Posted by: megshoeman | August 20, 2008

A Bit on More Racist Legislation

Municipal restrictions on the so- called “pit bull” type breeds are rooted in racist motives, and they serve to perpetuate racist stereotypes as well.

The fact is that lots of African Americans have decided to take bully breeds as companion animals. One of the human social reasons for these local bans is that governments often don’t trust black people generically to do the right thing. Speaking from my personal experience of working in a shelter, I can tell you that I’ve seen a share of African Americans whose interest in the dogs has the appearance of a desire to keep up on the toughness factor which is so hurtful to so many animals and families.* Guys like these don’t adopt our animals. They usually don’t even bother with a get acquainted visit. What I’ve seen more often are white and black families alike who want to provide good homes for misunderstood animals. They want to do the right thing.

Local bans perpetuate racial stereotypes and tensions by consigning non- violent dogs to an association with the (frequently) racially linked practice of dog fighting. You see a black person taking a bully type for a walk and you are disgusted by a pre-conceived caricature despite the possibility that this person is a responsible dog owner. This is unfair to humans of all races and dogs of all breeds. What will come next? Banning the Pomeranian in order to protect the ankles of children and elderly? Breed bans are not only unthoughtful but also racist, draconian and absurd.

*In the future I should like to make a post about breed restrictions and the effects on families with children.

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