Skip Bayless, my favorite sports commentator, said on ESPN today: There’s a major disconnect between the way whites and blacks view dogs. For most blacks, dogs are just animals. For most whites, such as myself, dogs are part of the family. I’ve let my dogs sleep in my bed, kiss me on the mouth, and eat food off my plate. I’ve never seen a black person at an animal rights rally. I’m sure there have been but I don’t remember seeing any.
Blacks think that torturing and killing dogs is wrong but that it is not worth two years in prison.
Rob Parker: I loved my dog but I never think about him in terms of "Rest in Peace."
Luke says: I don’t get white people in this respect. I think they’re nuts. Oy, the things white people think, such as that pets are "part of the family."
Monica Showalter writes on my Facebook: My spanish teacher was a mexican from tijuana who was educated in the US. He said that when he was first getting used to US culture, he was appalled at his roomate, putting up on his mantle a portrait of his mother and a portrait of his family dog. He said that was the grossest thing he ever saw and it was not done in Mexico.
During the 1991 Oakland fires, a Yugoslav immigrant was quoted in the news as being appalled that in the great evacuations down the narrow wooded fiery roads, the good people of Piedmont, mostly whites, prioritized saving their dogs over their family possessions. Dogs were the first thing people sought to save. ‘It’s just a dog!’ the Yugi said – adding that they should be saving their furniture and other possessions as any sensible Yugi would do.
Anastasia Mendez writes: My uncle took his new pup to training classes twice a week and only fed him the best food, never allowing any sort of table scrap in case it upset his digestion.
I know of a white person (egads!) who has his apartment full of fighting dogs that bark all day and night, are left out in the rain, appear to be malnutrition. Neighbors have been petitioning animal control for months to have the dogs removed.
Cultural differences are one thing — as Monica has demonstrated — but the terms "black" and "white" are far too encompassing, don’t ya think?
GINA POSTS: I live in Mexico, and whenever our dog gives us any problems our relatives seem to be appalled that we don’t just go dump him on the side of the road like they did with their pain-in-the-ass dogs. It’s considered to be a frivolous waste of money to take them to the vet or to spend money on training. I can’t even imagine what they’d say if I put a framed picture of my stupid dog up in my house!
MONICA POSTS: I think pet-love is a function of affluence. In China, people eat cats. In Hong Kong, they have pet protection societies and nothing is too good for fluffy.
But I think it’s also an anglo-saxon thing, and the more you are exposed to the culture, whatever your race, the more likely you are to consider pets people. Nobody gets gushier about animals … than the Brits, absolutely nobody. They go all soggy around animals, they invented animal protection societies and the most militant vegetarians out there are Brits. Around the issue of whaling, for instance, I read a stiff, contemptuous statement by a Japanese government official, dismissing british concerns about whaling, saying it was merely the thinking of Brits, "based on the Anglo-Saxon belief that whales are people." The Japanese didn’t know quite what else to make of it.
For Black people, the lingering image of the entire affair isn’t one of electrocuted, shot or “raped” pit bulls. It’s the image, endlessly broadcast on TV, of the overwhelmingly white crowd—mob, in fact—protesting outside the Falcons’ Atlanta training facility with chants and placards, one of which prominently reads: “Neuter Vick.”
Vick is a Black man, Georgia and Virginia, the sites of much of the protest, are in the South, and the tragic, real and recent history of the Black men in the South is that many, many of them ended up hanging from trees, savaged by jeering white mobs, men, women and even children who later posed for photographs beneath the mutilated and often “neutered” corpses.