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On Violence

For the last few weeks I have been working on this dissertation chapter on sex work in the literature of William Attaway. I have discovered that domestic work, sexuality, and violence are always in proximity. There is a certain normalization of domestic violence in black Left literature. It is as though capitalism and racism naturally cause working class men to beat and rape women. 

Capitalism makes men violent. The elimination of capitalism (socialism? communism?) will end this violence and liberate women. Except this has yet to happen. It didn’t happen in the USSR. Communism didn’t eliminate racism either for the record. 

All of this was at the front of my mind when I heard that the Ravens decided to release Ray Rice after he knocked his wife unconscious. But where does class fit here? Rice is clearly not working class. But he is black. And that clearly matters. So is his wife. Which also matters. 

I’m annoyed by the investigations into this non-unique situation. What did she do? What kind of situation produces this? His labor (as an athlete) matters. It is this culture of violence that we need to consider. We are spectators to a violent sport. Which clearly colors our spectatorship of this violent act. Caught on video. 


About Shana Russell

Woman. Scholar. Liberationist.

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