Do Animals Possess Rights We Are Bound To Respect…And Should A Nigga Care?!

By Maxjulian

July 29, 2008

Category: Uncategorized


Whenever animal rights activists compared the treatment of blacks to the abuse suffered by animals, I balked.

I was not alone. Many black folks find the comparison an insult. How dare you mention black people in the same sentence with fur or a chicken or a cow being led to slaughter.

It feels reductive to compare people to animals because…we are more than that. We can think. We can speak. We have feelings.

Was the first dehumanizing act of “mankind” to reduce animals to “things”, to set them beneath us, to claim that they are soul-less, emotionless tools granted by God – here to provide us with their labor, their hides, their flesh?

Does that act run in a straight line to the domestication of women, to the enslavement of people of color, to the African and Jewish Holocausts (“Eternal Treblinka“), to all of the organized brutality man heaps upon man, woman, child and planet? Could it be that the seeds of global oppression, the idea of a hierarchical order that has the divine right to call the shots for the planet, sprouted once man claimed himself separate from and better than animals while claiming dominion over them?

This is not territory that I envisioned trodding. I’m the last nigga that believed in giving animals an even break if I gave any thought to animals at all. But today, at this moment, I see the unity of oppressions.

There is no question that the “spiritual vivisection” of humanity, begun by Plato and his cronies, their crazed belief in “rationality”, hierarchy, in the ‘philosopher king,” their cleaving of the brain from the body and spirit, their creation of a profane, analytic, abstractive monster (this according to Marimba Ani in her brilliant “Yurugu”)….this is why we are the way that we are.

We are the soul-less, conscienceless monster that we decry. Its not the shark that is vicious – it is you. It is not the black slave that is vicious – it is you. It is not the whore who deserves what’s coming to her – it is you. It is the culture and its people who make a folly of the Goddess’ handiwork, denigrating two and four legged creatures and the earth itself – before abusing and destroying it.

The prepubescent serial killer, the gangbanger, the Christian, genocidal President, the Marine rapist, the stockyards, the chicken plant, the Southern plantation are all part of the same continuum. Speciesm begat Sexism begat Racism begat begat begat.

Part of our challenge as people who classify themselves as human, is to see the connections between us and everything, particularly other living things. We are trained and we train ourselves to stay in our mental shoe boxes, support only those causes within the shoe box, leave our brains in a safety deposit box – in our shoe box. DO NOT THINK OUTSIDE OF THE SHOE BOX.

I don’t want to talk about sexism when we’re talking about racism…I don’t want (white) you changing the subject. But I need to be able to see the intersection of racism and sexism, need to see how women are played off against men, how “minorities” are set in competition with each other, unable to see who is manipulating them, see who is behind the curtain.

If one truly wants to be correct, the root of oppression, the first oppression that one can identify clearly is that of animals. The ability to separate ones’ feeling self from what’s between their fork and their knife, the ability to care about some life – but not all life, the ability to laugh at or laugh off the suffering of animals…It took a long time and a steady dose of serious indoctrination to make people dead to these connections.

That deadening and the “selective compassion’ that results, is why we sit on our hands as Iraqis are blown to pieces, or now blow themselves to pieces in rage, in despair at the barbaric treatment that they suffer. Its why Darfur is happening and nobody is doing anything about it. Its why Bush can steal two elections. We pretend we’re better than animals but we are not…We are simply the tamest, most domesticated, most brutally detached animals on the planet.

As long as we are that, heaven help this world.

6 Responses to “Do Animals Possess Rights We Are Bound To Respect…And Should A Nigga Care?!”

  1. to look at an animal as one who posses the qualities we cherish, kindness, compassion etc.. would mean that we would also see how our shadowself has acted. friends and others, especially from my home country wonder why i care for my puppies the way we do. dogs are not pets or members of the family. rather, they are seen as an extension of property, guard dogs, custodians of the masters belongings. most people think that i’m ‘acting’ like a mzungu ( white person)because i recognize their soul-fulness..i pay homage to their godhead…

  2. nehanda

    Interesting comment , as we own four dogs we did not plan it to turn out this way but it did. My dogs are dogs first , they have thier own pack mentality , and we are just nice guests. To us they are our dogs they have certain instinctual abilities that we capitalize on . We take care of them like we do ourselves , but they are not our children how can they be they are one onto themselves , they are what they are.

    We as people on the other hand first our classified individually , we have the ability to make choices and decisions. So what is the mistreatment of blacks really ??? is it what blacks chose collectively/ individually to accept!

    There is nothing wrong with animals eating us , as there is nothing wrong with us eating them . With in natures balance!

    I personally like when your dinner is walking around right in front of you , uncaged not pumped with steroids , or just caught fresh out of the lake or river , not farmed and fed meal that makes them grow at the rate of some scifi creature .

    The deadening as you call it , comes from advancement of technology , the more comfortable we get in our little castles/ boxes without human interaction , the less compassion we have for others.

    but I digress……

    If i make that move to try and right the wrongs , will anyone truly support my efforts, or is everyone just a talking head. They are many calling us for help , to name a few L.Peltier , Mumia , Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa , Jeanene Phillips Africa, Delbert Orr Africa Charles Simms Africa and William Phillips Africa …..

  3. There is a definitive line drawn between animal lovers (ie. pet owners who value their pets) and animal right activists who assume that animals carry the same set of emotions and feelings that people do and should therefore be treated equally.

    I have two poodles. I love them to death, I feed them treats, and take excellent care of them, but they are not my child. They do not get deferential treatment when the choice is the child need new whatever or the dogs are low on dog food.

    My biggest issue with animal rights organizations is that they feel animals deserve the same rights as humans. They do not. This is why they can so carelessly describe human rights issues and animal rights issues as being the same.

    While I love my “butt butts” and treat them like members of the family they are not equal members. They are the expendable members. The first to go if money gets too tight for their care. That would break my heart, but it is true.

    I agree with Byrdparker in that there is a hierarchy and there is nothing wrong with following the natural order of things, we should just do it naturally without artificial growth hormones and antibiotics.

    Animals are not human. Dogs do have feelings and emotions, but they are not the same as our feelings and emotions. We should care about the earth’s lesser creatures, but not to the extent that we overshadow the natural order that makes humankind the top of the food chain. We have too many human atrocities that overshadow the ones inflicted on animals. Our time and effort are much better spent creating a better world for all humankind first then we can worry about the abuse of animals.

  4. Ingrid, I hear what you’re saying but vehemently disagree with you.

    Nobody that I know of says, nor do I say: “animals carry the same set of emotions and feelings that people do and should therefore be treated equally.” Animals may or may not have the same or they may have a completely different set of emotions/feelings than people. And I don’t know what treating animals “equally” would look like. But I do know that we treat animals abysmally, horribly and the main reason that we do is because we believe that we are so-called superior.

    When the white man wanted to mistreat you, he first called you inferior, an animal, in order to justify not caring about you, treating you horribly. When you say your animals are expendable, that is the same mentality of the captain on the slave ship; when things got rough, who was the first one who got thrown overboard.

    I’m talking about the mentality, the brainwashing or conditioning that began long ago. Its been filtered, twisted. Finally today, most human beings are accorded “human” status, meaning they are not officially considered subhuman. But you and I both know that people of color, black people, still carry the taint of their being owned, being sold, being branded, being transported like “beasts.” That could not have happened if man had not first declared himself superior, greater than, better than the animals and given himself the right to abuse at will.

    There is a hierarchy because men and women decided that there would be one and placed themselves at the top…just like men decided that there would be a hierarchy and women would be beneath them. Or whites decided there would be a hierarchy and niggas would be beneath them. (I mean, why should we be equal; whites are superior to us aren’t they?! I mean after all, they told us so!!!) Straights over gays, religious over non-religious, its all a part of the same hypocrisy. And we have bought into the concept of hierarchy hook, line and stinker.

    Animals are not exactly like humans, but humans are animals. We are more alike than different. And if you truly look at the nature of so-called human atrocities, their root is in our brains, the divisions we create between ourselves and each other. And animals.

    It would make sense to me to deal with the division, break down the false division, than reinforce it and solidify it.

    If you truly want to end human atrocities, perhaps ending the atrocity that was done to our minds would be a good starting point.

  5. I guess my issue is that everything in this world has its place. While I understand the concept behind treating animals humanely and as a pet owner and an animal lover I agree that we should treat animals well. I do not; however, agree that people and animals deserve to be treated the same. I think that when you look at a life abused and dishonored regardless of the body that housed it we should feel sad and ashamed by that atrocity, but no matter how many ASPCA ads I see that tear at my heart and make me hug my dogs tighter the atrocities in places like China, Dafur & even hear in the US will always garner more of my time, attention and effort.

    How is it that we can expect to treat animals better than we are willing to treat ourselves?

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