Black man and his dog

More recently, it’s been hard for me to process this thought, but I think it’s because overtime I’m finding it more and more to be true. 

It’s weird, but depending on the individual I believe my dog and I are viewed as one in the same

On our usual everyday walks and adventures I ask myself, “Why are people looking at us like that”? And not in a good way.

For starters, I’m a black male (which apparently, gives people the ability to judge me already), and apparently judge my dog, who I’ve been told numerous times is “ an aggressive and scary looking dog”. (Neighborhood Karen).

But don’t get me wrong, I understand having a fear of dogs, being weary of dogs, and generally not being comfortable around a dog. I too at one point had a fear of the furry four legged animals. I also empathize and understand if someone has had a traumatic experience from a dog or something that has scarred them. 

 But, for you to have a preset of notions and judgments of “us”, as a pair? That’s just unfair. 

For most people I think it’s subconscious, but personally for me I’d rather you just say things to my face or ask me, instead of giving me a look of disgust, or holding your spouses arm for dear life, or sweeping your child out of the way, or crossing the street as if my dog or I is going to harm you. 

As the very observant individual that I am, when I see a white person who is walking with an over excited dog, uncontrollable dog, a dog that refuses to listen or appears to be dominant , how come I don’t see them getting those looks? 

Are these behaviors seen acceptable in these instances because of the person walking this dog? How come onlookers laugh/joke and continuously talk about how you want to get a dog like theirs?

My dog isn’t the golden picturesque labradoodle or little cockapoo spaniel, poodle, french bulldog or mini dachshund that people obsess over. 

She’s a complex and interesting rescue dog, more than one could ask for in an animal and companion. 

Various people have told me, whether on the street, in a dog park, in my neighborhood or in a very neutral setting, that they were surprised by “us”.

Alright, what the hell does that even mean?

The type of comments like , “Oh she’s more trained than I thought, I thought she’d be more wild, she looks like a menace, wow you’ve actually put time into her, you know she just looks scary?, I thought she’d be really aggressive”. 

And that’s just the short list. 

Are you saying you didn’t think I was capable of attaining that? Are you saying that we look unapproachable? Have we done anything to you that is making you think that?

What has happened for you to think this way or move in the way you do? Would it be different if I was white? Would it be different if I had a different dog? Or would you still judge us?

As a black male I go through enough already. I don’t need you to tell me what “you thought it was” to help you feel better. You’re a human, don’t judge an animal because of how you feel about me or how I look and vice versa for an animal.   

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