August 24, 2007

Jamie Foxx Defends the Indefensible

In an Access Hollywood interview, Jamie Foxx defended Michael Vick's federal dog-fighting and dog-torturing charges by saying,

“It’s a cultural thing, I think. Most brothers didn’t know that, you know. I used to see dogs fighting in the neighborhood all the time. I didn’t know that was Fed time. So, Mike probably just didn’t read his handbook on what not to do as a black star. I know that cruelty to animals is bad, but sometimes people shoot people and kill people and don’t get time. I think in this situation, he really didn’t know the extent of it, so I always give him the benefit of the doubt.”
What I want to know is, since when is extreme cruelty to animals a "cultural thing"? Are Vick and Foxx so lacking in common sense that they don't know that running a dog-fighting operation is morally repugnant? How can you watch dogs rip each other apart, or kill a dog by electrocuting it or slamming its body into the concrete and not "know the extent of it"? How is that acceptable behavior by any human being? If I were a black American, I would take great offense at having that kind of psychopathic behavior attributed to my "culture."

What's really disturbing about Foxx's remarks is that for centuries, white Americans used similar reasoning to excuse their cruel and degrading treatment of black people. "Oh, my granddaddy was taught that black people were only three-fifths of a person, so he just didn't know any better." Or, "The overseer was the one who punished the slaves who didn't work hard enough or tried to run away. My granddaddy didn't know the extent of it." Just because someone else is worse than you are doesn't excuse your bad behavior. Every person has an obligation to educate themselves and pay attention to their moral compass. If you don't have one, then you probably should be in a mental hospital or in jail.