Friday, August 14, 2009

Are Black People Too Forgiving?

So I haven't blogged in apparently over a year, but I was 'inspired' by some current events, particularly, the Mike Vick situation and the range of reactions to it. (Who knows, maybe I'll start blogging again?)

While I would like to say that I'm surprised by the reactions to Vick's reinstatement and how they appear to be, in a lot of ways, split by race, I'm not. Historically, us Black folks have been quick to forgive other Black folks that others have denigrated. The easiest way to look at this is to say that we forgive because Vick, O.J., Marion Barry, etc. are Black, but I think it's a lot more than that. That is not to say that race doesn't play a part, and anyone who thinks otherwise would be misguided in my opinion, but in many ways we feel a connection to those that are looked down upon. It's very difficult for me to look at the Vick signing and people's reactions and not feel that they would be different if he wasn't a Black male. And for that reason, it's easier for me to forgive him. This is not to say that I condone what he did, but I can see that he served his debt to society and that he deserves to make a living doing what he does best.

What I find ironic/interesting is that the people who are against him keep saying that he doesn't deserve a second chance. Here is a man, that destroyed his reputation, lost countless millions, may have destroyed his career and yet people want to take more from him? What more does he need to do? And if you say that he needs to feel what the dogs felt, how are you any better? I heard one person on a Philly radio station say something to the effect of "besides going to jail, what has Vick done to show he should have a second chance?" That blew my mind. As if going to jail isn't that big a deal, and he should be castrated or something to show everyone that he's the contrite Negro and he's oh so sorry.
These are the same people that were saying he wasn't humane?

What I won't do here is defend his actions, or even bring up the argument that "it was just dogs" and that there are players in the league that have killed people, but I will say that I'm glad he got a second chance because I do feel a connection to him. I feel like I've been there with him. That I've been looked down on for whatever reason, and I would love to believe that at the end of the day, I could get a second chance. That I live in a country where it is possible for young Black male to make a mistake and not have it be held against him for the rest of his life.

I would like to think that people would use this as a way to see what it's like to be 'young, gifted and black' and how difficult it can be. Maybe I'm reaching too much with this, and maybe it's not that serious and has nothing to do with race. But when much of your life has been affected by race, it's hard to not see things in shades of Black and White. And if this offends you, I'd be curious as to why that is. Do you honestly think that race doesn't matter? I'd be curious to hear why not. (and please don't say Obama)

Anyway, something to think about. I will say this though, I hope that this Vick situation brings up more dialogue because there are too many things not being said in this discussion and that's a problem.