Pitt Bulls & thier Parallels with Black People
I’ve always been a believer that the breed and personality of a dog can reflect the essence of their owner. Additionally, dogs don’t just compliment image, they can also be a practical component to your environment or lifestyle. Furthermore my philosophy is a dog can’t eat (in my house) for free. Basically, “do something”: bark, patrol, retrieve a duck, win a race, find somebody, chase cats, rats or detour raccoons and robbers…something. This is how I see dogs. Plus where I come from the Bichon Frise wasn’t too popular and the homes in my hood didn’t exude the elegance of Afghans and it's easy to see why.
On that note, I grew up in an exotic part of the western hemisphere that was more heard of than visited. The environment consisted of trees, concrete, broken glass and steel. To say the least, if you lived in Oakland, versatility in your dog was a plus. And from what I learned and witnessed, the "practical" dog of choice was the ghetto bred Pit Bull…
Now when I say "ghetto bred," I mean just like how my African-American brothas and sistas born here in the United Ghettos of America can have green eyes and/or yellow skin. In similar light, the present day Pit Bull can look like anything ranging in an array of patterns and colors from black to red to faun, to brindle and even blue. Size wise, a pit bull can range in weight from 25-120 lbs and it will still be considered a “Pit Bull.” Again, like us, the Pit Bull can come in all flavors.
Historically, just like the present day African-American, the Pit Bull did not originate here in the United Ghettos of America. Like us Black folk we share a transatlantic voyage which ultimately landed us here in North America.
Much like the African slaves, Pit Bulls have been selectively breed for performance and stature. The result of which has marked the Pit Bull as one of the most agile, strongest, and more intelligent dogs in the K9 world. This ain't about fighting dogs. No, it's all about survival and adjustment.
Amongst the African-American population, much of the above qualities are mirrored in the world of sports, science, business and entertainment. Either that or it's just a coincidence that African-American excel in Science, Business, Sports and Entertainment. Let's keep it real--not to belittle the African-American woman contribution or image--the whole world has its' eye on African-American men. Despite our challenges and failures, the globe waits on edge to see our next move to either witness it or copy.
When we came to this country, we had to overcome many factors rooted in foul stereotypes, hatred, and overall racism. Since then we have made a word-wide distinct reputation for ourselves as winners, thinkers, and entrepreneurs...and a brotha just won a gold medal in the winter Olympics HELLO?!?!!!!
The same can be said about Pit Bulls and their image battle with the media. The history of the breed's origin as fighting dogs doesn't lend to help the Pit Bull come off as a humane pet. But contrary to myth, they truly are.
The most notable trait about the Pit Bull breed is their loyalty to their families. Not only have I had the pleasure to have a Pit Bull as a pet/family member, I've seen them from afar as central family members in other households...
When my son was a newborn, I remember the family Pit was forever restless whenever he cried. She'd sleep at the foot of my son's bed and if he stirred, the dog would come get our attention and look at us like, "You better do something." And don't get too loud in a heated conversation because the dog will get in the middle and growl as to say, "I'm sick of this shit. Shut up!" Pit Bulls are like wise elders that just want to keep the peace.
Personally, I'm irritated that the media continues to choose to focus on the horrific episodes related to Pit Bulls and people. Especially since I know these dogs to be loyal lovers of humans. And when I think about it, I've never been bitten or chased by a Pit Bull. I can't say the same about Dalmatians and German Shepards (which give me the creeps in the form of Black and White nightmares gushing water hoses at full blast...)
Yes, Pit Bulls are very powerful dogs that--like many dogs--come from a very
strong line of dog fighting. If in the wrong hands, the temperament of
these dogs can be manipulated. By no means are these
dogs people-haters or people-eaters. Their natural aggressive
tendencies are toward other dogs and animals, not people. However if
they are properly socialized they will not even be aggressive with
them. These are truly quality companions for quality owners only! Unfortunately,
the media has honed in on their powerful, physical K9 abilities and the
horrible mishaps of careless and ignorant owners causing the general public to place an unfair stigma on Pit Bulls.
(Interestingly enough I've noticed a surge in White Pit Bull owners over the last decade or so. I kinda relate it to the whole White Black adoption thing)...
Yet and still, the Pit Bull remains as a prevalent loved breed of choice amongst Black families. I'd like to think that there is some relatable trait linked to survival and adaptability that keeps Black people and Pit Bulls in the same company--like kin.
Like Black folk do, we live on (with our dogs) knowing the truth about our place in history and
contribution to society. We overcome the barriers that society may place before us. In other words, even though there is a misleading
proportion of African-Americans behind bars, we aren’t all
bad apples and I can’t say that all or even most of us behind bars are bad
apples either. Perhaps much of our incarceration can be attributed to environmental factors; drugs,
historical racism, or the lack of education, unemployment, culture, housing… Feel me?
For the most part, people who are not familiar with the Pit Bull breed might be quick to call them "monsters" or "killers" much like the stereo-types that have been placed on Black people... But to the owners of Pitt bulls and friends and Family members of Black people, we know better.
If given a loving environment, like most people and domestic animals, the true nature as intelligent and loyal companions will be revealed. I'm saying, a mere blog can't do justice for a dog who is always happy to see you (I can't even say that about people). In many ways I'm thankful that I was lucky enuff to experience the greatness of Pit Bulls through my mother's companion for the last 10 years.
...Now whether a breed and history of dog can represent a race of people might be pure opinion. I'm just giving you mine....
Lastly, if Heaven's got a ghetto, I look forward to walking him down streets paved with gold when I get there.
Thanks for blessing us and NEVER letting me down.