Monday, October 23, 2017
Black People… Where are Our Priorities?
By Jasmyne A. Cannick
Published August 9, 2007

Dogfighting vs. 14 Counts of Child Porn

I have always believed that there are two kinds of people in this world, those that get it and those that don't.

I have carefully watched the media try and turn Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's dogfighting woes into a racial issue by blaming hip-hop and inner-city violence. We just can't win in the hood. As if there aren't dogfights, cockfights, snake fights and more going on in trailer parks around the country that don't involve Blacks. And while hip-hop can be blamed for many of our social issues, I don't think dogfighting is one of them. People were fighting dogs long before Snoop Doggy Dog and DMX came along.

Then there's the strange unwavering support for Vick from Black organizations to the point that they've held press conferences condemning his treatment in the media and asking people not to be to quick to judge him and that we must remember Vick is innocent until proven guilty.

Normally, I wouldn't have anything to say about their support of Vick. I am not in the camp of people that think that dogfighting deserves this much of our attention. Sure it's not pretty and for the most part is horrific, but it's not the worst thing Vick could be charged with, try on 14 counts of child pornography and having sex with an under age minor.

Enter the Black phenomenon R&B singer R. Kelly. Set to begin his long overdue trial next month on 14 counts of possessing child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl prosecutors have said could be as young as 13, you wouldn't know it the way his albums are still flying off shelves and Black people are still bumping his music.

So what does R. Kelly have to do with Michael Vick?

While traditional Black organizations have been quick to jump to Vick's defense, for the most part they've said nothing on Kelly.

Last time I checked a dog was not human, but a 13-year-old girl was. And regardless as to whether or not she willingly engaged in the act, she was the minor and he was the adult. That's really the bottom line. And most of us saw that video over the Internet or bought it on the street somewhere, so we can't act like that wasn't R. Kelly. Unless you support this type of behavior you should be as shocked and appalled as I am at the silence from our organizations on it.

But tell me this. Would Black America still be looking the other way and steppin' from side-to-side to Kelly's beats and acting as if nothing had happened had he been accused of sleeping with a 13-year-old boy? Would he still get nominations for Image Awards and sell out concerts from coast-to-coast? I think not because while we're willing to look the other way when it comes to young girls (as if they don't matter at all), we get our panties in a bunch when it comes to anything gay and immediately try and distance ourselves from it.

Well we can't be hollering one minute that Black women are queens and are to be respected and protected and then turnaround and cast a blind eye towards R. Kelly, but want to be quick to jump to the defense of people like Michael Vick and Barry Bonds. Well, you can't if you expect to be taken seriously.

As I said before, prosecuting dogfighters is not high on my list priorities. I mean if we're going to throw the book at Vick at the same time we need to be raiding trailer parks from coast to coast where similar fights are staged and bet on. However, I am more interested in prosecuting grown ass men who get their rocks off on young under age girls, regardless of whether or not they are music icons.

When we don't jump to the defense of young girls in these types of situations, we send a clear message that they're lives aren't as important as others.

I have always believed that there are two kinds of people in this world, those that get it and those that don't. Which one are you?

Jasmyne Cannick n is a nationally syndicated pop culture, race, and social critic…and she blogs too! She can be reached at or

Categories: Opinion

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