Since the culture is being bombarded with propaganda and indoctrination holding that racism—defined as broadly and inclusively (inclusive racism..HEY! I just made up an oxymoron!) as the totalitarian thought police choose in order to intimidate you—is the single most important malady in existence, and must be rooted out in all its forms, a newspaper editor didn’t laugh himself sick when an op-ed writer offered this insanity, opining not only that dogs could be racists, but that owners have a moral duty—moral duty, mind you—to break them of their racists ways. The author, Ryan Poe, begins,
Dogs are racists. OK, not all dogs. But some of them have been conditioned, usually through either a bad experience or lack of experience, to discriminate based on skin color. It’s horrible but true: man’s best friend isn’t always a best friend to all men. The good news is that your KKK-9 doesn’t have to stay racist: Bad conditioning can (and should be) reversed.
Let’s stop right there. Dogs don’t know what race is, so claiming that dogs can be racist is ridiculous on its face. They do not hold one race inferior to others. They do not hold racial stereotypes or assume negative character traits based on race. Racism is human behavior, not canine.
Dogs do discriminate, often based bad experiences. A human who decides to avoid all African Americans because she was once mugged by one is behaving unfairly and irrationally, but this kind of reasoning is not irrational for a dog. My beloved and now departed Jack Russell Rugby loved and wanted to make friends with almost every living thing, mail carriers, rabbits, cats, bugs, actors, potential serial killers. But a huge, black Belgian Shepherd that used to live next door attacked him viciously when Rugby was a puppy, and he held a grudge the rest of his life against that breed. My neighbor, who has run through a long line of those magnificent dogs since Rugby’s trauma saw my otherwise friendly dog run out on his lead barking, growling and jumping up and down in fury every time he walked one of his dogs past our house. Was little Rugby a breed racist? Of course not. Dogs don’t have the luxury of applying nuanced moderation to established threats. For Rugby, establishing a lifetime rule that Belgian Shepherds were not to be trusted was completely rational.
The impetus for this brain-flaying exercise in contrived virtue-signalling was this story, about a Catholic priest who told an African American woman that she couldn’t be his house cleaner because his dog, for undetermined reasons, was fearful of blacks and would attack her. She has now filed a complaint with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis claiming that the priest is a racist, and discriminating on the basis of race. She wants the Rev. Jacek Kowal, pastor of the church, to be disciplined , and for the Diocese to pay compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.
The fact that the pastor refuses to crate the dog during cleaning raises the strong likelihood that it is him, and not his dog, that is the problem. The pastor, however, in various letters, has blamed the impasse explicitly on his dog’s “racism.”
Thus the journalists makes this Swiss Cheese-like argument:
There has to be a racist motive at work to rightly call someone a “racist.” …I don’t blame the dog — but yes, its motive is racist. The dog has a negative association with certain skin colors, which is the motivation for its aggression. Even though the dog is unaware of its wrong associations, and incapable of changing them on its own, it’s still racist.
Has this idiot ever had a dog? I have known dogs that are aggressive toward men. I have known dogs that are aggressive toward men with facial hair, unusually large people, or anyone wearing a uniform. Some dogs are spooked by children, or puppies. An individual’s odor, undetectable by humans, may cause a dog to become nervous or fearful. There is no malice in any of these reactions and behaviors; they are based on typical canine instincts. To call them “wrong” is to anthropomorphize dogs. It’s not “wrong” for a dog to think this way. It’s a matter of survival.
If there is a particular kind of individual that frightens or stresses one’s dog, the responsible response is to take measures to keep that dog away from those individuals. An individual, whatever the color, who takes a particular dog’s antipathy personally needs to be told to grow up, learn about dogs, and stop looking for opportunities to play the race card.
But Poe concludes,
“So, the dog’s actions are really racist and they’re really wrong …it’s just that, in this case, it’s the priest who bears the moral responsibility for correcting the dog’s racism.”
MORAL responsibility? Oh, right, that 11th Commandment that says, “THOU SHALT NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO BARK AT BLACK PEOPLE. I always forget that one. Poe is really taking the position that unless you break your dog of “canine racism,” you are enabling and endorsing human racism yourself.
Balderdash. Reconditioning a dog that has a fear of anything is expensive, time consuming, and likely to fail. I guess then Poe would say that the only alternative is to have the dog killed because it cannot be made “woke.” (Put to sleep because it can’t be woke! I’m on a roll!) It may be impressive to some that Poe’s world view holds that every living thing must love all races equally, but purging the culture of racism is a mission that properly involves only humans, not dogs, cats or gerbils. Dog owners have an ethical obligation to make certain their dogs don’t harm anyone, not to send them to re-education centers so they won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.