Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Myth of the "Vick Divide"
When they booed Terrence Moore, I wasn't surprised. The moment they booed a spokesperson for The Humane Society, I knew they were crazy.
I knew this, and I felt sorry for the majority of black Atlantans. I know many, and I know they don't think like the Vick apologists. They don't draw comparisons between Bill Belichick videotaping other team's defensive signals, and dogfighting. (Yes, someone actually did that last night) They don't shout down people trying to make valid points, and they don't think Michael Vick got a raw deal.
Still - ESPN has to advance their point of view - that Atlanta is a city comprised of thugs and rednecks, surrounded by apathetic (perhaps secretly racist) suburbanites.
What they don't know, and don't want to take the time to know, is that the discussions that took place on stage, amongst Terrence Moore, Neal Boortz, and Chuck Smith (Terrence Mathis The New York Times' Selena Roberts offered little useful to the discussion), happen at restaurants, offices, and in the media of this city every day.
That is to say - people of different races and backgrounds having a reasonable discussion about what went wrong with Michael Vick - not placing blame on the Federal Government for doing their job, and not claiming that Vick was unfairly targetted because he was/is a black athlete.
These are the black people I know - they are educated, middle class, and think Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and The NAACP are as much of a joke as I do. Until I lived in this city, everything I saw on TV and in print media led me to believe that those racists spoke for all blacks. The media still wants us to believe that the average Southern white is an unintelligent bigot. In their eyes, whether it be the War, Civil Rights, or politics in general, they still wish it was 1967.
Another myth perpetuated by Roberts, the token member of the New York Intelligentsia (can't have a Town Hall meeting without one of them) is that dogfighting is a Rural Southern past-time. Chicago, in fact, has a bigger problem with dogfighting than anywhere down here. Since that doesn't advance ESPN's POV that Atlanta is not only a bad sports town, but backwards, it's not included in the discussion.
Let's also not forget that Michael Vick was tried, and convicted, in Virginia...not Atlanta. Somehow, though, they saw fit to bring their dog and pony show to "The City Too Busy To Hate", and invite the most obnoxious, unreasonable Vick fans to the party.
This city has moved on, this city did not begin to teeter on the brink of anarchy because of this case, and this city (well, most of it) understands that what Michael Vick was doing - supporting illegal gambling, evading taxes, and financially backing an interstate dogfighting ring, puts him on equal footing with any other organized crime boss in this country.
Ultimately, that's what he was.