I’m a realist.
Meaning, I don’t believe black cats shed bad luck, that walking on cracks really does break your mother’s back or that walking under a ladder miraculously attracts the devil. (Yeah, I bet you didn’t know that’s what it means.)
To put it quite honestly, I think it’s silly. Not only that — I think it’s stupid.
Superstitions, that is. Yes, those — the beliefs defined as widely held, yet unjustified. It’s almost comical to me that people believe such things. And I mean really believe them.
Back to the black cat. I’ve been a fan of animals since forever — no matter the size, breed or color. But one of those three seem to be a problem to my family: color. I’d often go to an animal adoption center to look at the different cats and dogs, without any intention of bringing home an animal.
There were fewer than 10 or so cats, with white ones, mixed colors and black. Yet again, the black cats seemed quite unsettling to my close-minded family. But I loved black cats. How could you not fawn over anything with dark hair and light eyes — dogs, cats, boys?
Let’s stay on topic. My parents, however, somehow found this innocent black cat to be associated with the devil, glaring at it from a distance. Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not an exorcist or some type of medium or any of that mumbo jumbo playing-with-spirits business. But I do know that this harmless kitty was the least of my fears when it came to being summoned by Satan.
Anyways, this was something my parents seemed genuinely dismayed about. The memory’s fuzzy, but it’s still there. They really did seem distraught that their daughter preferred a black cat over a white one or a tabby — a mindset which has been implanted into them ever since moving to America decades ago. It was a reaction almost as if they just found out their daughter was going through the dreaded seventh grade “emo phase.” Little did they know, that would happen a few years later. (Sorry, Mom!)
All jokes aside, the fact of the matter hit me years later. In fact, it recently hit me again after having to write this. There’s an unjustified negative connotation resulting from all that ‘black cat’ controversy. Viewed as an omen of bad luck, black cats have consequentially been less desired in animal shelters resulting in organizations such as Black Cat Rescue and Black Cats & Old Dogs Rescue.
While it may seem trivial, negative connotations like these spark more often and substantially larger misconceptions and biases.
Chicago Tribune states, “According to ... the encyclopedia of mythology, religion and the unknown, it was once a common rite among homebuilders to sacrifice a human and use their blood in the foundations, for it was believed that no structure would stand otherwise.”
Sure, this is some radical superstition from 50 years ago, but it’s quite clear to see the problem here: superstitions are unreasonable and, in some cases, harmful. Meaningless acts of rhetoric people take way out of context and view as bad or good luck.
Now don’t get me wrong. As an American born here in the States, there are a few superstitions even I’m not too pragmatic to enjoy. No, I won’t run around a room to search for wood (which I promise you, I’ve seen happen), but if it’s in front of me, I wouldn’t mind knocking on it after seemingly ‘jinxing’ something.
And it’s pretty easy to distinguish those trivial acts from something that’ll lead to decreasing adoption rates in a species. I mean seriously, why are black cats considered ‘a symbol of evil omen’? Why not white or siamese or hairless? Well, beats me.
Regardless, superstitions are wild, and we all know it. Don’t walk under a ladder? Don’t break a mirror? No open umbrellas indoors? Excuse me? I’m a realist and I will do whatever I damn well please! And I’ll get whatever color cat I want too, Mom.