Animalistic! Not All Animals Are Equal

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

Animal Rights activist David Valentin in “African Americans' Share Struggles With Animal Rights Groups,” which was his response to Robert Fleming’s "Cheyenne Cherry Troubled But No 'Monster,'" July 28, 2009,, claims that Fleming was “divisive,” and “created more obstacles between two groups, which should be working together.” 

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But what Mr. Valentin should tell us is: why those so outraged by the torture or killing of animals are yet so silent when it comes to the torture and killing of Black people in America?

Valentin tells us that Fleming’s article is “divisive” yet he fails to provide the proof to support his twisted reasoning. In fact, Fleming’s piece was nuanced, thoughtful and well reasoned. He agreed that Cherry was a “very troubled young Black girl.” 

Is it the argument that Cherry’s redeemable that Valentin, and others who have responded with vicious and abusive attacks against Fleming disagrees with? Doesn’t he care about the social conditions that create numerous anti-social kids—Black and White—like Cherry? Or is it that Fleming points out salient facts about the racial disparity in America’s injustice system?

Perhaps, the most truthful thing Valentin said is “Atrocities are allowed to continue in the darkness of ignorance.” White America’s ignorance of the serial torture and murder of Blacks during the lynching era has now morphed into state sanctioned murder.

Blacks are a mere 12 to 15 percent of the American population, but they account for 42 percent of those on Death Row--they certainly don't commit 42 percent of the violent crimes punishable by execution. Doesn’t Valentin and his animal lovers care about the murder of Blacks by the government? Is that less outrageous to their sense of right and wrong?

Valentin also opines “Because animals do not have the intelligence and legal rights that most Americans now have, they are treated with callous and disregard.” What about the “legal rights” of Blacks sir?  Aren’t Blacks “treated with callous and disregard” worse than animals in American society? Or is this statement your excuse for the widespread silence and apathy White America exhibits regarding the atrocities Blacks face daily in this hypocritical society?

The self-righteous activists at PETA and the Humane Society rail about the injustice of killing animals. During the Michael Vick case these moralizing groups were out in full force demanding that Vick be punished.

Here are a couple of questions for them: where are they when Black men are being shot down worse than dogs in the streets by either 41 shots, as with Amadou Diallo, or 50 shots, as with Sean Bell? If the Humane Society is so “humane” and if the people over at PETA are so “ethical” where were they when Diallo’s and Bell’s executioners were let off scot-free? Where are the lovely commercials asking for funding to support the fight against racial brutality?

What’s good for the goose is not good for Black human beings?

Valentin states that “On July 15, 2009, animal rights protestors --I was there-- were attempting to persuade the Assistant District Attorney to treat this case with care.” Valentin did you or any of you animal rights activist friends decide to do likewise during the Abner Louima Trial; after it was clear he was sodomized and tortured? 

Many are now squawking about Cherry being a “monster.” The amazing thing here—given America’s history of torturing and murdering Black people—is that more Blacks don’t become serial monsters like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, whose main victims were, ironically, Black people.

Now, I’m not implying that torturing and killing animals is alright. It isn’t. But there’s a jive, phoniness here that by Valentin that’s unacceptable. Here’s hypocrisy; many of these same moral crusaders fill their bellies every day with slaughtered animals.  I guess killing an animal for food doesn’t bother them as much.

Valentin’s statement about the “common goals between African American and Animal Rights advocates” shows a stunningly breathtaking obtuseness. First of all, whether Valentin realizes it or not, he seems to be equating fighting for the rights –and lives-- of Black people with those of animals. People are the highest form of animals on the face of the earth. So, does Valentin really think that animal cruelty can be stopped while cruelty among humans is allowed to run rampant?

If Valentin and his compatriots want to stop cruelty against animals, then start by fighting atrocities that people do to other people.

Instead of castigating Fleming, you should have listened to the relevancy of his message. For, truthfully, in America, Black people face more cruelty than any living thing therein.  If America really wants a more “humane society” White America must stand up and fight brutality, especially as it relates to Blacks.

After we’ve succeeded there, then maybe we can stop animal cruelty.


Benjamin is a member of The Black Star News’s Editorial Board

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