I remember, as do most people, a couple of years ago when Michael Vick was sentenced to prison. I also remember that a lot of the talk about him revolved around him being a brute (beast/monster/animal/Black) who gained pleasure from torturing dogs. The nail in the coffin for Vick was of course his abuse (murder/torture) of animals that Good people cuddled with, instead of the numerous animals that most of americans are cool with killing for pleasure (meat tasting so good and all). It was, of course, many of my fellow herbivores who went nuts with the racialized and brutal imagery.
A 17 year old Black girl from the Bronx is going to jail. She did a horrible thing: baking a cat (yet again if only it had been a chicken). Everyone really dislikes her because Cherry also isn’t remorseful. Do I find it strange that a woman from Levittown would travel to the Bronx to watch a Black person (“monster”) sentenced to prison as if it were an event for celebration. Nope, it actually seems quite in character.
Vick is out of prison (his cage). He’s also working with HSUS to stop dogfighting or something (help his image, reach ‘troubled inner-city youth’). If you look around you notice a lot of things. Vick has been thoroughly pathologized (You hear? He’s a psychopath!). He’s still a monster, just like Cherry. Static, unchanging. It is impossible that he could have possibly changed (because he is a brute/animal, a Cartesian automaton?).
“We are all Michael Vick.” He is humanized by Gary.
Cheyenne Cherry will never be humanized in the press. She is too defiant as she goes to prison. “It’s dead, bitch!” And a sticking out of the tongue. Morally superior folks hate when there is no begging, no remorse. She’s too uppity/rebellious/evil. More ‘sympathy’ if Cheyenne is apologetic (speaks in yessuhs, yessums?).
I grew up in a neighborhood where dog fighting happened. Imagine riding the school bus every day with kids your age who raise dogs to fight each other. I’m still afraid of strange dogs. These kids, my friends and neighbors didn’t think it was a big deal, not any more or less strange than hunting or eating meat. I would also never want these folks, my folks, to be thrown in something as horrible as the prison system.
The celebration of the incarceration of Black bodies is not something I can ever take part in. An animal liberation (rights/welfare/abolition) movement can not attempt to abolish cages for the cute and furry and then celebrate the prison system. I’m tired of cages period. An anti-speciecist politic that doesn’t include prison abolition can never include me.
“How fucking silly can you be, trying to free Willy– motherfucker free me.” — Da Lench Mob