Pit Bull Prejudice

I was just having a conversation with someone the other day and they mentioned that there was a man who was attacked by a Pit Bull in their neighborhood.  They said no one should have a Pit Bull because they are just aggressive violent dogs and we should get rid of them.

I couldn’t really believe that someone would say that about a dog and I realize that a lot of people hate Pit Bulls and similar dogs like Rottweilers, laboring under the misconception that they are just naturally mean, aggressive, violent dogs out to kill.  That is so far from the truth.

First of all, I know people see Pit Bulls and dogs like that always getting rescued from dog fighting operations and then they have to put the animal down because they are too mean.  If you are trained to kill, then you will kill, simple as that. The owner has ruined them by training them to be like this and abusing them.  They are beaten and live in horrible conditions.  That’s not the dog’s fault.

Not only that, I believe one of the reasons you see Pit Bulls and Rottweilers and Dobermans in dog fighting operations is because they are a very scary looking dog.   They are stocky and hard muscle and look very intimidating!  The building manager at my office used to have a Rottweiler and I swear, it was the size of a horse and solid muscle.  It was absolutely terrifying to look at.  Can you imagine being afraid of a Collie or Yorkie or a Labrador in a dog fighting ring?  Those dogs don’t look as intimidating.

Pit Bulls might be genetically more likely to be a more aggressive however, you can say the same about people.  It is now believe that you can be genetically predisposed to addictions or violence, so do those people not deserve to be loved because of their genetic predisposition?  Let’s say there is a child whose family has a predisposition to violence, whether that is domestic abuse or a temper.  Theoretically, that child should have same tendency to violent behavior, but if he/she is taken out of that environment and raised in a loving one, they will most likely be loving.  Same with a dog, if the owner raises the dog right, teaches him/her what and what not to do, and love them, then the dog will be loving.  Don’t think that an entire breed of dog is useless and doesn’t deserve any love because people raise them to be violent.

This is also just creating stereotypes.  That’s like saying well all Puerto Ricans carry knives and stab people, so then naturally you should stay away from me and all other Puerto Ricans because we’ll stab you or like saying all Irish people are angry drunks, so once again stay away from me since I’m Irish and Puerto Rican.  Reading these statements, you’re probably thinking, “That is so ridiculous!”  Why is judging a person different from judging an animal?  You can’t just hate an entire group of people OR animals based on stereotypes or no one in this world would like each other.

I have also just learned that some people believe that they have the ability to lock their jaw so you can’t get them off if they bite.  That cannot be farther from the trust.  Why would Pit Bulls be the only dog with this ability?  Not only that, if ANY dog bites you, good luck in prying its jaws open.  If a Labrador or Great Dane or any medium to large dog decides to bite you, the bite force is something your hands can’t compete with.  You might have a chance if it’s a little dog, but no way with a medium/large one.

Click here for a fantastic article on Pit Bulls.  They were actually ranked second on a temperance scale.  They explain more about that in this article.  Just as we teach our children not to judge people by their background or what they look like or stereotypes associated with them, we should listen to what we say and not judge an animal for, in most cases, the faults of their owner.  These misconceptions are one reason that Pit Bulls are less likely to be adopted and more likely to be euthanized.  So don’t judge a book by its cover, there will always be dogs of any breed that are bad dogs just like there are bad people.  I mentioned that Rottweiler that the building manager owes, the one that is terrifying to look at, she was the sweetest dog in the world.  She was never on a leash because she was so well trained she’d sit outside of the office doors until the manager came out and they continued their rounds.  This dog couldn’t even kill a squirrel.

It just breaks my heart to think that so many of these beautiful dogs who are loving never find a home because of these fears that aren’t always true.  If you are looking for a dog to adopt, don’t completely turn away from a Pit Bull.  If you love them, they’ll love you back.


Family Stories

We were reading a poem form a Cuban poet, Nicolás Guillén, specifically Ballad de los Dos Abuelos.  This was about his grandparents, not specifically his direct grandparents, but his heritage, how his one side was from Spain and the other from Africa.  During the conquista there were three levels of race.  Spaniards were at the top, the indigenous people of whatever country they were in were second and Africans were third.

This poem reminded me of a story that my Abuelo told my sister and I.  My Abuelo (grandfather) is dark-skinned, and by that I mean he looks tan.  Contrary to popular belief, not all Hispanics have dark hair and tan skin, some are black because they have more blood from Africans that were brought over from the slave trade, some are blonde with blue eyes, some red hair with green eyes, some are whiter than I am!  His father’s brother, Tío Pepe was light-skinned.  One day he asked Tío where his dark skin came from.  Tío responded without missing a beat “It comes from your dirty mother’s side”.  Now that sounds very mean and racist but also keep in mind the time period too, he was older than my Abuelo who is my grandfather.  Especially then the light Castilian skin was preferred over the tan “indigenous” skin.

My Abuelo laughs as this story now, but I’m assuming this upset him when he was younger.  He never mentioned any other problems with race, with his more Castilian looking father and his “dark-skinned” mother.  It’s just something strange to me.  I can obviously grasp the concept or racism, however, growing up in the U.S. and learning our history, it’s easier understanding against Hispanics or African Americans or Women, not within Hispanics you know?  Especially since in the U.S. people want to be tan looking!  One day I do want to do a DNA test with my Abuelo.  I know for sure we are Castilian, our last name is from Castilian royal family! lol Our last name is like Jones in PR, but it’s still interesting!  Our dark skin most likely comes from the Taíno people, who were indigenous to the island, maybe even a bit from Africa.

Abuelo never spoke poorly of Tío Pepe, he was just a grumpy old man, lol and I wish I could have met him.  He’d tell another story about when my Aunt (Abuelo’s daughter) and her husband went down to Puerto Rico.  Now Tío Pepe doesn’t speak English and my Aunt’s husband doesn’t speak any Spanish other that “cerveza fria” (cold beer).  Even with these language barriers, apparently these two would sit on the back porch for hours, talking in two different languages that neither understood.

Another interesting story about how times have changed is when my grandparents bought their house in the 1960’s.  My grandmother is white and my Abuelo is Puerto Rican.  When they bought the house, which was built in 1929, the deed said “For sale to Caucasians only” and this was because they didn’t want any African Americans moving into the area, it was segregated! That idea is so weird now since we have laws that are supposed to protect against that discrimination.

However, Hispanic is not a race like Black, White, Pacific Islander, etc. but it is ethnicity because Hispanics blood is from Africans, Native from whatever country was taken over and Spaniards who are considered Caucasian.  On my Abuelo’s army records from when he served in Korea (yes PR’s were included in all American wars since WWI, we were also included in the draft) it stated he was a Caucasian and that was why they were allowed to purchase the house.  Then when more of his brothers moved to the states, he built the entire second floor with them, no extra help.

I thought I’d write about something different since I’ve been working with Human Trafficking so much.  Sometimes you need a break from topics like that.  My family is full of really incredible stories and my grandparents have lived through so much and have seen so much that I’ll never experience, even living on a farm in PR or in Wisconsin.  Do you have any interesting stories about your family?

Super Bowl

If you live in the United States you know Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend.  Really if you live even in a neighboring country you can probably hear the cheers from across the border for the Super Bowl, they might be loud enough to hear across the ocean!  I’m not a football fan, but even I have been to Super Bowl parties and join in the festivities!  My sister and I also love to watch the Puppy Bowl on animal planet when we’re home, lol.

With any large event like this, there are always human rights violations.  Even with the Olympics, there are massive human rights violations.  This year I am participating in a social media campaign against Human Trafficking during the Super Bowl.  Prostitution is a massive problem and women are brought to where the game is held to be sold and used for sex.  According to Shared Hope International, “during the Super Bowl in Miami 3 years ago, 10,000 prostituted women were brought into the city to be trafficked”.

I read this great quote, “let’s stop reading statistics and let’s start changing them”,  This is a great place to start, so easy, the ability to share this information is at your fingertips.

This campaign is focused on spreading the word.  Yes this is a fun event and should be enjoyed but people also have to remember what goes on at these events aren’t always positive.  If you tell yourself that you can do nothing so why think about it, just imagine if every one thought like that, if everyone believed that they should do nothing because it won’t make a difference.  We wouldn’t have some of these amazing organizations we have, children wouldn’t be rescued from abusive homes, men and women wouldn’t be saved from trafficking, there would be no aid for lesser developed countries.  Don’t put limits on the positivity you can bring to the world.

This campaign is not about boycotting the game, instead, throughout the Super Bowl, Shared Hope International and the Defenders USA (which is a part of Shared Hope International, a coalition of men that fight human trafficking) will be posting information on Facebook and tweeting information to be re-tweeted and re-posted.  During the Super Bowl last year there were “12.2 million posts on social networking sites” (Shared Hope International).  Imagine if you were posting during the game and you just hit one button to re-tweet or re-post information, information to fight Human Trafficking, an awful by-product of this event.  While you are loving the game and every minute, there are thousands of women and children being used in the sex industry.

I have joined this event on Facebook.  The link is here.  You have to be logged in to Facebook to access it.  The title is “Super Bowl Media Activism:Human Trafficking.  The Facebook for the Defenders USA is here.  The Facebook for Shared Hope International is here. For just a little more information, here is a video from WAR (Women at Risk) International about human trafficking (Click here).

Take two seconds, join our campaign and during the game to re-post or re-tweet something, one post or every single one.  This is something that affects us all.  Imagine if it was your mother, sister, daughter or son, brother or father who was kidnapped or sold and forced into the sex industry.  These are family members, loved ones.  Enjoy your day, have fun at your Super Bowl parties with friends and family, but just remember and think about the other side of that joy, spreading information only takes a few seconds.

“Let’s stop reading statistics and start changing them”