Update: Stanton responds to Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Michael Vick & Junius Ricardo Stanton

I’d long been a fan of Chris Rock. I found his humor to be intelligent, honest, and laugh-out-loud funny. So I was stunned to see this clip of Rock appearing on the Jay Leno Show. The two were discussing an unrelated issue when Leno brought up the injustice of Michael Vick’s treatment. Leno seemed incredulous that one should lose his career and go to jail for two years, simply for “mistreating” a dog.

Mistreat? You call this [warning: graphic image] mistreatment? This is torture of the most extreme kind. And Vick didn’t exact it once, but repeatedly. Tell me, Jay: What should the punishment be for someone who does this?

Rock, for his part, responds by asking what Michael Vick even did and then goes on to assert that Pit Bulls aren’t really dogs.

Do you really need to ask, Chris, what Michael Vick did? Have you really not seen the horrific images nor heard about the electrocution and drowning and beating? Even if Pit Bulls weren’t dogs, what animal should have to endure that?

Jay Leno, I never liked you. Now I loathe you. But Chris Rock, you broke my heart.

Vick… the scapegoat?

My other bone to pick is with you, Julius Ricardo Stanton. Your article offends me on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. I’ll start with the inaccuracies:

Vick had been released from federal prison after serving eighteen months of a two year sentence on charges of cruelty to animals and running an illegal dog fighting gambling operation.

Incorrect. Vick didn’t do a single day for animal cruelty. He served 18 months for bankrolling the gambling operation. Perhaps his debt to society was paid, but as for his victims, there is no justice.

Needless to say many dog lovers were outraged by Vick returning to the NFL… This controversy and the venom spewed against Vick seems totally out of proportion to these people’s lack of indignation concerning so many other current events and issues… There aren’t that many hard core dog lovers out there to warrant the amount of coverage they have given this story.

Wrong again. There are quite a few of us “hard core dog lovers” out here. And while we choose to fight against animal cruelty, you’re right that there’s certainly plenty else to be indignant about – homophobia, racism, misogyny, child abuse. But while you find it amazing that I’m not out there protesting what in your opinion would be a more worthy cause, I find it amazing that there are people out there not protesting anything. Instead, they spend their time defending someone who did sick, sadistic things and has not displayed sincere remorse.

Michael Vick is being used as a scapegoat. In psychology the term scapegoat also denotes projection of guilt or other negative emotions onto an external object or person. In this case the misfortune or behavior of another is the focus of attention which allows those passing judgement on him or her to assume a position of morality and righteousness that is undeserved. In this case Michael Vick becomes the target and recipient of the scorn and animus of white people. This projection of their anger and hatred against Vick allows them to ignore their own transgressions, their inability or unwillingness to address the ills of society and their own personal shortcomings. Instead they rail against Michael Vick the wretched scapegoat. He becomes the object of their displeasure and frustration about whatever is going on in their lives and their uneasiness about themselves.

Believe me, Mr. Stanton, I’m well aware of my transgressions. I’m sickened by the ills of society, and I’m hyper-aware of my personal shortcomings. I am not above judgement – there’s plenty I regret doing and even more I’ve failed to do.

But to suggest that I “rail against Michael Vick” because I’m white and he is black is so ludicrous I can’t begin to understand it. Subjecting anyone to years and years of torture and pain is evil. Unmitigated evil. I would feel precisely the same way whether the perpetrator was white, black, Asian, or a member of my own family. I’m not looking to absolve myself of transgression. I’m simply speaking for those who don’t have a voice.

I’ve said before I don’t think it does any good to continue to harangue Michael Vick. Many have asked why the public continues to go after him. I can only tell you why I do: As long as there are people defending him – or treating animal cruelty like a minor misdemeanor – I will offer a rebuttal.

Animal cruelty is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, Mr. Stanton, and I will be indignant until the day I die.

Stanton’s response:

I’m not surprised by their reaction one bit. As I said white folks love themselves some dogs. Notice none of the detractors who attacked me could deny nor disprove anything I said about the history of dog fighting or how the regional money making operations are usually controlled by whites who profit from the whole system. What pissed most of them off was a black man dared say it and said it well.One even called me arrogant but what he really meant was “uppity” as in, let’s get a rope and string this uppity N____ up. Some are actually surprised that black folks are willing to give Vick a second chance and allow him to earn his living (shucking and jiving for white folks) in the NFL. But that’s another issue altogether. What also pissed them off is that in the over all scheme of things the killings, wars and occupations by the US Empire that I had the audacity to call them on their love for dogs over humanity.