Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scandalize My Name! The PIT - falls of Playing the Race-card

Surely by now, we have all heard of the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin by vigilante Neighborhood Watch member, George Zimmerman. Very quickly, before there could be an investigation or even a trail, before we knew any background about Zimmerman, outraged people were already calling for Zimmerman’s head on a platter. President Obama was even moved to make a statement, “If I had a son, he’d look like Treyvon”. As it turns out, he could have said the same exact thing about George Zimmerman, who also has African blood running in his veins.

The seventeen-year-old Treyvon was wearing a "hoodie" at the time of his shooting, which may or may not be “gansta” attire, but in truth, it is often the uniform of thugs. As a sign of protest, “Million Hoodie Marchers” or “hundred hoodie marches” were staged. Professional athletes and celebrities tweeted photos of themselves wearing hoodies. Several “Walk Outs” were staged in high schools. Black Civil Rights leaders such as Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson climbed on a pulpit that has become very dusty since America elected an African American to the highest office in the land, the most powerful position in the world and Jesse said, at least I THINK this is what he said…”Treyvon Martin is a Martyr, and Martyrs have POWER!”

I’m not discounting that racism still exists, it certainly does. I have heard of disturbing horror stories from my non-Anglo friends, especially what life was like in the 1950’s when Jim Crow laws still ruled in the south. My husband is biracial, he has stories of his own, especially that of his parents who had a very difficult time moving out of East L.A. to a better neighborhood. My own husband remembers the famous Latino “walk out” of Garfield High School in 1969. However, even I have been denied jobs because of my ethnicity. Being Anglo-American is not a part of multiculturalism, as it turns out. I have suffered perceptions of being a certain way, just because of the color of my skin. I think there is something very deep and primitive that comes to play in being part of our tribe, and racism will never be eradicated. It’s often first ploy when there’s nothing to use as the expression of outrage, to play that race card. Many times, that ploy of playing the race card is the first move of a racist! However, as a society, we should continue to try, and teach our children to be more enlightened and accepting of different races, but also in all expressions of diversity…. sexuality, religion, political views, or those who just march to a different drum. I also have to say, humans in all of the multitudes of flavors we come in should not be tolerated, as in one would tolerate old stale bread, but CELEBRATED.!

Still, I see there is fervor when the cause of racism is incited, that we don’t often see in churches, whose attendance seems to be waning. This indicates a strong need for fellowship, for rituals, for coming together for a cause that is “bigger than ourselves”. This “racism” business is a big thing, a multi-billion dollar industry. I suggest that by their very existence, these institutions create more harm and hinder the great work that was already accomplished by the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. I personally think there is more harm than good that comes from these race specific and exclusive clubs. After “racism” was incited in the O.J. Simpson murder case, it seems that racism may be a worse crime than murder. Karma came to the rescue for at least O.J. Simpson.

So why discuss the issue of “racism” on a blog about pit bulls? Because the pit bull advocacy knowsthat this is a word that will incite this very passion and fervor...which translates into plenty of donated money and stirs hearts into wanting to help the poor maligned, even enough to adopt one of these dogs. There are more points awarded if the pit bull came from atrocious circumstances like a dog fighting ring, a horrible abuse case, or maybe even a dog that attacked somebody and is now “rehabilitated”. The same sort of “vigils” and marches are being held for pit bulls as were for Treyvon Martin, namely the suicide of Nick Santino, and the case of Lennox the “lab mix” in Ireland. The pit bull advocacy incites “racism” and “racial profiling” and collects over a billion annually. No money ever goes to victims. Most of the victims, by the way, are African American children.

There is also a real power in displaying oneself as a compassionate person, and for advocating for the maligned. The pit bull advocacy has been successful in casting itself in the role as the compassionate, and those who favor regulations, often because they or a loved one have suffered in the jaws of one of these dogs, are the big meanies. This is commonly witnessed in statements such as this posted in the reader’s comments on an incident involving a pit bull:

”You just hate pit bulls because of ONE incident. That’s like hating all blacks because you had your purse stolen one time by a black person. You are a RACIST!”

Using the word “racism”, and calling those that favor some controls, Breed Specific Legislation, or
even bans, racist and even HITLER is very repugnant. To equate DOGS with people in the first place is the worst misuse of anthropomorphism. Educated people know there is a real difference between natural selection and propagation through selective breeding. If mankind had been satisfied with the original version of “dog”, there wouldn’t be so many to choose from, each kind created for a specific purpose, some just for the sake of appearance. There is no creature on the face of the earth that shows such diversity in form, and this is all the handiwork of what can be accomplished from manipulating D.N.A.. Having a preference or disdain for a particular breed of dog is no difference nor is it morally corruptible as preferring one cultivar of roses or tomato to another. Some savvy pit bull advocates have recently changed the word to “breedist” or “breedism”, but it’s a manipulation, the connotation is there, and they know it works. Dogs are not people, dogs are property, and since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 in the U.S.A., people cannot own people.

The advocacy not only knows the power of inciting racism, but also using the appeal of the concept of FREEDOM, and civil liberties. Owning a dog is not a right, it’s subject to licensing and regulation. Speaking of plants…it turns out that we Americans cannot just have any plant we desire, there are certain plants that are illegal. Certainly, Cannabis and Papaver somniferum for their illegal narcotic use, but many others such as Salvinia molesta is federally prohibited, for environmental reasons. As for animals, it is usually against municipal codes to keep any livestock, from goats to honeybees in city limits, even though it’s been quite a while since I last heard of a goat mauling someone to death. If one desires to keep an exotic pet such as a lion or a tiger, there are certain kinds of permits and liabilities that are in place to safeguard the public. These safeguards are in place to protect our civil liberties: the right to life. This trumps one’s personal freedoms to keep whatever animal one desires.

The pit bull advocacy has however, been successful in passing some state laws that prohibits labeling of certain breeds of dogs as "dangerous", but local municipalities are finding ways around it. Coming soon to a city near you, will be laws in response to the pit bull advocacy's failure to educate owners of these nonetheless DANGEROUS dogs (2008-2011, roughly 64% of fatalities were caused by pit bulls) in their cause of needless and preventable injury and death. This is in response to the public outrage of the frequency of these events, and due to the fact the owners of these dogs either refuse to pay restitutions; they are not able to afford the liability, if an owner can be found at all. Note, that the pit bull advocacy is in unity in opposing any regulation with the likes of dog fighters and criminals who use these dogs to guard their drugs.

Just as folks who fancy wearing “hoodies” don’t like to be classified as gang members, pit bull owners
apparently do not like the negative connotations of many of the stereotypes of pit bull ownership, which usually goes with “hoodies” and wearing one’s waist band below the curve of the buttocks, thereby exposing the undergarments. Not in the twentieth century has such a cultivated fashion “look” had such an enduring presence, although I note that many young folks are wearing much tighter pants these days, crotch still at the knees, and now they waddle like penguins. This is often accompanied with the team mascot, Buster the pit bull, pulling their hoodie wearing teen owner on an extremely large chain, large enough to hold an anchor of a sizable sailboat. I’ve never seen such a large chain used on so much as a horse or a bull. I used to really hate them, but these days, I’m seeing the wisdom of such a large chain when it comes to controlling a pit bull. I digress. In any case, pit bull advocates will insist that THEY are responsible, and not to JUDGE them, how dare you! I think judgment is a good thing, a gift; it can save your life! I’m staying away from that hoodie and saggy pants wearing kid and his dog, as if it were a highly contagious disease, thank you very much.

This ties into a common outrage expressed by pit bull owners, that they detest being "judged", being lumped in together with all of the thug pit bull owners, or that their sweet precious dog is being prejudged to be "dangerous". Well, it is! There are some definitions of judgment that appeal to me as a concept, although, by this crowd the term has been maligned:

1. an act or instance of judging.
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity: The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.

In response to these negative perceptions, pit bull owners and advocates spend much of their energy in vain to repair reputation of the dog, which is just a dog and isn’t aware of their negative reputation. In actuality, it's about their owner's self esteem, when they should be helping the rest of us pass laws to get the dogs out of thug hands in the first place. It would be a win win situation for everybody included.

”Pit bull owners have been dehumanized. On Internet message boards, in news articles, and in political speeches, pit bull owners are routinely disparaged as nothing more than criminals, drug dealers, “trailer trash,” liars, lunatics, or social deviants. Consequently, pit bull owners find themselves struggling against both legal discrimination and social discrimination—and the majority group (non-pit bull owners) isn’t bothered by this discrimination. In fact, the majority group may even endorse it, or worse, fight for it, as in the case of breed-specific legislation. Such discrimination is only possible because of the dehumanization of pit bull owners and the decanine-ization of pit bulls. By making both the owners and the dogs seem abnormal, frightening, and even dangerous, society easily endorses inhuman policies like breed-specific legislation and other forms of discrimination.”

Another article that does a wonderful job of exploring this self-preservation of esteem in pit bull owners can be found in the Scientific American.

However, try as they may, these good owners often have bad experiences with their pit bulls. Sometimes, it’s a next-door neighbor, or their children, or themselves…all of those good intentions for naught.

If you delight in the ironic as I do, you will find many apologists so outraged in “racism” and “breedism” will quickly show their true colors, should they learn that the dog injured was a Chow Chow, Daschund, Lab, Chihuahua, or _____ insert breed of dog that was injured or killed in the attack. The same crowd that blames the media for the “bad rap”, will use media reports to show that children have been killed by other breeds as well, and of course they do, just not as frequently. They will often “rejoice”, when there is a report of the mauling perpetrated by another breed, as in the case of a recent mauling of a child by a Lab mix. What the media didn’t report, as they didn’t know, was that the "mix" was pit.

They will also engage in a dishonest tactic I have seen used in the very hallowed ivory towers of higher education, so desiring of finding "positive" history to promote self esteem, "historians" use conjecture to the point of turning history into fairy tales. The pit bull apologia uses revisionist history as well, in their creation of the "nanny dog" myth. Another example can be found in their oft quoted falsehood that "in the 19th century, bloodhounds were the feared breed of dog", when easily we find that what used to be called a "bloodhound" was a pit bull type of dog, and not the floppy-eared and wrinkled scent hound we currently call the "bloodhound".

And like Obama, so quick to “judge” without knowing all the facts, we later learn that Treyvon had his
troubles, as did Mr. Zimmerman. As it turns out, Zimmerman was going through many of the challenges of so many in these hard economic times, had aspirations of joining law enforcement, had been the victim of crime, felt as if law enforcement couldn’t do the job. I bet he was tired of feeling powerless.  

He had recently purchased a handgun for his wife and himself
due to frequent run-ins with pit bulls.

I’m looking in the mirror; I look a lot like George Zimmerman.

Since writing this, I learned of other "vigilantes" who took public safety into their own hands, due to the non-response of animal control.

Case 1, Sacramento, CA, August 2011.

Case 2,  Phoenix, AZ, May 2012.

Case 3, Oregon, 2008.

Other good articles, essays, blogs,  that explore this bastardization of the term "racism" as applied to dogs.

Lee, Alcia.  New York Times, 2003: Discriminating? Yes.  Discriminatory? No
17 Barks: Thoughts on "Canine Racism".


  1. Check out this excellent article, on the same subject.

  2. outstanding!

    according to racism's purest definition, we all racists to some degree when it comes to dogs. if we weren't, there would be no distinctive breeds or types of dogs.
    racism |ˈrāˌsizəm|
    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

    but i am not convinced that the pit bull apologia believes their own breedist/racist propaganda. i think they play the race card in order to justify the rest of their dishonest tactics. plus they get to pretend to be superior beings who have transcended the evils of bigotry and discrimination.

    regarding the zimmerman case, here is a photo of zimmerman's injuries.

  3. i am not a fan of sharpton. he has a history of defending the indefensible.

  4. I'm also not a fan of Sharpton or Jackson, they don't do a very good job of picking Martyrs either. Most African American's who are killed are killed by other African Americans. It's an epidemic.

    My understanding of the term "race", is that it applies to humans. I believe the term "racism" in this case is specifically talking about the feelings of superiority of one human race to another. Pit bull advocates are purposely bastardizing and manipulating the term. I'm aware that the term "race" is used in biology, as part of taxonomy, but in science, there is just classification, no evaluations as to "superiority" or "inferiority" are made:

    Race (biology)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This article is about the biological taxonomy term. For the sociological concept, see Social interpretations of race. For the anthropological term, see Race (classification of humans).

    In biology, races are distinct genetically divergent populations within the same species with relatively small morphological and genetic differences. The populations can be described as ecological races if they arise from adaptation to different local habitats or geographic races when they are geographically isolated. If sufficiently different, two or more races can be identified as subspecies, which is an official biological taxonomy unit subordinate to species. If not, they are denoted as races, which means that a formal rank should not be given to the group, or taxonomists are unsure whether or not a formal rank should be given. According to Ernst W. Mayr, "a subspecies is a geographic race that is sufficiently different taxonomically to be worthy of a separate name" [1][1] Examples of race include:

    The western honey bee is divided into several honey bee races

    In the example provided, we see that there is no evaluations as to the "superiority" or "inferiority", the term is just used to note that there are observable differences. To someone who cultivates or breeds, they are in the position to select for these "small morphological and genetic differences" to create new cultivars and breeds, as a potter molds clay. They do it with D.N.A. instead.

  5. Woah there is a lot of white supremacist bullshit going on in this post and the comments. Gross.

    This is one of those situations where there isn't a clear interest in truly understanding the position of oppressed people. I can't make you interested or empathetic to what other people go through, but there is plenty of information available for you if/when you decide that maybe it is worth it to try and take an objective look at the way that some people are privileged over others. You can complain about isolated incidents where you felt discriminated against, and so could I, but it doesn't make it significant the way racism against non-white people is. Racism against people of color isn't made of isolated annoyances. It is a system that people of color can expect to treat them as expendable, and it does. The medical system fails to donate organs to people of color at the same rate as whites. That kills people. So does the extreme gap in prenatal care that exists between white people and people of color. That kills babies. The economic oppression of non-white people is still going on, with pay rate gaps worsening the health and well being of people of color as a class.

    A lot of this stuff about george zimmerman focuses on the personalities of zimmerman and martin instead of the fact that the police didn't do a damn thing until widespread protest broke out. What does that tell you about the justice system? What do you think happens to people of color who can't get a lot of publicity, or who are killed by police officers?

    The bottom line here is that there is a continual disadvantage to being a person of color. This can be confirmed by any analysis into the typical life circumstances of non-white people and comparing them to the typical life circumstances of white people. If you conclude that the system is fair and people of color are just not trying hard enough, or lacking some other kind of merit, you are making a racist argument. If there isn't a systematic disadvantage forced on people of color and they are failing anyway it implies that there is something inherently wrong with them. I do not believe any group treated this way would fair any better.

    1. Skeptifem, I'm rather baffled by your assertion that there is "a lot of white supremacist bullshit going on in this post and the comments." Just what do you find to be of that nature?

      I think this points to the meat of the matter...

      "A lot of this stuff about george zimmerman focuses on the personalities of zimmerman and martin instead of the fact that the police didn't do a damn thing until widespread protest broke out. What does that tell you about the justice system?"

      This isn't really about the justice system, so much as the folly of playing the "race card" or invoking it just for the fallout it will get. Look what it incited in this case! Was it positive? Can we prove that Zimmerman shot Treyvon because he was a racist? Why can't wait until the "justice system" gives a verdict before we react? Racism has been invoked before there has even been a trial and before the media even reported some of the details about the case. But many of the leaders in the Black Civil Rights movement got their outrage up, and incited unrest that is harmful to the accomplishments we have made.

      I wonder if this will end up like it did for those four Duke lacrosse players? That race card played havoc with their lives, but it seems they are a resilient bunch, and at least some of them are making lemons into lemon-aide. Oprah never apologized.

      Are things perfect? NO! Who knows for sure if justice will prevail, sometimes it does not. As I wrote before, likely racism is something we always will be working on, there are studies that show that even little children are BORN racist, that we come this way naturally. There's been studies about this (some that show that only White people are racist. Perhaps this is because there have been no studies to determine whether or not other races are racist. I think that's racist, only my opinion (maybe you think that's racist too. Sigh.)

      Here is one:

      I do know this, I don't feel as though one race is superior to another, I feel as everybody should have the same opportunities. I know that life is also not fair, and that there will also always be racism, but we can try. I also feel that all people, regardless of their skin color, deserve the best policies that will promote safety.

      It's also my opinion, that humans races can not be equated with dog breeds, and to use the "racism" ploy is repugnant. The pit bull advocacy uses it for the same gets the passion going. We could also ban every single pit bull, and still there will be accidents with dogs. There will even still be pit bulls, because there will always be criminals. There will be much less of them, and injuries will most often be much less severe. Not even I favor an outright ban on pit bulls, regulations, yes.

      I think you got so caught up in the word, "racism" couldn't find the point. If this is the case, the experiment worked, we can't see the forest for the trees when that race card is flown. Maybe I didn't articulate it well, if that is the case, please give me examples of what you find to be of a "white supremacist" nature, that is not the intent, and that is not the focus.

      Curious, do you not consider George Zimmerman to be a "person of color"? Did you not read that he can count Afro-Cuban in his heritage? He's about as multi-cultural as a person can get, slightly more so than my husband. Those White Supremacist sorts would not approve of our marriage.

  6. "Woah there is a lot of white supremacist bullshit going on in this post and the comments. Gross. "


  7. Lmfao...I can't help but notice it is the same 3-4 people patting each other on the back for ALL of these delusional postings. Congrats on getting your friends to support your CRAZY.
    I am white, and I can absolutely see how racist you people are. Not just against a certain breed of dog, but people too. You generalize, stereotype, and uh oh...your utter lack of knowledge is showing!

    At least these posts are good for something. Okay to be fair, two things. 1) A laugh. And 2) A lesson. The lesson being... Even Bigoted, self important, morons, like yourselves... Still need attention.

    1. And yes. I am insulting you because you insulted me by posting this TRASH. Oh well... it is just my opinion after all. Right? Lol.

    2. It's pretty much a circle jerk up in here.

    3. From the looks of your picture, you would know all about those circle jerks, Ashee.

    4. "I am white, and I can absolutely see how racist you people are. Not just against a certain breed of dog, but people too. You generalize, stereotype, and uh oh...your utter lack of knowledge is showing!"

      You can't be racist against dogs, it is impossible. Also, stereotyping and generalizing is why dog breeds were invented to begin with. Duh.