Gwen recently pointed out to me the fact that pit bulls have replaced handguns on the covers of rap and hip hop albums. This is an excellent example of racialization: the process by which something comes to have racial meaning in a society.
Of course, this is not just about race, it’s about gender too. Here’s Missy Elliot appropriating the masculinity attributed to the pit bull:
And you know when Weird Al does it, it’s really happening:
Here’s an essay, incidentally, that I wrote for The Huffington Post (at Gwen’s urging and with her help) about the scandal involving Michael Vick’s dog fighting, called The Secret Brotherhood Between Dog Fighting and Football.