I haven’t weighed in on this before because…well, because I was utterly sick of hearing about it.
No, I’m not talking about Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan. I’m talking about Michael Vick and his alleged dog-fighting operation in Surry County, VA, which led to Mr. Vick being indicted on federal conspiracy charges in July.
I’m flummoxed by the number of people who seem to be willing to defend him solely because he’s a black dude. Black, white, green with purple spots – cruelty and horror know no color, and I wonder what man’s best friend would have to say about Mr. Vick, should Fido suddenly gain the power of speech. I think Fido might just vote with his dentition, and sink his canines into Mr. Vick’s leg.
Dog-fighting is, according to current media conventional wisdom, a "cultural issue", and judgment is supposed to be suspended on "cultural issues". The subtext here is that we’re supposed to cut Mr. Vick a break ’cause he’s keepin’ it real and participating in a "sport" that’s popular with professional athletes, particularly professional athletes who happen to be black.
"Keepin’ it real" appears to be code for rejoicing in ignorance, for celebrating what amounts to a willful lack of intellectual curiosity or engagement. I’d abandon all hope if it weren’t for people like those I found at Black College Wire – in particular this post by Kai Beasley, a recent graduate of Emory University.
The courts do need to weigh in, and Mr. Vick is innocent until proven guilty. But those who are leaping to his defense strictly because he’s "keepin’ it real" should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and ask what W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., or Malcolm X might say about embracing ignorance…