You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Michael Vick And Race

Juanita Abernathy [wife of Ralph Abernathy] sits in her living room as those words cross her screen. Here's what she wants the e-mailer to know. In Atlanta, where the Old South lingers just beneath a placid, integrated facade, everything is about race. Just walk a few feet away and look at her family photos. People's opinions about every new situation are formed by the totality of their experiences. Animal rights activists think it's about cruelty. Soured Falcons fans think it's about tragedy in multiple ways. African-Americans in Atlanta, according to prominent black leaders, think it's about Vick not getting due process because of the color of his skin.
Vick was a symbol for Black Atlanta, and now he's gone. That troubles many in the community. Not everyone, but many, especially those who have felt racism in their own lives and find themselves attuned to it. Yes, he's created many of his own problems, but the lens for viewing his problems was created many years ago. And so the question arises: Are people like Juanita Abernathy stuck in the past or are they the only ones seeing the situation with eyes wide open?
The [group supporting Vick] members finish their meals, going over details for their next event. They share food, stories and, in between, wonder how anyone can't see that Vick is being targeted. He's just their latest fight. Near him, Rose has a thick binder, filled with newspaper clippings and other memorabilia. Each one is about another injustice New Order has fought. They fight because their fathers fought, because they see inequality, because it's what they're trained to do, because they like the attention they get from fighting. They will tell their children and their children's children, urging them to never forget.
UpdateUpdate IIIsaac Chotiner