Personally, I try to avoid talking about pit bulls.
The reason: Emotions run high; you never know when you’re dealing with a devoted proponent.
In my experience, activists are quite convicted; and they’re typically incensed over unfair messaging in the media.
If you happen to be a promoter of the pet, this story might stroke you right.
Per Campus Reform, academics in defense of the oft-maligned mammal have a curious charge against the act of being anti-.
And it’s arguably the most effective angle of our time.
As it turns out, being pitted against pit bulls is perhaps…racist.
According to its website, non-profit Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) is “dedicated to securing equal treatment and opportunity for ‘pit bull’ dogs and their owners.”
In October, 2019, the organization offered “No, ‘Pit Bull’ Dogs Don’t Lock Their Jaws, and Other Mythbusters.”
Among issues addressed:
- They bite differently, don’t they?
- Don’t they attack without warning?
- Aren’t they more likely to injure humans or other dogs?
In case you’re wondering:
The American Veterinary Medical Association says:
“Controlled studies have not identified this breed group (pit bull-type dogs) as disproportionately dangerous.”
If that doesn’t open your heart to the controversial canine, how about not wanting to be a bigot?
AFF’s launched a new campaign to fight “exclusionary dog breed restrictions in the housing insurance industry.”
Via a press release, AFF Executive Director Stacey Coleman laments, “People often find out too late about dog breed restrictions, leaving them with the stark, difficult choice: Either go underinsured, uninsured, or end their relationship with their beloved pet.”
But the problem’s more pernicious than it appears:
These restrictions are often used as a way to discriminate against individuals based on their class or race.
“[The] practice,” AFF asserts, “is reflective of a history of racism in the insurance industry. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the industry’s regulatory and standards oversight agency, made a commitment to address racist and discriminatory underwriting practices, admitting ‘racial discrimination has been part of the insurance sector landscape for more than 250 years.’ Yet this practice persists.”
Just ask Ann Linder, a Legislative Policy Fellow with Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Program.
“Dog breed-restrictions in the insurance industry are steeped in discrimination against the people society associates with the targeted dogs,” Ann explains. “In many areas of the country, this means lower-income Black and Brown people.”
As stated by AFF, that report “discussed how ‘pit bull’ dogs became associated with gang violence by urban youths, as well as the hip-hop music scene. ”
She also reported the results of a study by (Emory University assoicate professor of philosophy) Erin Tarver, The Dangerous Individual(’s) Dog: Race, Criminality and the ‘Pit Bull,’ showing that “pit bull” dogs were perceived as most commonly belonging to people of color–specifically, young, Black males.
As of late, bigotry’s being leveled rather ubiquitously.
No issue’s safe — and no organism:
Back to pit bulls, Harlan Weaver — a Kansas State University professor of gender, women and sexuality studies — is all about fighting rover-ish racism.
Campus Reform recalls a fall talk at Lafayette College:
Weaver began his talk by stating that “stigma” aimed at “communities of color” posed a threat to pit bulls, stating that “tacit heteronormative whiteness” is not good for the dogs. According to him, America is “presenting injustices faced by pit bulls as like racism by appropriating the rhetoric and often the effects or emotions associated with race related social justice issues.”
Why are so many pit bulls in shelters?
As stated by Harlan, it’s “pervasive racism and misogyny.”
Hopefully, we’re headed for a day when dogs will be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Back to the question of whether pit bulls are dangerous: For what it’s worth, according to Forbes, from 2005 to 2017, of 430 fatal attacks on humans, 284 came courtesy of pits.
In 2nd place: rottweilers, at 45.
I’m sure pit bull lovers will have a lot to say about that.
For the rest of you, if the breed doesn’t exactly make your tail wag…please don’t let your dogma be due to racism.
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