life beyond the well…

Finally, something good from Duke


It’s hard for me to believe that anything good could come from Duke, other than something in the likes of Grant Hill, Dahntay Jones, and Jason Williams. However, after reading this article in the AJC, I realized that I may have been wrong.

The article explores the hypocrisy of white culture as it relates to Michael Vick. While I initially thought that it would address how it seems that white culture has completely alienated Michael Vick, this article is written purely from an animal rights perspective. Though I’m not familiar with animal rights, I can appreciate what is being said.

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

We need to face the fact that dog fighting is not the only “sport” that abuses animals. Cruelty also occurs in rodeos, horse and dog racing (all of which mistreat animals and often kill them when no longer useful). There are also millions of dogs and cats we put to death in “shelters” across the country because they lack a home, and billions of creatures we torture in factory farms for our food.

Vick treated his dogs very cruelly; there is no question about that. But I see one important difference between these more socially acceptable mistreatments and the anger focused on Vick: Vick is black, and most of the folks in charge of the other activities are white.

Some might argue that the difference between dogfighting and these other forms of animal abuse is that dogfighting is illegal. That’s true, but the fact that dogfighting is illegal while other institutions remain acceptable is because dogfighting no longer a sport of the middle and upper class.

Dogfighting (and cock fighting) used to be “sports” enjoyed by the upper classes in the United States and were, then, perfectly legal.

In the last 50 years, however, they have become the domain mostly of blacks, Latinos and poor whites — and were ruled illegal. Now, while white middle and upper classes continue to watch horses run to the point of exhaustion and risk breaking their legs, they regard dogfighting as something that only low-class “thugs and drug dealers” find entertaining. Indeed, a reading of many of the Vick news stories indicts him and his friends as much for being involved in hip-hop subculture as for fighting dogs. Several proponents of animal rights have used the Vick case to draw attention to the widespread abuse of animals, but they are primarily trying to persuade people to become vegans.

I look at this another way: If we find dogfighting unacceptable but we can live with other forms of animal abuse, what is the underlying distinction? Could it have more to do with the culture surrounding the human beings involved and less to do with the animals?

I am not saying dogfighting is acceptable, but rather that Vick should be publicly criticized for that activity, not for his participation in hip-hop subculture. Whether or not dogs are fought more by minorities than white people is actually unknown, but the media representations of the last several weeks make it appear that black culture and dogfighting are inextricably intertwined. We need to find ways to condemn dogfighting without denigrating black culture with it.

What do you think?


Author: erin.almond

God-chaser. NC native, now planted in Jacksonville, FL. Happily married to a handsome church-planting pastor. I am easily excited by Jesus, education, cupcakes, Moleskine notebooks, and Pepsi. Overwhelmed by God's amazing grace, undeserving of His love and mercy.

2 thoughts on “Finally, something good from Duke

  1. Great article! All this week I have been wondering why this whole case wasn’t settling right with me. Then yesteray it hit me! People go hunting all the time! Shooting animals for the purpose of sport does not sound like it should be legal to me…
    So as people go and make a public example out of Vick, I have to wonder if any real changes are being made to our rules. Dogfighting is already illegal. But what about hunting, animal testing, and all those other things that make you think…that’s just not right?

  2. On point. What me and mines have been saying all along.

    I’m waiting for the REAL conversation about this issue to begin.

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