America’s Next Bill Clinton!

Michael Vick, race and class

If you’ve tuned in to get an opinion on how long Michael Vick should be in jail for his crimes, you’re not going to get it here. Similarly, if you’re looking for a breakdown on how the Vick-less Falcons will now how to move on with journeyman quarterback Joey Harrington at an attempt to the yet-to-start NFL season, you’re not going to get that, either. There are other news sources, blogs and radio shows to talk about that, if you’re interested.

What you’re getting here is what seems to be missing from the mainstream media – the fact that, just has Michael Vick’s hope of playing under center this season is gone, so are the dreams of many young black men who, for too long, have been denied a chance in society because of the color of their skin.

In the end, no matter how long Vick goes to jail for, he’ll still be a millionaire. In the end, no matter how well the Falcons do this season (I am calling 6-10 in a strong division), their players and fans will still be privileged. But, with the Michael Vick controversies, the lives of thousands of black men will be affected, and negatively.

The image of African-American males in the media is already lacking, and in rare instances when they are represented, such images are usually not in a positive light. This only adds to such problems. To whom will the young black man look up to as a role model? Certainly not Michael Vick. For a very long time, Vick represented the American Dream – the dream of being born to teenage parents in the projects, yet working hard enough to the icon of the sporting world. Although I assert that children ought to seek role models in other areas, Vick represented to these young men, the fact that if you work hard enough, you can make something of yourself. But for Vick – and many young men, the American Dream has turned into a nightmare. To whom now shall young African American men turn as role models?

Furthermore, Vick isn’t helping with the image of Africa-American males. To mainstream society, and we know it’s not true, African-American males are seen as foolish, heartless individuals who make extremely bad decisions in life. Like it or not, who we appear to be does matter in society. I can only imagine the backlash and negativity African-American males will receive from it.

What upsets me is the tune in to any TV channel and you’ll get expert analysis of the Falcons’ season and Vick’s jail time. But I’ve  heard nothing at all about the lack of positive image of African-American males.

Everyone else has their role models. White young males have everyone. Young women have Hillary Clinton. Young Mormons have Mitt Romney. Indian-Americans have Dr. Sanjay Gupta. African-American women have Michael Jackson, and Asian-American males have …well, me.

What of the African-American males?

6 Comments so far
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What I don’t understand is why the African American male is supposed to look up to either a) pro-athletes or b) rappers for role models. Why not look up to men like Colin Powell or Barack Obama? Why not look up to the educated black man? You’re right, there are not hardly any role models for African American males…but perhaps they can look outside of rap and sports to find some men worth modeling their lives after?

And I am glad Asian-Americans have you. 🙂

Comment by Trish

Not funny:

“African-American women have Michael Jackson”

And, who are you to tell Black men who they have to look up to? Who are you to tell anyone who their role models should be?

Comment by Elaine Vigneault

I never claimed that they should look up to anyone. It was a mere statement of fact, that other groups already have role models whom people CAN look upon.

I never said should. So, don’t overreact, huh?

And who am I? No one, really – just a college kid who plans on changing the world.

Comment by profeministmale

There are lots of great Afro-American men to look up to. Just don’t look to the NFL to provide them. Look in your own neighborhoods – schools, churches, businesses, etc. They are everywhere.
If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However…

I watched Vick’s public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick’s “enlightenment” carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare “What’s worse?” “What’s worse”, we ask, “carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?”. “Dogfighting or gambling?” “Dogfighting or rape?” “Dogfighting or racism?” “Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?” “Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)….?” The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings – they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being “a winner” is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

Chaplain Nancy Cronk

Comment by animalchaplain

I was going to make a comment but I can see you’ve had some off topic comments so I’ll leave you with this. When it comes to bad sports role models of any color, Michael vick is a lightweight. Some guy named Juice has everyone beat.

Now for a black quarterback to get excited about I like Vince Young. Let’s hope his black hero was Jerry Rice

Comment by Dee Dawning

Michael Vick: The Color Of Anger. . .

A lot of people are angry at Michael Vick about that dog thing. Kind of like they’re mad at O.J. about the wife thing. Barry Bonds and steroid, along with Isaiah Washington and slurs. There’s so much to be mad at, but the color of rage remains the same.

Comment by Hargrove

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