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Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 02:48 PM
I am going to try to ask this as gently as possible. But has anyone noticed that, generally speaking, African-Americans don't particularly care for dogs? This could just be coincidence or maybe something to do with my location (Memphis), but whenever I am walking my dog and I pass by an African-American person, there is about a 50/50 chance the person will recoil or even ask me if the dog is vicious or will bite. My dog is a friendly fur ball, and not intimidating at all. He has never growled or shown his teeth to anyone.

In fact, this morning, I was walking him by the school in my neighborhood, and a young black mom noticeably stepped away from my dog, but her toddler son approached us. I asked the mom if it was OK for him to pet my dog, and she said that it was and she didn't want her to son to be as afraid of dogs as she was. This same situation has happened a few times. And it's not just women either. Grown men have had the same reaction. Is my dog more intimidating than I think? Is it coincidence? Or is there something else going on here?

I also wanted to point out that this has happened often enough that if I am passing an African-American person on the sidewalk, I make sure I have my dog on a tight leash to avoid scaring the person or making them uncomfortable. I am not as likely to be as strict about this if it's a white person.

Any thoughts?

Omar Little
05-09-2011, 02:56 PM
Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people. This fear has been passed on to their children.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 02:59 PM
Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people. This fear has been passed on to their children.

Ok, I feel very sheltered and naive. Now that I think about it, it is older folks who have the strongest reactions.

Shagnasty
05-09-2011, 02:59 PM
You don't have to tip-toe around questions like that here. Other people have noticed what you are talking about as well. It isn't that black people don't like dogs. Many have dogs of their own. It is just a genuine belief among many blacks (and whites for that matter) that dogs are racist little shits and likely to attack them even if the dog is all snuggles and hugs to everyone else. We have debated whether or not many dogs really are racist here before without firm conclusions. However, it does result in an unfortunate feedback loop. Some dogs respond aggressively to nervousness and lots of blacks get nervous around them. This perpetuates the cycle.

kenobi 65
05-09-2011, 03:00 PM
When my wife and I first got married, we lived in an apartment in a fairly well-integrated Chicago suburb. I'd take our dog for walks, and I did notice this phenomenon fairly often.

Now, note that Max (our dog at the time) was a Brittany spaniel / golden retriever mix. His fur was mostly white, with some brown patches, he had a big flaggy tail, wasn't terribly big (35 pounds), and had a very happy disposition. Even so, it was absolutely common that African-Americans I'd encounter while walking Max would go out of their way to avoid coming anywhere near us. On a few occasions, such people would even make comments along the lines of, "sorry, I'm scared of your dog". My usual response to that was, "don't worry, he'd only be a threat to you if you were a Milk-Bone."

It's possible that I occasionally got a similar reaction from a non-African-American while walking Max, but it seemed to be the typical reaction we'd get from African-Americans.

I don't know why exactly this is, but my guess, at the time, was that it was more common for African-Americans to keep dogs as guard dogs (or possibly for dogfighting), and, thus, African-Americans had been more likely to assume that a random dog which they met would be vicious. But, I have absolutely no evidence to back that up.

kenobi 65
05-09-2011, 03:02 PM
Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people. This fear has been passed on to their children.

Having grown up fairly sheltered in the North, in an area with very few blacks, I'd never even considered that.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 03:03 PM
You don't have to tip-toe around questions like that here. Other people have noticed what you are talking about as well. It isn't that black people don't like dogs. Many have dogs of their own. It is just a genuine belief among many blacks (and whites for that matter) that dogs are racist little shits and likely to attack them even if the dog is all snuggles and hugs to everyone else. We have debated whether or not many dogs really are racist here before without firm conclusions. However, it does result in an unfortunate feedback loop. Some dogs respond aggressively to nervousness and lots of blacks get nervous around them some the dog reacts tp them differently than other people and the cycle continues.

Thanks for saying that. I wasn't sure how the question would be received. It's something I've wondered since I've had a dog.

I too, have noticed "racist dogs." My sister says her dog is a racist because it's previous owner was black and he mistreated the dog. I have no idea if that's possible. The nervous theory makes sense.

Peremensoe
05-09-2011, 03:11 PM
I don't know why exactly this is, but my guess, at the time, was that it was more common for African-Americans to keep dogs as guard dogs (or possibly for dogfighting), and, thus, African-Americans had been more likely to assume that a random dog which they met would be vicious.

This is more like it. Or part of it. It's just a rate or proportion thing, not a rule, but among black people I know who have dogs, a much higher percentage than for white folks generally seem to be dogs that maybe actually could put a hurt on somebody. It's the same impulse that leads us "rednecks" to tend to have such dogs--they're "useful," or at least their breeds once were. Not so many lap dogs.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 03:12 PM
This is more like it. It's just a rate or proportion thing, not a rule, but among black people I know who have dogs, a much higher percentage than for white folks generally seem to be dogs that maybe actually could put a hurt on somebody. It's the same impulse that leads us "rednecks" tend to have such dogs--they're "useful," or at least their breeds once were. Not so many lap dogs.

I've noticed this as well. At the dog park I go to, the majority of the black folks tend to have German Shepherds or pit bulls. You don't see as many with toy poodles.

Omega Glory
05-09-2011, 03:17 PM
You don't have to tip-toe around questions like that here. Other people have noticed what you are talking about as well. It isn't that black people don't like dogs. Many have dogs of their own. It is just a genuine belief among many blacks (and whites for that matter) that dogs are racist little shits and likely to attack them even if the dog is all snuggles and hugs to everyone else. We have debated whether or not many dogs really are racist here before without firm conclusions. However, it does result in an unfortunate feedback loop. Some dogs respond aggressively to nervousness and lots of blacks get nervous around them. This perpetuates the cycle.A year or two ago, there were a series of threads on that subject, because the board was collecting data for a column. I'm not sure if it was ever written, but I do remember several posters admitting that their dog reacted badly to seeing black people. I think it's partially because of the nervousness on the part of the people, and partially because some dogs are suspicious of people who don't look like "their" people. I have dogs, but the latter makes me unlikely to interact with people's dogs on the street.

Markxxx
05-09-2011, 03:23 PM
I live in the city of Chicago and I've not noticed this. I always see people walking dogs and the black people don't seem anymore leery than the rest.

I am very leery of dogs, because you never know. I met my neighbors that way. They have a very friendly dog that looks really STUPID. He was so stupid as I was petting him, he confused me and snatched my peanut butter cup. Ate it wrapper and all :)

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 03:24 PM
A year or two ago, there were a series of threads on that subject, because the board was collecting data for a column. I'm not sure if it was ever written, but I do remember several posters admitting that their dog reacted badly to seeing black people. I think it's partially because of the nervousness on the part of the people, and partially because some dogs are suspicious of people who don't look like "their" people. I have dogs, but the latter makes me unlikely to interact with people's dogs on the street.

There was a woman out walking once wearing what I can best describe as "traditional African garb." A head piece of some sort and her dress was very colorful. My dog went crazy barking. I thought it was the long dress and the bright colors that set him off, but maybe I have a racist dog too? :confused:

shiftless
05-09-2011, 04:01 PM
Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people. This fear has been passed on to their children.

No. I know it sounds cool to pretend that all the white people in the south are raising dogs and training them to attack black people but it shouldn't take too much thought to figure out that that is absurd.

Skald the Rhymer
05-09-2011, 04:01 PM
I am going to try to ask this as gently as possible. But has anyone noticed that, generally speaking, African-Americans don't particularly care for dogs? This could just be coincidence or maybe something to do with my location (Memphis), but whenever I am walking my dog and I pass by an African-American person, there is about a 50/50 chance the person will recoil or even ask me if the dog is vicious or will bite. My dog is a friendly fur ball, and not intimidating at all. He has never growled or shown his teeth to anyone.

In fact, this morning, I was walking him by the school in my neighborhood, and a young black mom noticeably stepped away from my dog, but her toddler son approached us. I asked the mom if it was OK for him to pet my dog, and she said that it was and she didn't want her to son to be as afraid of dogs as she was. This same situation has happened a few times. And it's not just women either. Grown men have had the same reaction. Is my dog more intimidating than I think? Is it coincidence? Or is there something else going on here?

I also wanted to point out that this has happened often enough that if I am passing an African-American person on the sidewalk, I make sure I have my dog on a tight leash to avoid scaring the person or making them uncomfortable. I am not as likely to be as strict about this if it's a white person.

Any thoughts?

Oh joy. Another "blacks are different" thread.

Onomatopoeia
05-09-2011, 04:10 PM
Oh joy. Another "blacks are different" thread.I was going to respond Confirmation Bias, but yours will do.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:13 PM
Oh joy. Another "blacks are different" thread.
I certainly didn't mean it to come across that way. I am genuinely curious as to why this situation repeats itself. It seems others have noticed it too.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:15 PM
No. I know it sounds cool to pretend that all the white people in the south are raising dogs and training them to attack black people but it shouldn't take too much thought to figure out that that is absurd.

It might have been the case at one time though, right? Not now, of course.

Skald the Rhymer
05-09-2011, 04:18 PM
I certainly didn't mean it to come across that way. I am genuinely curious as to why this situation repeats itself. It seems others have noticed it too.

I thought about starting a thread on why white people are all clueless, except that I know too many white people who actually have a clue to do that sincerely.

Some black people dislike dogs. Some love them. My parents were both born in rural Mississippi in the 30s; my father always liked dogs, while my mother always hated them. My siblings and I were born in Memphis in the 50s, 60s, & 70s; some of us like dogs, and some can't stand them. I used to be phobic about dogs, but after some therapy that's changed to a mild distaste: enough to keep me from ever owning one, but not enough to stop me from feeding a stray who seems to need help. I know white people who are fond of dogs, some who are neutral, some who are as phobic as I used to be.

Maybe you should try meeting some black people. I promise you, we're not all rapists, thieves, and murderers.

Omar Little
05-09-2011, 04:21 PM
I used to be phobic about dogs

Heaven forbid you share with the OP the source of your phobia. I think that's kind of why he started the thread.

Peremensoe
05-09-2011, 04:22 PM
Some black people dislike dogs. Some love them. My parents were both born in rural Mississippi in the 30s; my father always liked dogs, while my mother always hated them.

And were the dogs, loved or not, big dogs, working dogs, useful dogs? Hounds, perhaps?

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:23 PM
I thought about starting a thread on why white people are all clueless, except that I know too many white people who actually have a clue to do that sincerely.

Some black people dislike dogs. Some love them. My parents were both born in rural Mississippi in the 30s; my father always liked dogs, while my mother always hated them. My siblings and I were born in Memphis in the 50s, 60s, & 70s; some of us like dogs, and some can't stand them. I used to be phobic about dogs, but after some therapy that's changed to a mild distaste: enough to keep me from ever owning one, but not enough to stop me from feeding a stray who seems to need help. I know white people who are fond of dogs, some who are neutral, some who are as phobic as I used to be.

Maybe you should try meeting some black people. I promise you, we're not all rapists, thieves, and murderers.
I am sorry I offended you. I'm sure you hear this all the time, but I am not a racist person at all. And I definitely didn't mean to imply I think ALL black people dislike dogs. Of course that's not the case. My black neighbor has three yapping lap dogs. I was speaking in generalities. For whatever reason, in my experience, I run into black folks nearly every day who are scared of my dog. As I said in my OP, perhaps its coincidence, or perhaps my dog is more intimidating than I think.

Omar Little
05-09-2011, 04:24 PM
Maybe you should try meeting some black people. I promise you, we're not all rapists, thieves, and murderers.

:rolleyes:

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:27 PM
:rolleyes:

That wasn't fair at all. I live in Memphis. There are more black folks than white here. I purposely live in the city and not the suburbs because I enjoy the diversity and having people of different backgrounds around me. It seriously bothers me to think someone would ever consider me racist.

shiftless
05-09-2011, 04:29 PM
It might have been the case at one time though, right? Not now, of course.

No. This statement isn't obviously false? "Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people."

Do people really believe there are, what, dog training camps with black manakins that all the white folks in the south send their dogs to? Did I miss all the reports of people down south being torn to bits by dogs?

Skald the Rhymer
05-09-2011, 04:32 PM
And were the dogs, loved or not, big dogs, working dogs, useful dogs? Hounds, perhaps?

I don't know what dogs you think you're referring to. We never had pet dogs in the house when I was a lad, because my mother despised them and my father adored her much more than he ever could any animal. So Mother's antipathy was never directed, at least in my presence, towards any particular variety of canine.


That wasn't fair at all. I live in Memphis. There are more black folks than white here. I purposely live in the city and not the suburbs because I enjoy the diversity and having people of different backgrounds around me. It seriously bothers me to think someone would ever consider me racist.

I too live in Memphis. I was calling you a malevolent racist; I was implying (and am now asserting outright) that the assumption that there's some categorical difference between white persons and black persons on this subject is indicicative of a sort of benign ignorance that would seem to imply that you haven't spent much time in the company of black persons in a substantive way.

notfrommensa
05-09-2011, 04:34 PM
somewhat applicable thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=547096&highlight=racist).

Omar Little
05-09-2011, 04:35 PM
I live in Memphis.

I too live in Memphis.

Wow, what an opportunity. Dopefest for two, coming up.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:35 PM
I don't know what dogs you think you're referring to. We never had pet dogs in the house when I was a lad, because my mother despised them and my father adored her much more than he ever could any animal. So Mother's antipathy was never directed, at least in my presence, towards any particular variety of canine.




I too live in Memphis. I was calling you a malevolent racist; I was implying (and am now asserting outright) that the assumption that there's some categorical difference between white persons and black persons on this subject is indicicative of a sort of benign ignorance that would seem to imply that you haven't spent much time in the company of black persons in a substantive way.

You can call me ignorant all you want; that might be true. But I am not a racist by any means. And I have had many experiences over the years with black people--working, socializing, etc.

Anyway, apologies again for offending you. It was not my intent. But I stand by the fact that on a nearly daily basis black people recoil from my dog and white people run up and pet it or say something about him.

needscoffee
05-09-2011, 04:39 PM
My dog will usually bark at anyone or any dog he sees who either 1) is much larger than him, or 2) has a dark appearance, either from skin or dark clothing (especially package delivery guys in dark uniforms). If someone is large and dark, it's the worst, or someone with a dark beard and hat, especially if they have a large dark coat on as well, (including his owner). There's nothing racist per se about it; the dog just equates big and dark with looming threat. I would imagine this is an innate survival skill from wolf in the forest days.

cjepson
05-09-2011, 04:40 PM
I thought about starting a thread on why white people are all clueless, except that I know too many white people who actually have a clue to do that sincerely.

Maybe you should try meeting some black people. I promise you, we're not all rapists, thieves, and murderers.

I have spent the past 20 years living in neighborhoods that are basically half black and half white, and my experience has been somewhat similar to the OP. I would certainly not say that, "generally speaking", black people are wary of my little fluffy dog, but... when I DO get that cold stare and "Does your dog bite?"... it's pretty much always from a black person. I just figure that (a) it probably has something to do with having been brought up in an environment where mean dogs were not uncommon, and that (b) where I live, that description more often applies to blacks than whites.

pbbth
05-09-2011, 04:41 PM
I live in Harlem and I have a dog. I walk her several times a day and I've never had anyone of any race respond badly to her. She's a french bulldog and all of 12 pounds (10 pounds of dog, 2 pounds of ears to be precise) so maybe her size has something to do with the positive responses she gets, but everyone loves her and makes conversation with her. The only weird thing that ever happened was one guy who barked at her until she ran and hid behind my legs, but I think that was more of a mental health issue than a racism issue.

Oh, and FWIW we just finished her obedience training yesterday. Her trainer was black and brought her own dog to class with her for demonstrations.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:43 PM
No. This statement isn't obviously false? "Because, in the south, a lot of dogs were raised by rednecks to attack black people."

Do people really believe there are, what, dog training camps with black manakins that all the white folks in the south send their dogs to? Did I miss all the reports of people down south being torn to bits by dogs?

No I don't think there are dog training camps. :D

But it's the only plausible option anyway has posted yet. It certainly seems like something racist rednecks would train their dogs to do during the 60s and before that.

Peremensoe
05-09-2011, 04:46 PM
I don't know what dogs you think you're referring to. We never had pet dogs in the house when I was a lad, because my mother despised them and my father adored her much more than he ever could any animal. So Mother's antipathy was never directed, at least in my presence, towards any particular variety of canine.

Okay, but each of them must have seen some real dogs, or at least been told something about some real dogs, once upon a time, which formed those preferences about "dogs." Those are the dogs I was referring to.

Nzinga, Seated
05-09-2011, 04:46 PM
In my community, there was a lot of racist attitudes about white folks and dogs. Lots of blacks I knew did not like dogs in the house and would throw slurs about white people being dirty for having dogs in their beds, eating at their tables, kissing them in the mouth, etc. There were also slurs about white people having bugs in their hair and attributing that to them living with dogs in their homes.

I don't know if that is why some whites have noticed anti-dog behavior in some blacks, but I distinctly remember those attitudes.

Peremensoe
05-09-2011, 04:51 PM
Lots of blacks I knew did not like dogs in the house and would throw slurs about white people being dirty for having dogs in their beds, eating at their tables, kissing them in the mouth, etc.

Yep. And this goes with the idea that dogs are working or useful animals--not cuddlesome, not family, and maybe just not nice.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 04:54 PM
Yep. And this goes with the idea that dogs are working or useful animals--not cuddlesome, not family, and maybe just not nice.

The idea of my dog "working" makes me laugh!

shiftless
05-09-2011, 04:58 PM
But it's the only plausible option anyway has posted yet. It certainly seems like something racist rednecks would train their dogs to do during the 60s and before that.

Except it isn't a plausible option. Sure, I bet you could find white people in the south who would sic their dogs on a black person.

The dogs are specially trained, a "lot" of people do it and because of this black people now transmit a primal fear of dogs from parent to child ........ really now? If you absolutely must believe in this race-based fear, then let's keep looking beyond "the rednecks done did it."

Zsofia
05-09-2011, 04:59 PM
In my community, there was a lot of racist attitudes about white folks and dogs. Lots of blacks I knew did not like dogs in the house and would throw slurs about white people being dirty for having dogs in their beds, eating at their tables, kissing them in the mouth, etc. There were also slurs about white people having bugs in their hair and attributing that to them living with dogs in their homes.

I don't know if that is why some whites have noticed anti-dog behavior in some blacks, but I distinctly remember those attitudes.
Well, it is true that black people don't get head lice. (Or if they do I suppose it's vanishingly rare.)

Nzinga, Seated
05-09-2011, 05:05 PM
Well, it is true that black people don't get head lice. (Or if they do I suppose it's vanishingly rare.)

The problem is, they were attributing that to having an animal in the bed, or whatever. I still get slack from some when they hear I let my cat in my bed.

Peremensoe
05-09-2011, 05:13 PM
The idea of my dog "working" makes me laugh!

Yeah, well, to be honest the same is true of many of the "hunting" and "guard" dogs round here. It is, in fact, the idea of the useful dog, more than the actuality. But they do tend to be bigger and tougher-looking animals.

Hilarity N. Suze
05-09-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm in the process of socializing a puppy right now, and I have noticed that my dog reacts differently to different people. He does not like people with hats; he does not like really small people. I say "does not like" but really it's just that he doesn't trust them, they're different, he's not used to them. A few months ago he was the same with black people--or rather, black men (I'm trying to remember if they were wearing hats, which is quite possible), but then there were two black guys in his puppy kindergarten class (I mean two black owners, only one of the dogs was black), so now he likes them as well as anyone. I do always check with a person before I let my puppy approach them.

But I see just a big a proportion of black people out walking dogs as I do white people, so I would certainly never think black people don't like dogs. Maybe in the south. In Denver they seem to like them just fine, as individuals. There are a lot of people who don't like/are afraid of dogs and these people come in all colors.

I have heard that Muslims don't like dogs. A Muslim woman said it's not so much that they don't like them but that they consider them unclean. Well, they're right. Dogs are not very clean, they eat cat poop, they eat their own poop, they roll around in unsavory odors and track all manner of shit into the house. My dog would be happy to jump on a Muslim, or anybody, with his muddy paws, which is why he's always on a leash. But Muslims are not a race.

needscoffee
05-09-2011, 05:16 PM
Well, it is true that black people don't get head lice. (Or if they do I suppose it's vanishingly rare.)What? Really? I've never heard of this before. (Not challenging you; I just really have never heard this before.)

kenobi 65
05-09-2011, 05:21 PM
I'm in the process of socializing a puppy right now, and I have noticed that my dog reacts differently to different people. He does not like people with hats; he does not like really small people.

The aforementioned Max was often distrustful of men, particularly if they had beards. My wife had adopted him at a shelter when he was about a year old; her guess was that he had bad experiences with a bearded guy in his earlier home. As he got older, and had more positive experiences with men (beards or not), he largely got over that problem, but it took several years. When I met my wife, Max was still in his distrustful stage; the future Mrs. Kenobi took it as a good sign that Max liked me from the start.

Omega Glory
05-09-2011, 05:26 PM
Someone asked about dogs that black people own - I have a lab mix, a beagle, and a mastiff (Now. In the past, there was a chihuahua, a lhasa apso etc) . I guess I could have taken the first two hunting if someone had trained them, but they weren't purchased for their usefulness.

What? Really? I've never heard of this before. (Not challenging you; I just really have never heard this before.)
http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/lice/faq.shtml

It is pretty evident that European colonists brought head lice with them to America because our lice are best adapted to infesting non-African American children. In 1985, a study showed that only 0.3% of African-American children were infested with lice compared with 10.4% of non-African American children. This study has been repeated, with similar results. However, in these surveys, there were still a few, rare cases of head lice among African American children.
There's more in the link.

In my community, there was a lot of racist attitudes about white folks and dogs. Lots of blacks I knew did not like dogs in the house and would throw slurs about white people being dirty for having dogs in their beds, eating at their tables, kissing them in the mouth, etc. There were also slurs about white people having bugs in their hair and attributing that to them living with dogs in their homes.

I don't know if that is why some whites have noticed anti-dog behavior in some blacks, but I distinctly remember those attitudes.

Hasn't that attitude died out, for the most part? I remember people saying they wouldn't eat food someone cooked, because that person had a dog, but I haven't heard anything like that in years, and years.

FoieGrasIsEvil
05-09-2011, 05:38 PM
Dogs? I thought the meme was that black people didn't like cats.

Nzinga, Seated
05-09-2011, 05:44 PM
Hasn't that attitude died out, for the most part? I remember people saying they wouldn't eat food someone cooked, because that person had a dog, but I haven't heard anything like that in years, and years.

Most poor/uneducated blacks I know still believe these things. I think. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've heard these sentiments as much recently.

Skald the Rhymer
05-09-2011, 05:46 PM
Dogs? I thought the meme was that black people didn't like cats.

I have two.

Omar Little
05-09-2011, 05:50 PM
Dogs? I thought the meme was that black people didn't like cats.

I have two.

C'mon Skald, you're the exception, you're not a thief, rapist or a murderer either. ;)

TriPolar
05-09-2011, 05:51 PM
It's not about the dogs. It's about the dogs' owners. Dogs will instinctively act in a manner their owner favors. The way a dog treats you is the way he thinks his best friend would treat you.

Skald the Rhymer
05-09-2011, 05:58 PM
Heaven forbid you share with the OP the source of your phobia. I think that's kind of why he started the thread.

'Twasn't that sort of therapy. I have a vague memory of being chased by a dog when I was very young, but I think I was already afraid of them when that happened. My therapist was less interested in finding the roots of the fear than she was in getting past it, which involved slow acclimation to the presence of dogs.

My point is that, of the several RhymerSiblings, there are widely different attitudes about dogs, and I don't think race has anything to do with my former fear.

SSgtBaloo
05-09-2011, 06:09 PM
No. I know it sounds cool to pretend that all the white people in the south are raising dogs and training them to attack black people but it shouldn't take too much thought to figure out that that is absurd.

I descend from redneck stock. Knowing my dad's early attitudes towards people of color, I would not doubt for a moment that he or his dad would sic the family dog on a passing black person, just to see the look on his face. As my dad matured and met more people who didn't look like him, he began to realize that his former behavior was wrong.

I'm convinced that most of us white folks would like to declare we haven't a racist bone in our bodies, but just because you're not in the habit of noticing something doesn't mean it isn't there. I can walk almost anywhere in the U.S. with the reasonable expectation that when I go into a store no-one is likely to follow me on the security cams because I "look suspicious". When I step into line at the bank, nobody gets nervous or uncomfortable (unless they don't like seeing fat, pale guys wearing shorts ;)) and if I'm waiting for the bus, people feel free to approach me to ask the time or whatever.

I've been made aware that a lot of the freedom we feel to go anywhere and be welcome is not necessarily percieved by people of color when they do the same things, so I refuse to say "I'm not racist". Rather, I do my best, and remain open to correction in case I get it wrong.

alice_in_wonderland
05-09-2011, 06:44 PM
Could it be a muslim thing? I know loads of Somali folks and I live in a pretty white bread city - many folks from Somalia are muslim and muslim's REALLLLLY don't care for dogs.

Outside working, pulling a sled, hunting for ducks? Fine. In the house, on the bed, touching them? Oh hell no!! One of my friends is a Milay muslim and she's petrified of my little dog - specifically that he'll lick her.

Perhaps there is a population of black muslims in your area?

And before anyone says it, in my life I have known 2 white muslims, about 800 black muslims, and about 800 cafe au lait coloured muslims.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-09-2011, 06:57 PM
Could it be a muslim thing? I know loads of Somali folks and I live in a pretty white bread city - many folks from Somalia are muslim and muslim's REALLLLLY don't care for dogs.

Outside working, pulling a sled, hunting for ducks? Fine. In the house, on the bed, touching them? Oh hell no!! One of my friends is a Milay muslim and she's petrified of my little dog - specifically that he'll lick her.

Perhaps there is a population of black muslims in your area?

And before anyone says it, in my life I have known 2 white muslims, about 800 black muslims, and about 800 cafe au lait coloured muslims.

It's possible the little old lady at the bus stop is a Muslim. I didn't think of that option.

Attack from the 3rd dimension
05-09-2011, 07:18 PM
I hesitate to participate in this thread, but I would suggest three possibilities:

1) Dogs don't like anything different.
2) Dogs notice if their owners tense up.
3) Confirmation bias.

The best thing is, you can arrange them in several orders to make a positive feedback loop. Dog barks at first person who looks different/owner tenses up thereafter expecting dog to bark, or Owner tenses up, dog learns to bark at different people, or Owner tenses up/ dog barks first time / Owner notes all further barking around black people

My dog, whom I usually refer to as Attackdog, but who is basically a big tribble, was relaxed with South Asians, Chinese* and Europeans, but once, as a puppy, barked at a black woman, who very kindly stopped and hung out with us for 5 minutes or so, teaching him the lesson that black people are very very good at ear scratching. I note that there are lots of South Asians, Chinese and Europeans in Vancouver, but very few Black people.


*For some reason mobs of Chinese girls would approach us to take pictures with him. It was like walking around with Bill Murray, or maybe Pikachu.

panache45
05-09-2011, 08:36 PM
My neighborhood has a large African-American population and a large Ultra-Orthodox-Jewish population. I see blacks (and others) walking dogs all the time, but I have never seen one of the Jews walking a dog. I think they're too busy having more and more kids to own a pet. Plus, it'd be very time-consuming to be always removing pet hair from those long black skirts and coats.

rhubarbarin
05-10-2011, 02:32 AM
I've also noticed many black people seeming fearful of my dogs (one of whom is large and part German Shepherd), but I live on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Within city limits a lot of people have larger, potentially dangerous (bull and guarding breeds) dogs which are used as watch and guard dogs. A lot of people in the Philadelphia area are black, and a lot of them have their own dogs. I just thought anyone who grew up around many of the neighborhoods I have walked through where almost every dog you see has teeth that could rip out your neck and snarls and lunges when you try to get by it, is rightfully wary of strange dogs on the street. Most black people I know were raised within the limits of Philadelphia, most white people out here in the burbs were not, so I'm not sure if that wariness applies equally to white people from the same neighborhoods...

My aforementioned large German Shepherd mix is 'shy' and has displayed some aggression towards men in the time I've had him. He's the worst with the aggression at night (I'm more on edge then too of course), I've also noticed he's generally more fearful/aggressive towards dark-skinned black men, but more so any man/boy wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, also almost any sort of hat. I think the key for him that he's a very visual dog (I know that from other habits) and is fearful of anything that seems 'different' about a man, or obscures his reading of their body language (such as where they are looking). When someone has very dark skin, it's harder to read their facial expression at night.

We live in a very white neighborhood and he grew up someplace even whiter, so I think it's just a familiarity issue. I feel as certain as a white woman can that I have no special fear myself of dark-skinned black guys (or men wearing hoods). I get pretty guarded and watchful around all strange men, especially those who have sexually harassed me before, of which there are a few in my immediate neighborhood, but my dog doesn't get shitty towards those guys (what use is he?!).

Jackmannii
05-10-2011, 09:14 AM
I suspect that in at least some cases, whites who think their dogs react badly to black people are correct. But it's probably because the dog picks up on their own apprehension and thinks there's something to be wary about.There was a woman out walking once wearing what I can best describe as "traditional African garb." A head piece of some sort and her dress was very colorful. My dog went crazy barking. I once had a dog who was not the sharpest animal ever. One day she started barking at me, which was puzzling until I realized I was wearing a baseball cap. I took it off, she stopped barking and looked abashed.

This past weekend I was walking my black Labrador. We approached a home where a young black couple was out in their yard along with their own black Labrador. They waved at us (I tried to wave back, but I was carrying a full poop bag so it was awkward), but their black Lab started growling and briefly charged us before they called him back.

I think their dog is a racist. :(:confused:

elmwood
05-10-2011, 10:45 AM
You don't have to tip-toe around questions like that here.

Oh joy. Another "blacks are different" thread.

'Nuff said.

Recent personal experience: my father lives in a nursing home, and I regularly visit him with my dogs; both elderly, medium-sized, very friendly white and black furballs. The staff in the rehab unit, mostly white, all come out to greet and pet the dogs. In the living area, where most of the staff is black, a couple will be friendly, but otherwise they're indifferent or scared.

My neighborhood has a large African-American population and a large Ultra-Orthodox-Jewish population. I see blacks (and others) walking dogs all the time, but I have never seen one of the Jews walking a dog. I think they're too busy having more and more kids to own a pet. Plus, it'd be very time-consuming to be always removing pet hair from those long black skirts and coats.

Jews of all modern movements own dogs, but you're right; Haredi and Hasidic Jews tend not to have them. There's no restrictions in Judiasm about keeping dogs, but a section from the Talmud declares that one shouldn't keep an animal that scares other people. My late grandmother on my father's side was Modern Orthodox, and there was always a dog in her household. I regularly saw moderately Orthodox Jews (kippot, beards, but in regular street clothes) at the dog park in my old neighborhood in suburban Cleveland.

BigT
05-10-2011, 12:20 PM
Oh joy. Another "blacks are different" thread.

It is perfectly legitimate to discuss why people of one subculture act differently than another. It's called sociology.

Skald the Rhymer
05-10-2011, 12:24 PM
It is perfectly legitimate to discuss why people of one subculture act differently than another. I have lost a heck of a lot of respect for you.

Feel free. If it helps I can start smoking.

Snickers
05-10-2011, 03:44 PM
Heaven forbid you share with the OP the source of your phobia. I think that's kind of why he started the thread.

I haven't read all the way through the thread yet, so maybe this is answered. But some phobias don't necessarily have discrete causes. I'm terrified of spiders. Why? No idea. I was raised and have lived nearly my whole life in the north where any deadly or even harmful spiders are rare. It's just an irrational reaction: I just instinctively feel that sharp stab of fear whenever I see a spider, no matter how big or small. I don't even have any sort of "I remember one crawling on me when I was very little" story to offer up as a reason.

I'm a white female, and I'll totally cop to not being entirely comfortable around dogs, especially big dogs that I don't know (or that don't know me). The dogs I know, I like and I'll play with. But I'd be, well not scared really, but probably cautious around big dogs I don't know. My dad doesn't like dogs (as a doctor, I think he's seen too many kids who have been bitten), so I just didn't grow up with dogs and never developed that familiarity. I'm not afraid of dogs, but I do have a healthy dose of caution for them.

rhubarbarin
05-10-2011, 04:37 PM
This past weekend I was walking my black Labrador. We approached a home where a young black couple was out in their yard along with their own black Labrador. They waved at us (I tried to wave back, but I was carrying a full poop bag so it was awkward), but their black Lab started growling and briefly charged us before they called him back.

I think their dog is a racist. :(:confused:

Well, that's silly. It's hard to infer anything about the motives behind the behavior of dogs you've never met before, and this isn't an example that can be compared to other people reaching conclusions about the consistent behaviors of their own dogs. I would think it's equally silly for a non-white person to assume a white person's dog is 'racist' if it displays aggression towards them.

My dog is sometimes aggressive towards men we walk past. Over YEARS of observing this, I've noticed that when he growls, 99% of the time it's at a guy wearing a hat, a guy wearing a hood, OR a guy not wearing anything that changes or obscures his head or face, but who happens to have dark skin.

Hermitian
05-10-2011, 05:15 PM
There are regional variations, but here is my experience in growing up in the poor south in a region that is a majority black:

Blacks are more likely to have larger dogs (as in, you didn't see as many black people walking around with purse dogs) and they are somewhat seen as security. Live in a rough area? Don't have a security system like rich white guy up on the hill? Get two large dogs and don't go out of your way to make sure they are always friendly to strangers.

This tends to apply to areas where everyone lives in houses (or shacks) more so than apartments or “city folk.”

Attack from the 3rd dimension
05-10-2011, 05:45 PM
My dog is sometimes aggressive towards men we walk past. Over YEARS of observing this, I've noticed that when he growls, 99% of the time it's at a guy wearing a hat, a guy wearing a hood, OR a guy not wearing anything that changes or obscures his head or face, but who happens to have dark skin.

On the plus side, anybody wearing a dark hood made of skin is pretty much a bad dude, and your dog has you covered.

SeldomSeen
05-10-2011, 06:18 PM
I doubt if fear of dogs is any kind of a racial characteristic, but it could be related to societal memes. It may have more to do with rural-vs-urban backgrounds. Someone with any kind of rural background is likely to have grown up around dogs and other animals, whereas someone from the inner city has probably had minimal contact with them, and is more likely to fear them.

Reminds me of a quote attributed to Colin Powell after a visit to Geo. Bush's Texas ranch...."Nothing wrong with ranches, but I don't yet do ranch-wear very well. Hey, I'm from the South Bronx, and I don't care what you say, those cows look dangerous"

One other anecdote might help to display the urban/rural gap overreaching racial stereotypes.... When I went through navy basic training some 30 years ago, our training company was about 30% black, 70% white. When it came time for water survival instruction, the company commander told us frankly that in his experience, black trainees had a lot of trouble with water training. S'help me, he was right. The navy wasn't gentle, you either jumped into the water or got shoved in. I'm not a fancy swimmer, but I can handle myself in water all right, and got through the program without much trouble. The majority of the company did the same. But the black guys, with a couple of exceptions, floundered, paniced, and sank. Nobody drowned, but they had a very rough time of it, and most got assigned to some kind of remedial swimming instruction.

I found out later that the two or three black guys that had performed well in the water were from the rural south and like most country folks had grown up swimming. The others were mostly from the inner city areas, where swimming facilities and chances at swimming instruction were minimal to nonexistant. Wasn't a racial distinction at all, but an urban/rural divide.
SS

Shagnasty
05-10-2011, 07:49 PM
You know a topic isn't forbidden when the Today Show covers part of it like they did this morning. They covered inner city black males once caught up in dog fighting who viewed dogs, especially pit bulls, as street weapons. Some people once involved in it have started education programs for black males to bond with their dogs, even the Pit Bulls, as pets and they have obedience and owner-pet bonding classes set up for that purpose in places like Chicago. Most black dog owners aren't into dog fighting but it was strange to hear some of the viewpoints expressed as part of a feel good story.

I grew up in a rural area that is roughly 50-50 black and white. We always had 4 - 6 dogs at a time mostly German Shepherds and crosses with other larger breeds. Both my parents taught at an all black school. The word on the street was that our dogs were bred to be racist and would attack any black person that stepped foot on our property. I am not sure how to interpret that. Our black nanny was there almost all the time and my parents did teach black kids all day long but it was still nice to know that our dog's reputation alone for being horribly racist killers protected us from 50% of potential criminals. One black meter reader reported to his supervisor that he couldn't go to our house anymore because it was simply too dangerous. We had to read it ourselves for a few months until someone else would do it.

Ladymarmalade
05-11-2011, 09:36 AM
Excuse me, but this entire thread is personist. Did anyone take into account the races of the dogs? Because it is well known that white dogs prefer white people and black dogs prefer black people. Hint: Look at the skin, not just the fur. Geez.

StusBlues
05-11-2011, 10:05 AM
Anecdata:

My dog (a 25-pound puggle) is a babe magnet. LOTS of women approach me when we're out to ask me about him and/or remark how cute he is.

About 2/3 of black women ask up front if he bites. I don't recall any white women--or men of any ethnicity for that matter--asking me a question like that.

I've never gotten the impression that black folks don't LIKE dogs--most African-Americans I know are dog owners--but there's definitely a higher sensitization to the bite potential among black women.

FWIW, I used to run into the same thing with my ex's 10-pound poodle.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-11-2011, 10:20 AM
Anecdata:

My dog (a 25-pound puggle) is a babe magnet. LOTS of women approach me when we're out to ask me about him and/or remark how cute he is.

About 2/3 of black women ask up front if he bites. I don't recall any white women--or men of any ethnicity for that matter--asking me a question like that.

I've never gotten the impression that black folks don't LIKE dogs--most African-Americans I know are dog owners--but there's definitely a higher sensitization to the bite potential among black women.

FWIW, I used to run into the same thing with my ex's 10-pound poodle.

I, too, have noticed this more with African-American women than men. However, there have been plenty of times when big, burly guys have given me a wide birth when they see my dog, or have asked if he is "vicious."

arseNal
05-11-2011, 08:07 PM
Look, the answer is simple. It's you white people who are the weird ones. We minorities have the default position that any dog that isn't our dog (or maybe even if it is) is unpredictable and potentially dangerous. This IMHO is the sensible way to go about life. So you better bet we're gonna make sure your dog don't bite. That's if we have any interest in your dog to begin with. Which is why you are probably hardly ever approached by Asians at all in the first place. We don't really care about your dog.

But white people love all dogs on a whole different level. Cite. (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/04/53-dogs/)

Shagnasty
05-11-2011, 08:48 PM
But white people love all dogs on a whole different level. Cite. (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/04/53-dogs/)

Stuff White People like should be called Stuff Upper-Middle Class Yuppies like but it is basically dead-on. I could take some ridiculous videos of that just by taking a stroll around here. My ex-wife (22 years old at the time) rode with her parents to go to the store with their Standard Poodle. The police responded to a frantic call from a woman that a dog was left locked in a car at night in 60 degree weather in a parking lot. When they responded, there was the poodle and my ex-wife sitting in the back of BMW. She explained that they had been sitting there the same way the whole time but the situation apparently made the caller extremely anxious...about the dog's condition.

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-11-2011, 11:16 PM
Look, the answer is simple. It's you white people who are the weird ones. We minorities have the default position that any dog that isn't our dog (or maybe even if it is) is unpredictable and potentially dangerous. This IMHO is the sensible way to go about life. So you better bet we're gonna make sure your dog don't bite. That's if we have any interest in your dog to begin with. Which is why you are probably hardly ever approached by Asians at all in the first place. We don't really care about your dog.

But white people love all dogs on a whole different level. Cite. (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/04/53-dogs/)

You might be right! That cite is hilarious.

toofs
05-13-2011, 10:37 AM
Brian Griffin has something say (http://gangstayoda.com/showthread.php?t=1266) about this subject.

"...that is not me, that's not who I am, I vote Democrat!"

SSgtBaloo
05-13-2011, 05:19 PM
Relevant, but not related to dogs: Tim Wise White Privilage Racism America Part 1 of 6 (http://youtube.com/watch?v=w-ABYIkI2aA&feature=related)

SecretaryofEvil
05-15-2011, 03:12 PM
Look, the answer is simple. It's you white people who are the weird ones. We minorities have the default position that any dog that isn't our dog (or maybe even if it is) is unpredictable and potentially dangerous. This IMHO is the sensible way to go about life. So you better bet we're gonna make sure your dog don't bite. That's if we have any interest in your dog to begin with. Which is why you are probably hardly ever approached by Asians at all in the first place. We don't really care about your dog.

But white people love all dogs on a whole different level. Cite. (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/04/53-dogs/)

You're absolutely correct.

nevadaexile
05-16-2011, 12:54 AM
If you don't have a dog in your youth, you are usually going to be apprehensive in their presence when you are an adult,regardless of your face. You must not travel very much, OP, as numerous African-Americans in the rural American South have dogs for hunting, protection and as pets.

Most African-Americans in urban environments either grew up disadvantaged or their parents did. Usually when you are poor, you don't have a dog as it is another mouth to feed. Since the parents didn't own a dog when they were younger, they often forbid their children from owning one.

Going forward, you might want to look around a little more. You might be surprised at what you'll find.

Rushgeekgirl
05-18-2011, 07:08 PM
I don't know what dogs you think you're referring to. We never had pet dogs in the house when I was a lad, because my mother despised them and my father adored her much more than he ever could any animal. So Mother's antipathy was never directed, at least in my presence, towards any particular variety of canine.




I too live in Memphis. I was calling you a malevolent racist; I was implying (and am now asserting outright) that the assumption that there's some categorical difference between white persons and black persons on this subject is indicicative of a sort of benign ignorance that would seem to imply that you haven't spent much time in the company of black persons in a substantive way.


HeYYY maybe we should all get together and talk about this. Only not at my house because my dog doesn't like black people.

Loves Mexicans though! It must be that extra spicy flavor!:p

Rushgeekgirl
05-18-2011, 07:19 PM
I had no idea this was considered a racist topic, but honestly I've had three dogs who went nuts around my black neighbors, even the children. I always assumed it had something to do with their eyes or how they see things? But that doesn't make sense given that my neighbors have dogs and surely they aren't being attacked by their own pups.

Right now I'm trying to find a new home for my Shadow because I'm scared he will get loose and hurt a child. He acts like he's going to break through the fence every time he sees a neighbor kid (they are all black), yet he does not act like this when my pale-skinned friend brings her daughter over. Yes he is a pit (mix), but I am not in any way a redneck, nor were my parents or my grandparents. I've always had relationships with people of every shape, size and color and I don't consider myself racist. I disagree with the saying, "everyone's a little bit racist". I think everything is cultural, not about skin color.

And yet my DOG is a big ol' RACIST!

Living Well Is Best Revenge
05-19-2011, 09:39 AM
HeYYY maybe we should all get together and talk about this. Only not at my house because my dog doesn't like black people.

Loves Mexicans though! It must be that extra spicy flavor!:p

Mini dopefest? :D

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