Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Janay Rice Attacked the Public

Silly hoe, stupid bitch, dumb ass, gold digger, in it for the dick, thug... 

These are some of the words I've seen people use to describe Janay Rice, wife of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice.

I don't understand how people can blame a woman for being knocked unconscious on an elevator by her 212lbs, professional football player husband. I don't understand how people can wish for her safety and then in the same sentence call her a "dumb ass" or a "stupid bitch."

As I've said on Facebook and on Twitter, I don't agree with her staying either, but I don't know why she's staying with him. She may be in love. She may be afraid he'll kill her if she leaves. She may not have anywhere to go. I don't know. And if she is staying for love, which is common for women who have battered wife syndrome, I don't see how further degrading her with vile names is going to help  her.

I volunteered at a domestic violence safe house when I was in college. In my current job, some of the women who use our services have been abused. And I personally know of beautiful, brilliant women who were in abusive relationships. I could not imagine calling any of them a "stupid bitch" or "dumb ass" while they were being hurt or not ready to leave their abusers.

I believe a lot of people are saying they don't feel bad for Janay because she's wealthy and they think she's taking the beatings for the money. I can't but help feel bad for the mother of a baby and the wife on a man who knocks the shit out of her on an elevator and then drags her body out like trash.

I'm disappointed in the many women who are victim blaming Janay Rice. I think a lot of us have internalized our sexism, misogyny and gendered oppression.

And I'm disappointed with so many in the black community who are victim blaming Janay Rice. It's Rihanna and Chris Brown all over again. We march, scream, protest, and make hashtags for black men when they are assaulted. But let a black woman get attacked by a black man and there's crickets. Or, they find some reason to blame her. We invisibilize our own women's oppression as an act of racial loyalty and to protect black men. I know many black men have it hard, but so do a hell of a lot of black women.

I feel bad for Janay Rice. I hope she does leave her husband, unharmed and alive. I feel bad that her baby is being raised in a violent home. Black women are 3 times more likely to die by their partner or ex-partner than any other racial group.

I feel bad for the many women in violent relationships who have seen some of the ignorant, hurtful, harsh, sexist posts and tweets from their loved ones and are probably now even more hesitant to tell someone they're in their danger. One in 3 women in the U.S. have experienced violence in an intimate relationship. Chances are you know someone who has been abused.

As I've been saying in social media, to people talking down about Janay Rice -- you don't know WHO is reading your posts. You don't know WHO grew up in a violent home or is a victim of an abusive relationship. Some people I personally know slamming Janay Rice online, have friends that I know who have been in abusive relationships. But those critics don't know about what their friends experienced. There may be a certain reason why your woman friend, cousin, girlfriend, aunt, mom etc. has been pretty quiet about Ray and Janay Rice fiasco.

The violence against women must stop. Misogyny and sexism must end. Defending abusive men because their famous must stop. The NFL needs to do better.

And black folks need to stop defending men we know good and damn well are abusing, misusing and abandoning our women because "brothas have it hard." That kind of thinking is killing our women. And yes, Janay Rice getting beat is OUR problem. Domestic violence is OUR problem, just like police brutality is OUR problem.

Lastly have some damn compassion for the woman and pray she and her baby get out safely and alive.

Here's an article about people who personally know Janay Rice.