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Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Racist Dog...

Not long ago I was waiting at a bus stop. There was one woman and her two children walking up the hill opposite me, and another woman and her two dogs walking down the hill opposite me. As they were approaching each other, the woman with the dogs crossed over to my side of the road.

I didn't think anything of it, until she whispered to me, conspiratorially, 'I had to cross over, he' (she indicated the huge dog), 'doesn't like Somalis'.

I looked back over the road at the woman and her kids. She could be from Somalia, she equally might not have been, but what the hell kind of dog could identify country of origin, and then discriminate on that basis?!

I was so bewildered that I couldn't, and didn't, say a word. The dog-owner carried on talking to me. I was presuming that she was projecting her own racism onto this dog, but she went on to tell me how he (the dog...) was fine with people of any other nationality, it was just Somalis he didn't like, and she had to cross over the road because he'd growl and bite their clothes, and she didn't want him to scare them.

She confided that she thought it was something to do with 'their' robes, that the dog didn't like.

She carried on nattering to me as she continued along her way, and I stood at the bus stop entirely struck dumb with the utter bizareness of what had happened.



(See also, Pippa Reviews... The News Quiz.)

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7 comments:

christine said...

I have racist cats or at least ones whihc are cokour prejudiced as we used to say in the olden days. The 2 black ones, especially the balck alpha male pick on the black and white one and duff him up wherever possible. The black and white one in turn refuses to eat from the same plate as the black ones, and has to have his own plate on the other side of the kitchen.Just as well they're all neutered so we don't have to add sex to the equation.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of a dog that didn't like Spanish people. I don't know anymore.

asa©2005 said...

I know a dog that hates our cats :))
Seriously, I know about pets who react on smells of spices such as garlic, but I don't know what to think about this dog. Can imagine it though as when I was a child a certain dog also snapped only to me and I was the only not-100%-white person... Never understood it.

TP said...

My parents used to have a dog that didn't like black dogs (especially labradors). It used to pick fights with them, but never (hardly ever?) picked fights with other dogs.
Weird dog.

Garry said...

That's not weird. I think the owner was a racist of some strange sort. People do project their nueroses onto their dogs, don't they?

McBeth said...

Some local friends (through my girlfriend) have a rescue pooch who fah-reeeeeeks out at dark-skinned (ie: black, African-American) men, causing them (read: very liberal, wonderful open-minded) tremendous embarrassment.

The only thing they can guess is that the dog may possibly have been abused in his previous home and has maintained some sort of rough memory/basic ID of who caused him pain which, in turn, causes him to lash out when some other guy sssorta fits the description.

Anonymous said...

This is a weird one indeed.
I used to have a cat that hated men...and watches. You couldn't wear a watch and stroke it.A possible history of abuse of some kind? We got it from a rescue centre.

I am inclined to believe the woman was projecting her own racism on to the dog. whether consciously or even unconsciously (if the owner is tense in a situation, the dog will react- I've seen this happen, so perhaps if the owner was scared/uncomfortable around certain people.....)

They were certainly being presumptious (assuming people are somali) in any case, as you rightly pointed out.

Claire D
xxxxx