I'm not sure if you can imagine the shock I received from viewing this. Why, it was like looking in a mirror. Having been a pit bull owner for over six years, to finally see myself so perfectly depicted in ink was like a huge weight off my shoulders. Sure, I've been leading this double life as a well-educated woman who has worked in the (recent) past as an educator of autistic children, and now works for both an animal shelter and a humane positive-only dog-training school. I donate a high percentage of my income to charities, and am President of a non-profit organization dedicated to responsible dog ownership for all. I am a knitter, a spinner, a cancer survivor, and was raised in the church. I have the two dogs, but also three cats, and currently two foster kittens as well, that I fed from a bottle when they were two weeks old until they were old enough to eat on their own. But all that is false, right? Because I'm a pit bull owner.
For the less intelligent, that was just a touch of sarcasm.
Let me show you what this pit bull owner looks like *with* her dogs, since you could obviously recognize me without them.
And I assure you, everyone who meets Liberty loves her.
Still, what we can learn from this cartoon is that none of the above matters, because we can tell what "kind" of person would own a pit bull. It isn't someone who wants a people-loving, goofy, energetic and athletic dog. It's a criminal, a thug, a bad person.
Consider for a moment nearly any other stereotype in the place of that cartoon. Let's say instead of "pit bull owner" the cartoonist had inserted "racist" or "drug dealer" (that is what was implied, isn't it?) What if there had been a black man pictured, and the cartoonist had said "gang banger"? If the person had a large nose and the caption read "Jew"? Why is one despicable cliche more acceptable than any other?
The fact of the matter is that the only thing you can tell by a person's appearance is what they look like. You can't determine my education level (college grad, thanks), my health (cancer-free!) or my what I had for dinner last night (homemade pasta puttanesca). And you certainly can't determine what breed of dog I own, or infer anything about my character from it.
What I can infer, on the other hand, is that a media source willing to run such a prejudicial smear-campaign under the guise of being an "editorial cartoon" maybe cares more about sensationalism than actually producing a trustworthy, ethical, and objective news source. Which means, this isn't actually a news source at all, it's trash.