As a Black woman in living in the state of Washington, I have very little opportunity to interact with minorities of all backgrounds. When I first moved to Seattle approximately 3 years ago, I was excited to live in a city which was socially liberal. This was a welcome breath of fresh air after leaving the deep south. For the most part I love this city and it is one of my favorite places to live in the US (with the exception of New England).
However, there are a few things that I must deal with but I am struggling to understand as I acclimate to Seattle. The most prominent thing being their love for dogs and animals. I grew up in West Africa and we grew up with pets (mostly dogs, cats and one bunny- who disappeared under suspicious circumstances). Recently, in conversation in with one of my neighbors I asked her to clean up after her dogs and she went into this litany about dog rights and animal rights. In summary, she equated the life of a dog to the life of humans and I am paraphrasing here but what I surmised from her argument was; “Dogs are people too”. I was so flabbergasted that I just started laughing hysterically.
All joking aside, I struggle with the fact that certain Seattlelites express more compassion over a dead dog than they do for black men being gunned downed and murdered by police officers. I find these views really disturbing especially living in a state that is a liberal as Washington state. I can only imagine what people living in more conservative states must be going through.
For so long, the Black community has had to live with the systematic portrayal of black people in general and black men in particular as animals in the media. I wonder if the Black Lives Matter movement will make more headway if they acquiesced and said yes “we are animals” and just let PETA take up their cause. PETA certainly seems to be getting their message heard.
Recently, I was taking with one of my Caucasian friends and she mentioned the the Netflix show “The Man In the High Castle” and she tried to imagine what life would be like in America if Hitler and the Nazis had won the war. I calmly informed her that for some groups very little had changed since the war namely for the Black community and other minority groups. Some groups don’t have to imagine an alternate reality if Nazi’s had won the world, we are living in an alternate especially with the recent election results.
If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this group of white high school student doing the Hitler salute for their annual picture in a high school in Texas.
In her recent Oscar nominated documentary 13th, director Ava DuVernay makes the argument slavery is being effectively perpetuated in the United States through mass incarceration of African Americans. One could argue that there has been some change in the way Blacks are treated in this country but no one will disagree that there is still a lot of room for growth.
May be aligning the Black lives matter message with PETA and having them take on the role of defending certain Homo Sapiens sub groups (especially those with a certain level of melanin pigmentation) is a bit extreme but they seem to have made significant headway. I worry about raising my daughters in a society where animal lives are more valuable than certain human lives. PETA stands for People for the Ethical treatment of Animals. Maybe we should create a new group called PETAH (People for the Ethical Treatment of All Humans).
I don’t know about everyone else but as for me and my family we are “down with all Homo Sapiens”. As far as I am concerned Dogs are NOT people. Now I love the Canis Lupus species but I am “down with the Homo Sapiens” in a crazy kind of way – ride or die!!! I guess that explains why I have spent the last decade of my life obtaining training to better serve them as a physician.
I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books: Animal Farm – “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”
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So where do we go from here? Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.
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