Dogs are said to man’s best friend. Through the ages, dogs have been bred to be loyal companions to man and assist us in our continued struggle for existence. Canines are loyal, exceedingly friendly and capable of brightening the most depressing day with a simple wag of the tail.
They become a part of the family, as films like Turner and Hooch and Marley and Me depict the immutable bond that is formed between owner and dog. Black people have a sordid history with dogs, as evidenced by the lack of films made with a canine featured as a prominent pet.
Michael Vick and the purported list of Black people’s greatest fears (Dogs, Ghosts and Registered Mail) help us understand to an extent the questionable relationship they have with dogs, but the growing body of evidence that projects to cast an entire specious as instruments of racism is alarming.
Newsweek published a story bemoaning the racism of white infants, and Black people wonder incredulously at the lack of follow-up story denouncing dogs as harboring racist inclinations and proclivities toward Black people with the same seemingly innate sensibilities as white youth.
On e Black writer pointed out the usage by evil imperialists and colonialists of dogs to create fear and panic among the Black people they encountered and in turn subjugated:
“The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society and all of the Negro scholars currently writing columns in Black newspapers about how bad it is for dogs to bite other dogs never say a mumbling word when dogs are commanded to bite people. And guess which race has been most victimized by dogs that attack and bite? You know the answer, if not ask the Negro columnists that love dogs no matter whom they bite.
Everywhere the colonialist beast went to colonize people, he took dogs to attack the people. The British used dogs to attack Black people in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), the Dutch used dogs against Blacks in apartheid South Africa, the Spanish used dogs to attack people of color in South America. Dogs were used to bite Black people in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and many other African countries, And, nobody used dogs more than the devils in America that used dogs to attack Black people from the 1600s throughout slavery days, Jim Crow days, Civil Rights days all the way up until this very day!
While Black newspapers and white media institutions are flashing pictures of cute little puppies that may have been bitten by other dogs, no one wants to publish photographs of Ku Klux Klansmen, racists, white supremacists and white segregationists commanding attack dogs to bite and kill innocent Black women, children and babies at non-violent civil rights demonstrations.”
Dogs have been used by authority figures to elicit fear in those they wish to intimidate, a tactic Black people now employ as they intimidate people purely by sight, causing a spontaneous locking of their car door.
In one particularly memorable episode of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David has just purchased a dog that has the curiously common peccadillo to only bark at Black people. Wanda Sykes (the same comedian who warned what would happen when Black people turned on Mein Obama) is horrified at the offensive nature of the bark, which she correctly deduces as evidence of the racist nature of the dog:
Wanda: You know what's going on.
Wanda: You have a racist dog. The dog hates black people!
Cheryl: Wanda...Wanda: Larry, you train the dog to hate black people? Larry: No, I didn't train it to hate black people.Wanda: Has it barked at any white people?Cheryl: ...No, he's...he's...
Larry: So he hasn't barked at any white people.
Wanda: Exactly. Your dog is racist.
Larry: Sheriff's racist?
Wanda: "Sheriff"? That's a perfect name for a racist dog. Where'd you get this dog? The Klan meeting or something?
Cheryl: Larry picked him out at the pound.
Larry: The pound.
Wanda: Sheriff, the fucking dog that eats black people. What the fuck, man? I'll tell you what, y'all stay here, pet your crazy ass racist dog, but I am not bringing my black ass back up into this fucking "hotel" until y'all get rid of that fucking Klan dog. Gotta Klan dog! Lookin' at me like I'm a damn T-bone!
Notice the clever use of shame and guilt by association tactics Wanda utilizes to back Larry into an untenable position. By equating the dog who only barks at Black people as racist, Wanda can freely attack Larry as being a member of the Klan, to which no white person can ever successful recover from nor mount opposition to such an accusation of heinous companionship.
Take note all Black people: associating a white person with the Klan is akin to dousing them in tar and feathers and then having them appear on To Catch a Predator. In this episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, daring the characterize the dog has having racist tendencies for audaciously barking only at a Black person is a beautifully executed stratagem that helps maintain the hegemony of Black Run America (BRA).
The white person will only be able to muster the dreaded, “I’m not racist, but…” defense, to which they have been effectively neutralized and branded most definitely a racist, like their dog.
Why do dogs bark at Black people? Is it because of learned characteristics through centuries of racist white owners breeding, who have taught dogs to hate, loath and bark incessantly at Black people while showering white people with admiration and love?
The selective breeding of qualities that would create the ultimate racist dog to create sustained fear among the Black people the white owners hope to subdue and crush is a plausible theory.
Those traits would then be passed down through the generations to other canines until a dog would find the sight or smell of a Black person worthy of breaking out into a barking session intended only for them:
Upset over the incessant barking of a German Shepherd toward African Americans, Latinos and other non-Whites, a New York man stabbed a "racist" dog. As a result, the canine lost his eye and the attacker was charged in court. Consequently, in this crime, both parties appear to be victims "partially" of a difficult work environment.
58-year-old Andrew Owens and 4-year-old Jenna both worked at Valley Oil in Yonkers. Owens was a handyman and Jenna a guard dog. From the beginning, the two had a precarious relationship.
According to Jenna's owner, she has a negative to reaction to minorities. As a result, she automatically didn't like Andrew Owens. Allegedly, in the past, her distaste for him led to a dog bite and lots of aggressive barking. Apparently, Owens was able to tolerate the situation until finding out the true reason behind Jenna's behavior. Afterward, he snapped cutting her, unprovoked, with a knife.
Fortunately, Jenna did not lose her life. Yet, this story is a sad one that is causing many people to look at her owner. They question whether she was trained to hate minorities and as a consequence, acted out against them. If so, he would hold some responsibility for creating a volatile environment.
Of course, Jenna's owner denies all allegations of training his dog to be "racist". Instead, he is focusing on an injured animal that regardless of her mentality didn't deserve a vicious attack. In the end, this is probably where most interested parties will end up.
Normally, if a Black person attacks a white person who they deem racist, the court system will side with them knowing perfectly well that racist white people have no rights. But, in the case of the Black person who attacked a dog harboring sentiments of displeasure at the sight or smell of minorities, the American public recoiled in shock.
We love animals, which is why the transgressions of Michael Vick were so profoundly adverse in the eyes of a normally adoring public toward his athletic skills.
Hurting animals is a sign of a sociopath and for this Black person to attack a dog because he barked only at Black people stretches even our credulity.
Aren’t dogs colored blind?
No, dogs are not colorblind in the sense that they see more than just black, white, and gray. However, the color range they perceive is limited compared to the spectrum we see.
To put it in very basic terms, the canine color field consists mostly of yellows, blues, and violets. "Human" reds, greens, and oranges are not distinguishable to dogs and instead appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.
So, dogs have the limited capacity to distinguish colors due to a lack of photoreceptors in their eyes. Since all humans are the same and we have the same DNA, blood and race merely being skin deep and a social construct at that, how in the world could dogs differentiate white people from Black people and bark at them seemingly out of atavistic impulses?
Racism in dogs is but an extension of the disgusting pathologies of the owner, who by extension of their deepest fears toward Black people manifest acutely in the canine causing the unfavorable reaction to Black people and the unremitting barking. As a writer from Slate.com muses about racist dogs:
“But one does not, perhaps, expect to receive lessons from a dog. Then along came Percy, a young pit bull friends of mine found in Brooklyn's Fort Greene park last summer. The couple had little dog experience between them, but Percy appeared at that point in a relationship when increasingly large gestures of commitment are required (the engagement would come five months later), and he was taken in on a probationary basis. He proved to be sweet-tempered, if excitable, goofy and energetic, easily house-trained. In balance, a lot of fun. There's just one problem: Percy is a racist.
Most dog owners and people of color will admit (bashfully or forcefully, depending) that dog racism exists. Many non-pet-owners (and Cartesians) will sniff disdainfully. Racism requires malice aforethought, they'll say. Dogs can't think, therefore they can't be racist.
Nonsense, says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and author of several books on animal behavior, most recently If Only They Could Speak. "Any behavioralist knows that dogs don't like subsets of people," he says, and though the most common subsets are broad—strange men or little children—"sometimes it can be quite specific. It could be tall men, or men with beards. It might be men who are wearing big shoes, might be as subtle as men who smoke cigarettes—which can be hard to pick up on—but it can also be black guys."
Dogs can be trained to discriminate. Some Jamaican resorts feature dogs that chase blacks off the beach while leaving white frat boys to fry like bacon. South Africa's apartheid government bred "Boerbuls" by crossing Rottweilers, Dobermans, bloodhounds, German shepherds, and even wolves to create very aggressive dogs for its security services. In the 1980s, the Herstigte Nasionale Party advertised such animals as "racist watchdogs" created "especially for South African circumstances." In his 1982 film White Dog, director Sam Fuller explores the socialization of racism by having a black man attempt to retrain a dog taught to kill blacks—a so-called white dog—only to have the dog attack whites instead. Paramount found the film disturbing enough to block its release for more than a decade
But even if unfamiliarity breeds contempt, how does this explain Percy? Whatever the circumstances of his early life, being abandoned in Fort Greene indicated that he was, if not raised by, at least exposed to people of color. In such a case, a dog probably has had a bad experience at the hands (or feet) of those it doesn't like. This does not necessarily incriminate Percy's previous owner. In The Dog Who Loved Too Much, Dodman profiles a dog who developed a mysterious hatred of white-bearded men late in life. Eventually Dodman determined that the owner's white-bearded ex-boyfriend, left alone with the dog just once, was the likely culprit. "A dog's memory is like a photographic plate," Dodman says, "whatever happened, it just took a snapshot of that person and logged it in its long-term memory as 'bad'." (In the same vein, dogs can develop an aversion to certain breeds, sizes, and colors of other dogs.) Extreme trauma can even cause a dog to exhibit the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Whether it's bad experience or lack of experience that turns a dog into a racial profiler, the habit is hard to break. If the dog barks and the person recoils, the dog registers a victory. (Such "positive" reinforcement goes a long way to explain dogs' fixation on mailmen: He comes, I bark, he leaves.) And even if the person doesn't recoil or show fear visible to the human eye, the dog's sharp eye and sharper nose can sense fear in a tiny gesture or a whiff of sweat.
And given the Percys out there, maybe people of color are more likely to be afraid of dogs. According to a national Purina poll, people of color account for less than 15 percent of all dog owners in this country. Historically, dogs have been used to suppress blacks, and those who now live in inner-city neighborhoods must contend with the Rotts and pits gangbangers use to instill "respect." Unfamiliarity fortified by bad experiences could generate a disproportionate number of fearful responses.
Add race to the equation, and the potential for ugliness deepens. If a white owner is apprehensive about say, blacks, the dog could manifest that apprehension, which could encourage blacks who encounter that aggressive canine to fear dogs and dislike their white owners. Even owners like my friends, who I'll posit didn't come into the situation with prejudice, now find themselves tightening the leash or crossing the street when they see someone Percy is prone to bark at coming their way. And while they do this to avoid a bad situation, it could reinforce the very qualities they wish their dog didn't possess.
It is possible to mitigate such behavior, through a sort of doggie diversity training, whereby the pet is gradually exposed to what sets it off. But it can be hard to persuade your black or white-bearded friends to participate in such cultural immersion exercises. (My friends had serendipitously hired a black trainer for Percy, whose behavior has since improved.) And even careful training can never totally eliminate the possibility that a trigger too similar to the traumatic event could cause the dog to lash out.
Some will argue that what dogs display is not racism, but something more akin to cause-and-effect conditioning. Really, though, is there a difference? Consider that many people become prejudiced by being raised in a very insular way, in their own enclave of whites or Hispanics or blacks, largely ignorant of people who are different. Humans, too, fear the unfamiliar and use a bad experience or two to tar a whole class of people. The difference between dogs and people is that people are supposed to be smart enough to recognize the logical fallacy of such a reaction and a dog is, well, just a dog."
Yes, racist dogs do exist. But again, if dogs are colorblind and lack the photoreceptors necessary to distinguish color as humans do, how can they correctly identify people of color when race is merely a social construct of racist white people to keep down Black people?
This makes no sense. Race doesn’t exist, right? But then how can dogs bark at Black people?
Black people hate to have dogs single them out and bark at them, but the inability for dogs to distinguish race (since only racist humans could create ways to identify people by race) perplexes even the greatest scientific mind.
Dogs were used in the Terminator movie to correctly identify humans and locate machines, through their acute sense of smell. The odiously offensive olfactory sensations the robots produced were enough to cause barking at the Terminator and give humans advanced warning of the enemy in their midst.
Black people don’t like to be barked at by dogs and in some cases, will resort to self-defense from having to sustain a prolonged barking session from a racist dog.
Worse, dogs represent a variety of different breeds, all carefully engineered for specific tasks. Though they can mate and produce offspring, the resulting admixture of breeds will forever break the lineage of those two canines.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes suffering the indignity of dogs barking at them, for dogs shouldn’t be able to distinguish race, since it is but a social construct. Must be something in the air, pheromones perhaps that induce the barking…Black people know that dogs are merely the white man's best friend.