a violent relationship, then leave, tell your family and call the police. Period.  Almost nothing good ever happens when black people are interacting with the police.

Secondly, for the fellas, remember that much of this discussion is both theoretical and academic.  Even if a woman hits or attacks you, the truth is that almost no one is going to understand why you chose to hit a woman.  When the police arrive and a woman says she’s been battered, police are always happy to lock up the nearest black man.  So, when you meet the Evelyn Lozada in your life, trade her in for a woman with a bit of dignity, self-discipline and maturity.  It can keep you from getting caught up in the system and ruining your life.

As for Chad and Evelyn, their whole love affair was just a ticking time bomb from the jump.  When you mix two unhealthy, dysfunctional people together, you’re only going to get dysfunction to the third power.  No amount of money, fame and good looks can overcome the damage of spoiled, corrupted souls, so I never expected much from this marriage from the beginning.  Love is not created from war.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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