Front Row

I have been sitting in the front row of the strangest, most frustrating, confusing and unjust scenario possible in a neighborhood. I have so many feelings about this that I can’t even process them all so naturally, I come here to open up my cranium and let my thoughts spill out willy nilly on the keyboard/page.

So I live in a 90% white neighborhood in a fairly tight knit community. Other than Caucasian we have a few Asian families here, some middle eastern families and one black man. He is married to an Asian woman, so I can’t even say black “family”. They are a very normal oxygen breathing, red blood containing human family that happen to be interracial.

I began a conversation with him shortly after moving into the neighborhood because he has my kryptonite – an English Bulldog. We have had a few conversations over the year and a half we have lived in this community and things have gone swimmingly. Same as my conversations with some of his neighbors in fact. Go figure!

Lately there has been a shocking uptick in gossip and accusations here in the wild white west. Seemingly out of nowhere one incident has sparked outrage and finger-pointing and the police have been out a number of times. Wanna know the heinous act that began this latest outrage?

The black man got a puppy.

Shocking, right? So shocking, in fact, that his neighbor was horrified beyond belief that he did not tell them about the puppy. They were not asked first.

Outrageous right? I mean think about all the trouble you have to go through to talk to all of your neighbors about the puppy you want to purchase.

To be fair, he did not buy a cocker spaniel. He did not buy a dachshund. He bought a Cane Corso.

Cane Corso
(from the AKC website)

Not exactly a teddy bear, but still. We have no restrictions on breeds with our HOA. We have no laws in the state of WA against owning an Italian Mastiff.

She’s black, she has cropped ears, and she’s under 6 months old. Not exactly The Kraken.

Y’all, you would think that this man walked into our neighborhood with a 30 foot crocodile the way people have reacted to him. He has been ticketed, harassed and now arrested for things all relating to this dog.

I will throw out there that the block this gentleman lives on is not ours, but it’s close and there have been some long-standing issues with neighbors, but to see the blatant disrespect and gossip and assumptions has made me pretty ill.

My husband and I have both defended the facts of the situation to the gossipy hens around us to the point no one will utter the word “puppy” around me anymore. The hysteria that can be created by a couple of jaded and frankly bored housewives is madness.

We consider this man to be more than an acquaintance and haven’t had the chance to form a solid friendship with him, but on a basic human level the whole situation leaves me pretty disgusted and frustrated with our neighborhood.

I have never witnessed blatant racism happening directly in front of me before, and now that I have I just have so many feelings I can’t articulate them. I want to protect this guy, I want to scream at the people involved who are being cowards, I want to shake this man for putting himself in a situation that makes him more vulnerable to this madness, but then I see the injustice in expecting that of him.

I grew up in Southern California where diversity was taken for granted often times. I believe everyone is a little racist if we’re honest with ourselves. I have a hard time believing anyone out there has no inkling of acknowledging a stereotype about another race. What I find horrifying is when a human being is standing in front of you and because of how they look, talk, or walk human rights are immediately dismissed.

I find it horrifying that this neighbor of mine who has been nothing but nice and just as human as everyone else in this neighborhood has the potential for being one of those heart-breaking stories that we all know too well from the news.

What happens if this man gets called to his front yard by a police officer and some very common human chain of events happen that result in him being hurt or killed and we see it as another story on the news?

A wife would be a widow, and his special needs son would be without his father. I wish I could say this is an exaggeration and a worse-case-scenario.

We know that it’s not.

I’m sorry I don’t have a funny spin on this, I can’t think of any light hearted twist. It’s just unnecessary. I don’t know the history of events that has led up to such animosity between these families, but I see the end result right now playing out and it just makes me shake my head for the loss of opportunity to just have a peaceful life. People are more concerned with being in control, being in charge and running the show, than with communication and common courtesy and friendships. This shit is supposed to get worked out in high school. How are we still choosing sides and red vs blue teams? We are nearing/middle aged suburbanites for fuckssakes! Adulting is hard enough without throwing energy towards being racist.



3 thoughts on “Front Row

  1. My comment will sound like a cop out. Maybe it is. I don’t see an end in sight because the power dividing us has made this behavior ok. Racism isn’t starting again. Of course, it’s always been here. I’m worried that we no longer need to suppress it. Name calling, stereo typing, and discriminating have become the thing to do. It’s ok. It’s “right”. You and your mom have such an educated history with canines. Maybe you can be an influencer. But, it’s not really about the dog, is it? It’s just the excuse that let those feelings show. A reason to say what they really always felt and are now empowered/emboldened to follow the lead set before them and spew hate. It’s the thing to do. Stigma free hate. You’re right. It’s not funny.


    1. Very true. I have talked to them about breed discrimination in a low key ninja-like way and unfortunately for them, they are just using the dog as the “in” to harass this guy. To be fair, he has thrown plenty of gas on the fire himself, but at the root is just ugly racism.
      Very sad.


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