Vile in any Color

August 25, 2007 at 6:08 pm (Current Events, opinions, rants)

I had to put my two cents in about this Michael Vick thing because its just making me sick. And its not even the horrifying aspect of animal abuse that has me so upset this particular morning. Listening to NPR this morning I heard some “expert” or another talking about how Vick is being persecuted more harshly due to his race. However, when pressed by the NPR interviewer, the “expert” admitted that if that dog-abuser had been white, he’d probably receive the same legal and social ramifications. So I’m confused. Which is it, fair or racist? I certainly have my opinion on the topic and I hesitate to even start in on the racial issue. So before I say anything else, I have to acknowledge that I am very aware that harsh racial inequality is alive and kicking every minute of every day in our society, not only against Blacks, but against Middle-Easterners, Asians, Latinos, and many more groups. However, I very much dislike when the tactic of accusing the media or the public of racism is used to defend someone as vile and despicable as this.

One of the main arguments I have heard in defense of Vick is that dog fighting is part of the black culture and highly prevalent in the inner cities. This is quite a slippery-slope argument, because it could be used at one time or another to defend gang violence in the inner cities, white supremacy in the South, or even Antisemitism in the Middle East. Just because it is prevalent and part of the culture does not make it right.

Actor Jamie Foxx had this to say, although I truly have no idea why anyone gives a crap about his opinion:

“It’s a cultural thing, I think,” Jamie said. “Most brothers didn’t know that, you know. I used to see dogs fighting in the neighborhood all the time. I didn’t know that was Fed time. So, Mike probably just didn’t read his handbook on what not to do as a black star.” While he has a way of lightening even the most sensitive of subjects, Jamie is sincere in his belief that the quarterback is not being given a fair shake.
“I know that cruelty to animals is bad, but sometimes people shoot people and kill people and don’t get time,” Jamie continued. “I think in this situation, he really didn’t know the extent of it, so I always give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Apparent Vick also hasn’t read his handbook on being a decent human being either. I know that the issue of cruelty to animals is fraught with hypocrisy since we eat animals, test drugs on them, wear them, etc. But there is a distinct difference between consuming animals for survival/nutrition or using them for the betterment of human health (although a debate on those topics could fill an entire blog) and causing them harm for our entertainment and pleasure. And its not even the dogs vs. chickens debate. I recognize that it is a cultural construct that we value the lives of dogs and cats more than pigs or chickens. I know that in certain Asian cultures, the consumption of animals that we consider “pets” is a common practice. However, countries like China also have a long history or massive starvation and famine. I would never fault someone for consuming a dog or a cat if the alternative was death or surviving on tree bark and dirt (which many people did). But I would go out on a limb and say that I doubt that the Chinese would torture dogs before killing them for consumption. Humane treatment and sacrifice of animals should always be a priority.

That being said, I was literally nauseated when I heard about these charges, and in truth I avoided reading/hearing about them for about a week because I absolutely can’t stomach cruelty towards animals. And not being much of a sports fan myself, I had no idea that Vick was even black when the story first broke. It sickened me nonetheless. There are many things in our society which are illegal and vial no matter what color you are, and the ruthless torture and killing of animals is probably near the top of that list.

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2 Comments

  1. arvind said,

    in india, it is very common for muslim celebrities to play the “i am being targeting for being a minority” card everytime they are caught doing something despicable, be it hunting endangered animals or running over homeless folks while driving drunk.

    while i do agree that a white guy in the same position may have probably gotten off easier, that doesn’t mean vick is being made a scapegoat…if anything, we need to make sure any white celebrity suffers equal censure.

    i can’t believe the coverage of this on the sports channels where the plight of the dogs is a distant third to the betting legality discussion and the impact to football discussion. it is disgusting. as if the lives of the dogs don’t even matter.

    i say make vick pay for their rehab and care for the rest of their natural lives…he’s got the millions…why should they die? i am sure the dog whisperer can make them docile again for a hefty sum.

    btw, it looks like you are finally out of the lab? not thinking in “vial”s anymore? đŸ˜›

  2. mysterybea said,

    I know, what an embarrassing mistake with the Vial instead of Vile thing. What can I say, I’m a scientist, not an English major!!

    Thanks for your comment, the whole affair is pretty sickening and we can only hope the media moves on soon. Although making animal welfare more of a central issue is not a bad thing.

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