I feel the need to wade into this Vick shit once more.
Since news of a plea hit I’ve read a lot of opinion pieces and seen press conferences featuring black athletes or public figures either defending Mr. Vick, trying to compare dog fighting with hunting or laying the groundwork for his return to football once he has served his time.
I could go on and on about how dog fighting isn’t "just like hunting" or about how Mr. Vick can and most likely will speak up for himself before going to jail.
I could, but instead I’m going to change the angle a bit. I have to, because I live in the real world and public reaction to cases like this matter here…big time.
As a mentor who volunteers with mostly black youth I regularly feel like a fish swimming against the current. I’m so tired…so bloody exhausted…and often I’m desperate for points of moral leadership from those historic civil rights organizations to back me up and keep me sane.
The Vick investigation brought dog fighting out of the shadows and I saw it as a rare teachable moment featuring someone my students and mentee know. I hoped to explore the decision making lessons… why violence against animals is wrong… why we need to be mindful of the company we keep…the fact that money doesn’t make you better or above the law or happy or confident…and the fact that having a violent dog that inspires fear doesn’t make you a man or sexy or look grown.
Instead I have seen knees jerk in a defensive reaction so sadly predictable it makes me want to weep.
Here in St. Louis city the loss of the teachable moment is particularly painful as students return to a public school system in crisis…rising violent crime figures that don’t even inspire shock anymore…and a community still reeling from the shooting death of a 22 year old black police officer allegedly killed by a 15 year old boy over nothing.
We...black people...are not without examples of injustice born from racial prejudice within the legal system.
But I fear some lack the ability to see the difference between injustice and disappointment in the prosecution of a public figure who fucked up.
Clearly some lack the will to say the unpopular truth and lead by example.
So Vick becomes a victim and the crime he intends to plea to becomes no big deal.
Did wrong become right because he dazzled on the football field or because by fighting dogs he "kept it real"?
Jesus, is that what defines "keeping it real" now?
How the hell am I supposed to polish this twisted shit up and put it into context for young people of color who are going to learn a lesson from this case whether we want them to or not?
Damn it all.
I'm so bloody exhausted...