Is Your Dog Racist?


My friend Malik Russell told me about this, and gave me the following to print.

Black People, White Folks, Television, and Dogs

By Melki

1269 words

Well, okay, Barack got elected and we all got a little excited until the deejay swirled the record backwards and in a flash there we were again staring 1950 straight in the face surrounded by a truck full of angry rednecks calling you every modernized version of the N-word they could think of and they could think of a lot.

Maybe I’m going a bit overboard but there have got to be some Negus just as tired and feeling bout the same I’m feeling about this mythical post-racial universe that we all supposed to be living in right now.

Just consider the following essay a PSA regarding all the BS that Negus will continue to deal with in the post-racial era-and now a word from our sponsor.

I had my swagger on in full speed as I headed through the beautiful suburban neighborhood, trees swayed in the wind and blending gently into sculpted lawns sprawling with freshly waxed Saabs and Volvo turbo in the driveways. I continued my walk smiling and waving gently at the joggers passing by.  I could smell the fresh somewhat pristine air tingling down my nostrils as I inhaled deeply. Although, I’m not a Buddhist, I somehow felt I was pretty close to a state of nirvana that many of them strove lifetimes for. Before I completely exhaled-I was traumatically ushered out of my near state of peace by the harsh loud barking of some miniature dog who rolled up on me teeth pulled out like the jump outs announcing to the whole neighborhood “Negus in da house,” as his white owner laughingly  and somewhat cavalierly chased after him, saying ‘oh he doesn’t bite.’

Flashes of Birmingham ran through my mind as I braced for the cold blast from the fire hose. In preparation, I stepped back and eased myself into the Crane style position ready to unleash a killer death blow should this miniature devil dog decide to try his luck and take a bite of the darker meat.

Luckily, his owner caught him in time and apologetically smiled. “He never does that; don’t know what got into him.” I smiled for just a second and continued walking thinking to myself, “yeah okay, he never does that. You mean he never does that to ‘white people.’

Since relocating to my lovely white neighborhood near one of the nation’s major universities, let’s say I have experienced white people and their dogs a little more than I am used to. I feel almost as out of place as a black person on Friends or some Black high school student in an advance placement class. Most Black people know that not too many people in the “Hood,” ever run up on you after their dog has escaped, smiling gently and saying “oh he doesn’t bite.” It’s more like “Negus, run fo your life biiiitch.” Let’s just say, anyone who has been chased by Pitt Bulls in a death race never ever truly gets over it. It’s like having someone pull a gun on you, you sometimes forget the fear installed in your psyche due to the incident, but never really forget how you shitted on yourself in front of your girl. Or was it that she never lets you forget? Regardless, of why you never forget these incidents you are permanently traumatized.  In your mind, each next person may be strapped and it’s a scenario of gatting before getting got. So, while many dogs in the suburban neighborhoods are generally not as aggressive as the trained to attack hood variety who will bite anyone and anything, you are still not totally comfortable with them being off their leashes-especially when you’ve realized that you are wearing the wrong skin color.

Of course there are some PETA loving white people who will apologize for and justify their dog’s behavior regardless of who the dogs bite as well as those who are more surprised than you that their dogs don’t like Black people. In this nice suburban Hood, I have been run up on by large, small, trained, untrained, black, white, part-wolf, and coyotes alike all with the same apologetic remarks and smiles by the white owners that of course their dogs never do this and they don’t know what got into them? Of course there are those who seemingly enjoy the process that allows them to gain one-upmanship on the only thing that has ever truly struck fear in the heart of the white man- Black men.

At first I thought, I assumed that maybe it was my cologne? I did have a penchant for buying cologne from one a many street corner vendor. Some of whom no doubt were also the manufacturers of those inspiring scents. Then I thought well maybe it was the new deodorant that I was wearing, it promised in its commercials to have women throw their panties at you, maybe dogs were sensing this and were like ‘oh hell to the no.’ They could look at my size and height and know immediately their access to food and freedom to roam would be immediately limited with me sitting on the couch jacking em for their tidbits and snacks when their owners were away. In a sense they were exhibiting a form of nobility by protecting the chastity of their owners?

After delving deeply into the latest dog psychology journals and finding no real answers other than wondering if I was in fact descended from an ancient tribe of dog whisperers? I decided to do what every other intelligent and highly educated person would do when confronted with one of life’s unexplained mysteries that made you feel strange and like a total social misfit-I Google’d it.

To my surprise their were hundreds of posts on Google relating to white people wondering why their dogs incessantly bark at, attack, or chase Black people? They questioned whether they were racists and the dogs picked up on it? Some thought it was just exposure-they (dogs) don’t know Black people, so black people scare them. One guy thought it was because of the fact that black people were so dark that the dogs couldn’t see their expressions and this frightened them as well. Some said they thought it was because at one time those dogs were treated bad by a black person and now held all black people in contempt, which might explain some instances or merit life as one of those urban myths about unemployed black men breaking into white people’s houses and terrorizing their dogs in a way that Guantanamo Bay prison guards would envy and then leaving before white people returned from work? The only evidence found was a NFL Mike Vick rookie card.

After the some additional hours of searching online, I think I found the answer on YouTube ( where it in my opinion fully explained the main reason why white people’s dogs hate Black folks–television. In the YouTube video, the dog didn’t have to actually run into a Black man, all it had to do was see one on television and it started barking in a way that seemed like he was saying  ‘yeah that’s him, get that Negus,’ in some distant dog-speak dialect.

Think about it, if you raised your dog like a human being and when you leave and go to work; your dog is sitting there alone by themselves with nothing to do. Don’t think they are going to waste the entire day just waiting for you to show up hours later and turn on the lights in a dark house acting like you love them, only to do it all over again the next day. No they are watching television when you are gone. Either that or on the “‘Dog Net” dishing dirt of their owners .Yes dogs are some of the smartest animals alive and they watch television. They use a subtle form of mind-control to convince you that those adult videos were something that you actually decided to order. I recently stayed with a family who had one of those miniature mutts and when they went to work and school he did what most people home at that time do-watched Jerry Springer.

One day, I left and hung around the corner and waited about thirty minutes. I saw him peek out the window to be sure I was gone and then when he thought the coast was clear he picked up the remote in his mouth and hopped on the couch and turned on the TV. By the time I snuck in the back door, he had just finished Oprah and was leaning back on the couch, remote in paw with a bowl full of freshly popped popcorn and a diet soda watching the Black History month back to back broadcast of Soul Plane 2 and a bootleg copy of Precious.

We all know that most people who have no real contact with Black people get their image and views of Black people from television and movies. This means that 7 out of 10 ten times every Black person they see is a pimp, hooker, homeless, criminal, or drug dealer, or reality-show psycho-crazy loud mouth. I’ll never forget the damage watching continual episodes of “Ten-speed & Brown shoe” and the Martin show did to my psyche. I’m just glad that I don’t have to endure the pain of trying to explain to my daughter who Flavor Flav is? When I’m in the Burbs some white folks still expect me to beatbox my way into McDonalds. The dogs see the same portrayals of Black people that everyone else does. Maybe dogs watch cop shows and realize that they can pretty much do whatever they want to Blacks and violate the rights of innocent Blacks just to solve a crime that someone else may have done or that a Black person may be thinking of doing? I mean who cares about due process, certainly not Hollywood? Maybe they all saw the OJ trial when the dog broke down and admitted lying after being cross-examined?  Image is everything in America, and even in the 21st Century, little Black girls still prefer White dolls over the Black ones. Of course things are changing some since Barack Obama’s election, but with the rate he’s getting beat up and attacked we’ll see whether he still looks “presidential,” after a few years of Black quarterback intensity criticism from his detractors, especially the overweight pill-popping radio hosts types who live in neighborhoods that most Negus still can’t legally move into.

Now if I’m a dog who believes I’m human or a human suffering from self imposed personality dyslexia has become a dog that happens to do what most dogs who consider themselves human do during the day when everyone is gone-watch television-then whenever I see a Black person-I’m going to attack. I mean what do you expect? I can’t help it, it’s just the dog in me. ©


Melki is a writer, journalist, activist and the author of 21 Hustle: The Funkyhoophipnautic.




\ˈnē-gəs, ni-ˈgüs\




Amharic nəgus, from Geez nĕgūša nagašt king of kings



: king —used as a title of the sovereign of Ethiopia



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