Thursday, August 23, 2007

This May Be a Long One...

For the most part. I haven't really blogged about my true personal feelings on Michael Vick because I feel like enough people already are. Besides, I try to avoid long posts that go on and on forever. However, I just feel like since everyone has their two cents, I can have mine as well.

I DO NOT think that Michael Vick is a "bad person." I do not think that he should be executed (can you believe that this lady on the radio where I'm from said that if she was a prosecutor she'd have him executed without a doubt...WTF?), I do not think that he's a potential serial killer (I also heard people say that since he tortures animals, humans can't be too far behind), and I think that he SHOULD play in the NFL again (call me crazy, but I'll call me forgiving). And maybe I feel the way that I feel because I've grown up with an understanding and crazy acceptance of dogfighting. Maybe it's because I understand the culture that accepts, participates, and find no harm dogfighting and feel that it is (as Stephon Marbury said earlier this week) a sport. Unfortunately I understand a culture that does many things that are illegal, but because of it I know that just because a person is involved in things that are not ok in the eyes of the law DOES NOT necessarily make the person a bad human being.

The Michael Vick situation has been viewed and discussed from all angles. Of course race was one of them. I'm black, and I'd like to consider myself as the last person to ever pull the race card. I hate when race comes up in discussion many times because I just like to feel that everybody is the same and no organized faction (whether it be the government, the NFL, or simply a college or university) practices racism. I know that this is not true, but it's the way that I like to believe it should be and therefore that's the way that I sometimes pretend that it is. With that said, someone has to blatantly say some racist shit (like I hate black people) for me to label it as racism. But, I'm going to explore race for a minute. Not to make an excuse but to encourage understanding.

I grew up in a urban environment. There were black people to the left of me, to the right of me, in front of me, and behind me. In my neighborhood (and I'm gonna speak for a majority of urban neighborhoods across America) we didn't really care about dogs like a lot of other people do. Dogs were just that....dogs. As a kid, I can remember seeing stray, unkept, uncivilized dogs roaming the streets all of the time. In our community we didn't call the animal shelter for them, we didn't want to adopt them, we didn't have some warm feeling in our heart because a three legged dog limped down the street. We just didn't want that dog in our yard trying to eat our food, or possibly being a threat to our kids. That's a stark contrast to a lot of white people who I know that will be late for work if they see a stray dog just so they can either find it's rightful owner or seek help for it (I use that example because I actually worked with a person who was late for work so that she could make sure a stray animal was taken care of). I grew up playing with my male cousins and I'm aware of the devious nature of boys (that sometimes never leave as men). My cousins would throw bricks at manged dogs or do any devilish "boy thing" that they could think of. Would they get in trouble for it? NO. Would they get in trouble for doing that to another kid?...Hell Yeah. That's probably because in my family kindness, care, and concern for human beings were stressed. I guess they forgot to tell us how important it is to love your fellow dog.

I'm not a dog nor animal lover, but I don't hate them either. I would never torture an animal as a child (and I always thought I didn't because I'm a "giiirl") or as an adult. But as a child I would never do lot of the dangerous, mischievous things that a lot of boys would do either. So with all of that being said, I understand dogfighting as being a cultural thing. I don't/never participate but not because I think the people who do it are's just that I'm not interested. As I grew older, a lot of those same boys that I played with as a child bred dogs and trained them to fight. I'd have casual conversation with a guy or two and even ask how "the last fight went" or "how much did you win?" I'd even hear about the losses and how pissed a person was because their dog disappointed. I've played with some pits trained for fighting, and even have been invited to dog fights (again not declining because I thought it was wrong, just wasn't interested). I have a good friend who is involved and I trust him around myself, my family, and etc. He's a trustworthy person and his interest in dogfighting doesn't diminish his credibility with me.
For those who didn't grow up with the knowledge or casual attitude towards dogfighting, it's hard to understand. But can you believe that some of the same people who engage in dogfighting would never shoot a buckshot between the eyes of a deer? Can you believe that some of the same people who dogfight would never go out and kill chinchillas for their fur (these are both things that are legal and accepted). Why is it that a person who finds nothing wrong with dogfighting is a potential serial killer while a person who shoots up the forest is a respectable hunter? If you thought that Michael Vick was a good guy at this time last year, what about him is different at present? Last year he was involved in the activities that we're now finding out about, and that's the Mike Vick we've always known. According to reports, he's been a dogfighter since we've been introduced to him! So is he terrible now that his dark done activity has come to light? I'm sorry, but I really don't think so.

In our country we're more forgiving of people who hurt humans than we are of those who hurt animals. Everyday I listen to some over the top person on TV talking about Vick like he's the scum of the earth, like he should crawl into a hole and die there, like it'll be a disgrace to mankind if he ever steps foot on a football field. While all of this is being said, Leonard Little is playing preseason football with the Rams. He has been forgiven and forgotten and he actually is responsible for the demise of another human being. If he is playing football again, I can only hope that Mike Vick gets another chance. For some reason I don't think he's dumb enough to ever do again what he's done before. I don't think he'll ever associate with people who mean him more harm than good for as long as he lives. I believe in second chances, I believe in forgiving people and all of that has to do with me believing in God. I've screwed up so much and yet I can't imagine God saying "serves you right" and not giving me another chance. If God can forgive Michael Vick, then to hell with everybody else.


Loren said...

i am so glad you said this! i couldn't agree more. people on this other board are basically excusing what leonard little did. people are so dumb it amazes me.

Anonymous said...

I read your post several days ago, and it stayed in my mind, so I decided to comment on it. I am a white woman who is old enough to be Michael Vick's grandmother, but I still understand what you said about the environment where both he and you were raised. I grew up in a very poor rural area tht was isolated from much contact with the outside world. We had our own Michael Vick types, and, like you say, they were not necessarily bad people. Nevertheless, I still do not understand why Vick did what he admitted doing.

Like Vick, I got a college scholarship (mine was academic; his was athletic)and left my old life behind. I wasn't in college a week before I realized that my home grown value system was not going to cut it in the "real" world. I know you learned the same thing by example. When your co-worker was late to work because she stopped to help a dog, I am sure most people in your workplace praised her for "doing the right thing". That "real" world attitude is not based on race. One of the more interesting posts I have read while following the Vick story included a quote from an elderly black woman who was still grieving two years after her beloved dog died. "To hell with Michael Vick. And the people who support him are as crazy as he is." That attitude toward dogs is found in over half the households in this country because those households include pets that are part of the family. No one can buck that attitude and expect anything but trouble.

Vick left his neighborhood in Newport News nine years before that federal indictment was served against him. Surely he had to meet many people during that time who treated their dogs like family. Surely he knew that as a superstar his actions were open to scrutiny. Obviously, he knew dogfighting was against the law or he would not have hid his secret for so many years and lied about it to his employer and everyone else until he could no longer lie. In short, can you provide any insight into why he did something so stupid?

Spicy Salsa said...

^^ I agree w/what you're saying and I appreciate your comment.

I definitely don't want you to think that I'm saying that what Mike Vick did wasn't stupid. I think that any person as finanically and overall fortunate as Vick was, is stupid to do ANYTHING that could risk such a blessed situation. There are several things that are illegal that doesn't really seem that bad to some of us, but because the law deems it wrong, we have to stray away from those things. I think that part of his stupidity was that he never saw things that way. He probably (like I did) grew up where dogfighting wasn't necessarily viewed as a bad thing, but continued to take part even though the law says otherwise.

I'm a young black woman (who like you went to college and I can definitely contrast that world with the urban community where I grew up), and I know so many SMART young, black men who do STUPID things. So many young black guys meet the same fate as Michael Vick because they can't distinguish b/t friends and bad seeds. The idea of a person being interested in keeping company with people who have nothing to lose and act wrecklessly is stupid. I think that Michael Vick realizes that now. I definitely hope that he changes for the better, and surrounds himself with positivity.

yummy411 said...

i agree and understand your point to a certain degree.. i grew up where dogs weren't valued. it was hard enough to raise the kids, damn a dog. I also grew up and took on the perspective of an adult. now that i've met animals (that act like people if you ask me) and families where pets are included, i view them differently. i also view the importance of trees and other parts of our ecosystem differently. i'm not an extremist as i have to question myself about using beauty products that still test on animals... while dogfighting is cruel and there comes a point where one decides as a sane person and adult what's right and wrong, especially when there are high risks. unfortunately, he struck a nerve with the wrong people. he should pay, but i don't know about being banned from the nfl.