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Don't feed the stereotype

I believe Pit Bulls are inherently good. I believe there are too many irresponsible owners, too many dog fighting rings, too many backyard breeders, and too many people feeding into a false stereotype. I believe through educating, advocating, and training, the Pit Bull breed can be saved.


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Don't Feed The Stereotype

April 22, 2019

 “Type in Google, dog fighters. 80% of the images are black. That means black men are the majority of dog fighters.” This is the stance a committed Instagram user took to justify their opposition to my book, Color of my Breed. Before this comment, the user who is to remain nameless, stated white men don’t buy and fight Pit Bulls. Another comment that did not sit well with me.

To some people, I am someone who has become ‘woke’ all of sudden. To others, I am a nuisance--a pain in the ass, yelling and crying for something people that look like me don’t deserve; equity.

I am a dog trainer, but not your average dog trainer. I graduated from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, before starting my own company, Mt. Olympus Animal Services. Through my company, I train, educate and advocate. I give you this small bit of background because there may be some readers attempting to discredit my relevance. My relevance to speak on the subject of this article.

I began Mt. Olympus Animal Services, with one breed in mind--the Pit Bull. Why the Pit Bull? The Pit Bull endures the same battle Black men like myself do in the United States. The Pit Bull in many ways is the spirit animal of the Black community. Pit Bulls and Black men alike are made to be seen as a danger to society. Black men are violent, drug dealers, and gang members. Pit Bulls are dangerous, violent, and owned by a majority of black men involved in crime. Both being portrayed as innately bad and dangerous. There is something in us that makes us do what we do.

These are all stereotypes, false stereotypes used to persuade a gullible audience into a not so hidden agenda against Black men. A deep issue of racial prejudice towards Black men portrayed onto our Pit Bulls. This is why I wrote Color of my Breed. I wrote my first book to end feeding into stereotypes that are getting men like me murdered in the streets by badges. I wrote my first book to end feeding into the stereotypes that are having our Pit Bulls banned and killed.

Again, I am not your average dog trainer. I am no Shaun King. I recognize we all have our lanes to make a difference. I was born in Boston, ‘OFD’, originally from Dorchester. There I saw much animal abuse, violence, gangs, and a high police presence.

I not only fight for our Pit Bulls, but I fight to end the stereotypes against our Black men. You see because not every black man is in a gang or is violent--and to judge an entire race in such a way, is criminal. We are not a threat. We are not dangerous. Pit Bulls suffer because our Black men suffer.

Much of the opposition for my book, greatly outweighed by the overwhelming support, has been that race has nothing at all to do with why Pit Bulls are being banned and portrayed the way they are. Race isn’t everything. I beg to differ. You would have to go back to the 1980s’ to see where it all began.

My experience in life, like many Black men, is much the opposite to our white counterparts. In 1986, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was passed which many considered the ‘War on Drugs’, but to Black men, it was the war on us. Black men were being targeted and sentenced to prison for longer terms when being caught with the same amount of crack as white Americans with cocaine. People of color were being racially profiled, targeted, and arrested on just the slightest of suspicions of drug use. A year later, Sports Illustrated published a story featuring the image of a Pit Bull snarling, with the caption--’Beware of this Dog’. When the war on our Black men began in the form of biased, legal enforcement-- the war on our dogs also began. You cannot ignore the correlation.

I am a Black man. A Black, dog trainer and Pit Bull owner. This is why I have chosen the path to fight for our Pit Bulls. I recognize there are many well-known organizations out there advocating for Pit Bulls tirelessly. I truly do support them, but these same organizations advocate and protest at the abuse of Pit Bulls & remain silent when an unarmed Black man is murdered in the streets at the hands of our police force. They remain silent when black teenagers are beaten in the streets at the hands of our police officers, sworn to protect all.

I am a Black man. My dog is a Pit Bull, not a ‘pibble’. Who we are should be recognized and celebrated, not hidden to avoid any stigmas or stereotypes. By running away from the stigmas, you are feeding into the stereotypes. Feeding into the stereotypes that Black men like myself are dangerous--that Pit Bulls owned by Black men are dangerous. There is nothing wrong with the name Pit Bull, the problem is, however, people feeding into false stereotypes and presenting false narratives.

Stereotypes and those that feed into them are a danger to society. They are a danger to our Black men and a danger to our Pit Bulls. Don’t feed the stereotype!