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A friend of mine shared an article entitled “White People Owning Dogs is Racist” and I just about lost my mind. Early in the summer of 2020 I shared my thoughts about racism in America in a blog post. I was going to be done with the topic because I know that people come to my blog to learn about raising dogs naturally and raw feeding, not to read about my thoughts on politics and human rights. I remained silent on social media for months. But then I read this article and DAMMIT I just can't keep quiet anymore.
This is a rant post.
This Article Ticks Me Off
When the protests and riots began, I saw an opportunity to have an honest conversation about racism in America and I said my peace and moved on. I lost a few followers over on Facebook when I shared my thoughts and experience and I'm okay with that. People come to Keep the Tail Wagging to learn about raising dogs and racism is not an easy conversation to have, but many of us took the time to speak openly and honestly with each other despite the fear of judgement or “being canceled.” Many of my friends reached out to me and we had amazing conversations that solidified our friendship and I assumed (making an a$$ out of you and me) that this was being done all around the country and globe. And it may be happening, but I'm not seeing these open discussions happening on social media.
Instead, I'm seeing people go for the jugular. I've been called a House Nigga, an Uncle Tom, a trader to my race, and a white woman said that I align with white supremacy. Why? Because I won't accept the narrative that I'm a victim, that all cops are bad, and all white people are racist.
“If you are white and own a dog, you are openly participating and advocating for cultural appropriation and colonialism. Reinforcing this culture is NOT acceptable and will come with its repercussions.”Cayde -6, UnitedWildlifeUnion.com (as of 9/28/2020, this website has been taken down)
Are you “EFFING” kidding me?
So, here I am, bringing up the topic again and if that means that I lose more followers, I'm okay with this because this isn't an easy discussion to have and too many people (no judgement) in this community have chosen to remain silent on this conversation (I get it) because to speak out is to offend and risk being canceled. It doesn't matter what you say, you're going to offend people.
So, here are my thoughts…
Who Am I?
Before I get started, let me clarify that I am an American. I am a woman. I am a person of color. According to 23 and Me, my ancestral makeup is:
- 85.8% Sub-Saharan African (primarily Nigerian)
- 10.8% European (primarily Irish)
- 1.9% East Asian and Native American (primarily Native American)
I was raised by a single mother who owned her own home. I had a car at 16, I attended private school for most of my life. I'm college educated. I own my own home and I own a small business. I have good credit. I am not the stereotypical black woman that some people like envision when they think of black Americans. And while I know that there are many Americans of many races that haven't experienced the privilege that I've taken for granted, I'm not a unicorn; there are many many black people who don't fit the negative stereotype that has been dumped at our feet.
I share this to clarify that I am a black American (or African American, which is the politically correct term today) sharing her thoughts on the topic of dog ownership. So if you're tempted to come for me with the assumption (there's that word again) that I'm white, please stop.
What is Covert (or Passive) Racism?
“Covert racism is a form of racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public or obvious. Concealed in the fabric of society, covert racism discriminates against individuals through often evasive or seemingly passive methods. Covert, racially biased decisions are often hidden or rationalized with an explanation that society is more willing to accept. These racial biases cause a variety of problems that work to empower the suppressors while diminishing the rights and powers of the oppressed. Covert racism often works subliminally, and often much of the discrimination is being done subconsciously. Sometimes, it originates instead in discrimination against poorer segments that simply happens to disproportionately affect individuals by race.”Wikipedia
Passive racism is real and, in my experience, this form of racism is more damaging than systematic racism because we come to accept it and we excuse it when we experience it instead of calling people out. It's okay to disagree; this is simply my opinion based on my experience as a black woman in America and it's been solidified many times during the summer of 2020. Passive racism sneaks up on you in the guise of “friends” who get angry when you won't provide a reading list so they can learn more about racism (ummm, black people don't walk around with a reading list in their pocket), the belief that I can't get ahead without a handout or the only reason I am ahead is because of a handout, and articles that say that white people should give their homes, businesses, and dogs to people of color.
Are White Pet Parents Racist?
A white person owning a dog is not racist nor does it contribute to systematic racism. This is such a far reach that I feel dumber after having read this author's logic as he laid out his justifications.
“According to bio-archaeologist Gregor Larson, the domestication of dogs started in 2 places: Eastern and Western Eurasia. The Eurasian people worked non stop to gain and maintain the trust with these gorgeous creatures, but it was all stolen from them. The greedy actions by white people stained the history books forever.”From the article; as of 9/28/2020, this website has been taken down
What history books? I don't have a Doctorate, but I do have a Bachelor's degree and took my fair share of history courses and no where did it state that white people domesticated dogs. And using the weak logic that this author used to justify his opinion that white people owning dogs is racist, we can assume that any white person who uses the following everyday products invented by black people are racist as well. So, y'all best get used to walking up the stairs.
- Automatic Elevator Doors, Invented by Alexander Miles in 1887
- Improved Ironing Board, Invented by Sarah Boone in 1892
- Home Security System, Co-Invented by Mary Van Brittan Brown in 1966
- The Three-Light Traffic Light, Invented by Garrett Morgan in 1923
- Refrigerated Trucks, Invented by Frederick McKinley Jones in 1940
- Electret Microphone, Co-Invented by James E. West in 1964
- Carbon Light Bulb Filament, Invented by Lewis Latimer in 1881
- Color IBM PC Monitor and Gigahertz Chip, Co-Invented by Mark Dean c. 1980 and 1999
People publishing bullsh*& like this THINK that they are helping people of color when they are doing the exact opposite. They are further dividing this country one petty blog post at a time, distracting us from real conversations so they can have a few minutes of virality.
When You Point You a Finger…
When you point a finger, you have three fingers pointing back at you. This means that we should look at ourselves THREE TIMES before we start judging others.
Imagine raising a child and during that child's upbringing – from baby to teenager – you repeatedly told them that they were a victim, they couldn't take care of themselves, that people would always be out to get them, that they were always going to be in danger, no matter what they did or how hard they worked they would always fail – imagine. What would that child grow up to be like? This is what is happening to the black community in America. We are constantly being given the message that we're victims instead of being given tools to overcome any barrier in our path. I'm not saying that racism isn't alive and kicking in this country and around the world; what I'm saying is that to give people this message and use articles like the one that inspired my rant only serves to double underline the message that “black people are victims” is a form of racism as well.
Again, I'm not saying racism doesn't exist. And I'm not saying that there aren't barriers that people need to overcome. I'm saying that I'd prefer to see reasonable solutions that will help everyone instead of ridiculous arguments that help no one.
I have friends of all colors and most of them love dogs. When Sydney was diagnosed with cancer and when she died, so many of my friends (and strangers) cried with me. It has never ONCE crossed my mind that their love of their dogs (and mine) was racist. Their love of dogs doesn't take anything away from my ability to love dogs. Our community isn't perfect. We fight over stupid things and we clash over things that matter. We're a passionate community. We can be really crappy to each other and we can circle the wagons and support each other like the dysfunctional family that we have become.
Every single day, I see messages from many people that only serve to tear our country apart and I WILL NOT except that message in our community. Especially after the rollercoaster of dog cancer that I just experienced. While the author of the article may be looking to history to form his offensive conclusions, I'm going to share experience to show that he's wrong.
- I sit on the board of a local rescue group, the founders and Executive Directors are two amazing white women who were inspired to start the rescue after watching an episode of Oprah that was about puppy mills. In fact, I'm the only person of color on the board (which I just realized now); but don't feel sorry for me because William is the only guy on a board full of women. #TacoCat
- I have many amazing friends who are white people who love animals – Jennifer, Don, Tina, Katrina, Johnny, Scott, Ronny, Laurie, Krista, Jessica, and I can go on. The thought that they should give me their dogs to avoid being called a racist is hilarious. And I triple dog dare you to knock on Tina's door and demand that she hand over her dogs. If you don't mind, let me know when you plan to do this because I'd like to film Tina's reaction. #DerangedDogMom
- Dr. Karen Becker, another “racist” white woman according to the author, is one of the most followed (over 2 millions followers) veterinarians on the Internet. She speaks to crowds of pet parents of all ethnicities around the globe. The Horror!
Share I continue?
Why I'm Addressing This Topic
So many people have been impacted by the discussion of racism this summer and while this is seen as a social issue to many, I think we can all agree that it has been highly politicized. I see many people afraid to speak up on this topic for fear of being canceled. This is a valid fear. People are actively using social media to flood pages with negative comments, call business owners racists because they choose to remain silent, try and get people fired from their jobs, and attack anyone who doesn't fall in line.
Many people think that the way to move forward as a country/society is by announcing that they have white privilege, owning their white guilt, and calling out white people for their inherent racism. Yeah, this moves us forward, but where are we going?
“If you are white and own a canine, please consider donating them to a local POC family or non kill shelter so it can truly find the perfect home.”From the article; as of 9/28/2020, this website has been taken down
I will not step on someone's right to share an opinion or to protest what they see as injustice in America. This is our right. However, just as I have to accept that people may vehemently disagree with what I say here, I have a right to vehemently disagree with what this author published.
But why even address such drivel?
I could ignore it as I'm sure many people will. Just by the title alone, the article will be seen as ridiculous by some. I'm addressing it because, sadly, too many people are waving the “white guilt” flag (or demanding that this be done) and I'm frankly sick of the narrative being shoved down our throat that no matter what white people do, they're racist. And to wrap up the article with the suggestion that white people give their dogs to people of color (isn't this just a fancy way of saying colored people, another racist trope?) is a clear example of passive racism that we've come to accept and ignore in this country.
In my opinion, this is not the way to bring our country together. This is another example of someone who wants to tear our country apart. And, keep in mind, that my partner is Dutch (aka white), so how does this author suggest interracial couples handle the discriminatory practice of white people owning dogs? Because, I dare you to come to my house and try and take my dogs. And I know I'm not alone on this one.
September 2020 Update
The website that introduced this compelling topic (yep, that's sarcasm) has been taken down. In a world where people are constantly promoting division, especially among the races, it's nice to see common sense reign supreme.
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- White People Owning Dogs is Racist? A Black Woman's Response