ESPN has a fantastic article about the history of racial injustice in the South, and how it’s influencing opinions about Michael Vick’s alleged dogfighting.

“You would think that Michael Vick is the largest criminal this country has ever encountered, by the media play,” [prominent 1960s civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy] says. “The way they have portrayed this, you would think he’s guilty until proven innocent because now it’s his goal and his responsibility to convince America that he’s innocent.”

Kwame, 36, reluctantly paraphrases Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, not exactly a favorite of most African-Americans: “It’s an electronic lynching.”

I’m an “animal person”. I have horses, dogs, and cats – one dog who is paralyzed, and two kittens recovering from a dog attack suffered out at the farm. I have little sympathy for people who abuse animals (or anyone/thing unable to stand up for themselves). The information presented in the press does not look promising for Vick; nor do his excuses and protestations. But the African-American community is right – Vick is innocent until proven guilty, and deserves his day in court to face the accusations leveled against him. In fact, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove Vick’s guilt.

Frankly, I can’t blame them for believing that skin color impacts due process in America. It’s historically true, and appears to still be true. African-Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate whites are incarcerated, and three times the rate of Latinos.

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