What the Hell Does That Mean???
Every morning for breakfast I have some kind of grain, a protein, some form of fruit, my vitamins, and the Today Show. (Forgive me, I've been teaching the Food Pyramid for a month.) I really watch it because it's light but provides just enough of broad scope of what's happening around the country and limited parts of the world in doses that don't depress or overwhelm me before the day's even started. The personalities are dull, the jokes are BAD, but the time is always posted in the bottom left corner to keep me on track for getting out of the door on time.
THIS morning, for the 3rd day in a row, director Roman Polanski's name has been a hot topic. As the story goes, in 1977 Polanski faced 6 charges, some of which included sodomy, giving drugs to a minor and rape. He supposedly served 4 months, was psychologically tested to see if he qualified as a pedophile and went on with his life. He was released prior to sentencing and left the U.S. for good, never to return. He's been considered a fugitive since. Polanski was arrested days ago after 30 plus years have lapsed since this incident occurred. The girl, now grown, has said she's moved on, let it be. The film community is in an uproar over this film "genius" being held accountable so many years later for something that's now being called "not a rape rape."
WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN??
Maybe I'm having a conspiracy theorist moment. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive from living while Black. I could have too much time on my hands. Whatever the reason, I HONESTLY BELIEVE that if Roman Polanski's name was Raheem Jackson, this would NOT be a conversation. The rape is being called statutory rape which, if you're a white man with a lot of money, means pretend rape?? Too often in recent years there have been young Black male faces on the news, charged with statutory rape, for having sex with their white GIRLFRIENDS who fall under 18 years of age. These are children who have followed their hormonal and emotional urges and had sex. They're close in age, and there's consent. Roman Polanski was a grown man with a THIRTEEN year old girl that he gave qualudes to and had sex. And she squealed to parents and police immediately, never once claiming that it was consensual. Many of these boys are in jail now, or have recently been released from jail.
This issue causes hot pockets to gather under my skin. It feels very much like a race and class issue that anyone would even attempt to support Roman Polanski on this matter. So many thoughts come to mind about the gaps between what is acceptable legally and socially across and between racial divides. Justice seems to be made of gray matter that slides across racial lines, becoming more faint and harder to define depending on what side you fall on. More than 30 years have passed and the victim is living outside of this tragic event. I believe that if no one was serious enough to press this issue in all this time, maybe sleeping dogs should lie. But we cannot allow a sliding scale on what qualifies as rape and who qualifies as a rapist. Society as a whole and the judicial system cannot decide that it will certainly protect white girls/women, as long as it doesn't affect powerful white men, and judge all other cases on random criteria.
As a woman whose had to question was it "rape rape" when it happened to me, I am offended and sickened that this is even a consideration. This societal gap in definition is perhaps the reason why I even questioned myself when facing this truth. The end result for Polanski is not my concern. The respect for the female experience, no matter the victim, or the racial background or prestige of the assailant IS.
I hope none of the members of the film industry offering support ever have to look into the face of another questioning whether what they're experiencing or reporting is a rape or a rape rape.
I wonder what'll be for breakfast tomorrow?
Watch me move.