Monday, January 12, 2009

A Girl and Her Racist Dog

Mike3550 is out of commission this week defending his prospectus. So I thought I would attempt to insert some blog posts between last week and next, bringing the level of discourse down from politics and neighborhood effects - all the way down, in fact, to topics like our stupid dog.

We've suspected it for a long time, but the events of this evening have pushed me to state publicly: my dog is racist. Tonight Dog and I are going for a nice brisk walk in our neighborhood, and it becomes apparent that someone is walking behind us. I turn around, and it is a tall Latino. Dog looks behind her, starts barking her head off for about five barks. I apologize, man laughs. Okay, I think, he's behind us, he surprised her, fine. But then I thought, wait, we live in New York City, not the postapocalypse. These sidewalks are busy. People walk behind us all the time. Just - mostly white people. This is, by the way, at least the fifth time she has singled out a Latino for her rage.

The rest of our walk goes nicely, without any hate/harassment. We get back to our building and get into an elevator. Who comes through the door - surprise! - but our nice new white neighborman and our nice new Indian neighborwoman. NEW neighbors. Would you expect some skepticism from Dog? She has never met them before. But lo and behold, she puts on the greatest kiss-ass puppy-eyes display known to man. She is a hit, and gets her chin rubbed and ears scritched. Score.

They get out on 3. We get out on 5. A Latino who doesn't live on our floor stands before us on 5. Dog freaks out. Barks as though the man is ripping apart my body and feasting on my entrails. In fact - and I've never seen her do this before - she lunges at him.

No one was hurt, thank goodness - she didn't really get on him, just near enough to provoke deep visible fear in the man's eyes - but the man got a profuse gushing apology from me and was very gracious considering an animal apparently wanted to end his life because he was standing there. Dog got some serious yelling and alpha-domination by yours truly.

I don't get it! I never thought of myself as a racist owner, but maybe I evoke barely perceptible tension when I'm around people who are different from me and she picks up on it. Maybe she turns on Lou Dobbs when we're asleep. Maybe the other dogs in our building are a bad influence. Maybe my racism is like a dogwhistle, and only she can hear it.


wobblie said...

This isn't the first time I've heard about people with embarrassing racist pooches, but damned if I know what to do about it.

On the other hand, it reminds me of the King of the Hill episode when Hank thinks that Lady Bird is racist, but it turns out she's only picking up on Hank's hatred of maintenance service providers.

E. said...

Man - I don't know what's worse - subconscious racism, or subconscious classism (if that's a real word). I'm going to take my dog to home-sensitivity-schooling.

Pitse1eh said...

Is the title some homage to some They Might Be Giants Song? It's flitting through my head and I can't capture it.

wobblie said...

Ha! The KotH episode wasn't so much subconscious classism so much as subconscious "I don't like other people messing with and/or fixing my stuff."

Incidentally, I think a YouTube video of puppy sensitivity training would make you a bona fide internet star.

E. said...

Pitse1eh, sadly I don't even know that They Might Be Giants song. I was riffing off of the "A Boy and His Dog" thing.

Wobblie - thanks for the clarification. Looks like we're back to racism. Drawing up a lesson plan.

dave3544 said...

I think the KotH was also dealing with some gender issues in that Hank's inability to fix his own piping (so to speak) was emasculating.

Anonymous said...

Ah. Oh well. Here is the song that I was trying to think of:

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