Here We Go

There’s an obvious note of African-American machismo in Barack Obama ‘s recent comments to Barbara Walters about not wanting to get a “yappy girly” dog. He said he wanted a “big rambunctious dog.” This sounded like a reference to a golden retriever or lab or Irish setter, but his comment reminded me that I’ve never once seen an African-American guy walking a dog on a city street that wasn’t just large, but also fearsome-looking. Pit bulls, bulldogs, dobermans…that line of country. Tell me I’m mistaken.

Cue the Glenn Kenny contingent so they can start calling me a closet racist, but not once — not a single time — in all my decades on the streets of New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco have I seen a black guy walking a pure face-licking love dog (which golden retrievers are a prime example of). Is there a p.c. way of saying that there seems to be something in the male African-American experience that responds to the concept of a muscular guard dog with an innate willingness to snarl at strangers and get aggressive at the drop of a hat? Probably not.

Somebody please tell me they’ve seen or heard differently. I realize I’m not supposed to say this, but I’m just saying. I’m a golden retriever man myself. I’ve had two — one fell off a Hollywood hills balcony and broke his back and had to be euthenized, and the other I had to give away due to travel. Breaks my heart.

  • corey3rd

    just shows that Obama doesn’t want to be confused with Mickey Rourke.

    Obama seems to want a dog that can handle a tennis ball.

  • TheJeff

    “Cue the Glenn Kenny contingent so they can start calling me a closet racist”

    I can’t believe that anyone would say that about you. There’s no closet involved. In fact, you seem surprisingly open about your racism to me.

  • Sonic Boom

    No, you’re right about this. There’s no P.C. way to talk about it but it’s true. It’s just a part of the culture. I grew up in a black family when I was younger and they owned five pit bulls. Pretty nasty ones. They never would’ve dreamed of owning a “girly” dog. You’re also not suppose to say that the majority of blacks really don’t like gays. Again, it’s just a part of the culture. It’s the mindset you’re raised with.

    Oddly enough, my friend and I both seperately noticed that the loudest, most flamboyant gay guys in NYC are black. Go figure.

  • OregonEd

    I usually can’t stand Barbara Walters, but that was one great interview.

  • Breedlove

    There’s an interesting conversation to be had about what the term “black” really means…Obama on the surface seems like he has about as much in common with a pitbull/thug type as Jeff does, no? I mean I see the point but I’m not sure what it has to do with Obama…a guy who went to Harvard Law doesn’t give a shit about pitbulls any more than he does the rims on his car. Hell, he already told young black men to pull their pants up, which I thought was interesting…don’t think McCain could get away with that one…

  • As long as Barack Obama doesn’t mutate into Michael Vick, we’ll be okay.

  • OregonEd

    What kind of message would it send to the world if there was a “yappy girly” dog in the White House?

  • KC

    Wells you dork, do you really think yr average urban buppie couple keeps a dogfighting kennel

  • ZayTonday

    I know a few white guys that own pit bulls too.

  • ZayTonday

    Have any past Presidents ever owned “yappy girly” dogs? All the past Presidents have been white.

  • roquentin

    I’m not sure this is racist as much as it is racialist. Not every categorization is by definition bigoted. If Jeff were to extrapolate – which he flirts with – into a theory of why he thinks African Americans buy aggressive dogs, it would skirt a more dangerous line. And he’s not saying that white people don’t own pit bulls. If anything, this post less interesting for its content than it is for its recognition of the difficulty of categorizing in a culture that is hair-trigger sensitive to possible stereotyping. Turn on five minutes of some comedian (from the lowest common denominator of Comedy Central specials to Bill Maher) and you’ll hear things that play with and cross the line a lot quicker and with a lot less self-awareness. There is a question of right and wrong in these things. I just don’t think this is such an egregious example to warrant the P.C. pitbulls. Here’s hoping they’re somewhat self-muzzling.

  • berkguru

    you are both racist and a dog killer/abandoner

    nice post

  • T. S. Idiot

    This is why, when we went to the polls, my yappy, girl dog voted socialist. Up the girly dogs!

  • Ray

    Man oh man … when was the last time we had a President who seems so down to Earth, congenial, and easygoing??? Ever????

    Like OregonED above, I can’t stand Walters … but that was a terrific interview that showcased the First Couple very well. Many people in America should be breathing a sigh of relief.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    I’d say Barney is pretty much “yappy, girly” dog.

  • It’s not a “contingent,” Jeff. It’s a posse. Ya feelin’ me, dawg?

  • Dex

    Jeff, if you have to ask if it’s racist, then probably, …

    Plus, why are you trying so hard to prove this point of yours? Why have you been campaigning since you first brought it up a while back, to somehow prove that your negative projections on black men are legitimate? THAT is mainly why someone would suspect that you’re racist.

    Move on, please, before you write something even stupider.

  • alynch

    I find it strange to associate not wanting a girly dog with wanting a vicious dog. Since when is a golden retriever a girly dog, anyway? Girly dogs are those tiny little glorified rats that only go up to about your ankle. I hate those fucking things.

  • Oof. Jeff, this is one you shoulda kept to yourself.

  • Daviddb

    Years ago, I asked an NFL player in my hometown who was getting ready to retire why he owned a poodle and a pug…was it his girlfriend’s preference? No, he said…

    “I’m too old and too beat up to stoop down and pick up behind a dog who shits bigger than me…little dogs shit little turds…and they eat less too.”

    Sage advice, I thought…

  • BurmaShave

    Wells you are conveniently overlooking all the black men without dogs, and all the white/latino/asian guys with mastiffs, pitbulls, dobermans and rottweilers. It’s the type of man, not the race.

  • theultimatebiu

    Most black people (myself included) see dogs as protecters of the household. I always find it amusing to see white people dressing up their dogs and giving them the royal treatment as if they were human. I don’t think it’s a racist view at all….many black people see a dog as a animal and many white people see them as another member of the family

  • JaySmack

    “There’s an obvious note of African-American machismo in Barack Obama ‘s recent comments to Barbara Walters…Tell me that Im wrong.”

    Okay, you’re wrong. And the only thing “obvious” is that you read WAY too much into a comment meant to only convey that Obama feels that even the dog he picks says something.
    Stop trying to see race in everything. You’ll enjoy life more.

  • Sam Adams

    It’s not racist to observe that, at least in your experience, African-American men prefer “masculine” dogs. (It’s not particularly enlightening either, but that’s a different discussion.) What is racist — or, more to the point, stupid — is to connect that observation to a mixed-race man with a Kenyan father who was raised by a white mother and grandmother in Hawaii. There’s nothing particularly African-American about Obama’s mild machismo here. The fact that you blithely assume all people with a drop of African blood can be lumped into the same category without qualifiers is either indicative of a profoundly cloistered existence or (more likely) a transparent attempt to generate blog hits by committing asinine and half-baked observations to print. It’s not self-censorship to think before you speak.

  • Sam Adams

    PS to GK: Does this mean I’ve made my bones?

  • Glenn Kenny

    To Sam: Now all you have to do is drop by my house and wish my first child be a masculine child.

  • Roman

    I have shocking and very unexpected news:

    Barrack Obama, genetically speaking is just as white as he is black and yet…

    …I’m seriously beginning to wonder if there’s the whole one drop of blood thing in play here. Seriousluy, is everyone really that racist?

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