Apparently it's quite unfashionable these days to take any notice of breed specific behavior characteristics, especially when it pertains to pit bulls. Genetics has a profound influence on canine behavior - border collies and other herding breeds herd, pointers point, retrievers retrieve - and fighting breeds fight. This blog entry further discusses some of the genetic factors.
But even in the face of these indisputable facts, if anyone should let it slip that they would rather not be around a pit bull, or states the obvious about the dangerous, violent and unpredictable behavior of pit bulls, that person is derided and condemned by members of a shrill, strident pit bull lobby. The idea that a breed specifically created to rip apart animals in the pit, and is still being selectively bred by dog fighters for maximum violence, could be dangerous by default seems to be beyond the reasoning capabilities of some of these pit bull advocates, who slap a "canine racism" label on any negative opinions of pit bulls.
Introducing that magic buzzword - racism - is meant to instantly silence all debate and muzzle any dissenting voices - but should it? Let's think about this for a moment, shall we? On the face of it, it sounds to me like the goal is to paralyze any critical thinking and decision making - to keep everything vague and fuzzy, and repeat memorized buzz words and catch phrases, rather than engage in any substantive discussion about the issues at hand.
When a pit bull apologist utters the word "racism" in response to any discussion of facts which reflects negatively on pit bulls, they fail on two counts. First of all, they fail to explain how thinking and speaking clearly about the facts of a matter equates to racism, and secondly, they fail to explain how thinking and speaking clearly about the facts of a matter is a bad thing.
Personally, I think that speaking of "canine racism" demeans and trivializes the suffering of people who have actually been victims of real racism. A dog has no concept of racism, and wouldn't be the least bit aware of racism even if surrounded by it. That's fairly basic, common sense.
More troubling to me is the anti-intellectual tone of this mindset, of which the rallying cry seems to be "turn off your brains, don't seek information, don't analyze, don't compare, don't discriminate, don't think, just accept that dogs are dogs and it's all in how you raise them."
If the concept of racism is to be universally applied in the way the pit bull advocates seem to be saying it should, then it would be wrong to discriminate in any matter. Although the word "discrimination" has negative overtones because of it's association with human rights issues, the actual word connotes a choice based on facts, and in fact discrimination is not evil, but absolutely necessary for survival.
If I understand the pit bull apologists correctly, it would be wrong to reject the notion of a service alligator because that would be racism. After all, reptiles are reptiles. It would be wrong not to allow a python to sleep with the baby, because that is blatant anti-python racism. Most of all, it would be be very very wrong to avoid eating poison mushrooms, because that, after all, would be botanical racism!