DOES wanting a ban on dogs that attack young girls on their way to the shops make you a racist? Perhaps, according to the Guardian.
When I heard that the Home Secretary wanted a ban on American XL Bully dogs after the latest attack on an 11-year-old girl, who is understandably now ‘too scared to leave home’, I thought this is something all decent people would support. Who would support the ‘right to own attack dogs?’, I asked myself.
Well, according to the Guardian it is not so straightforward. In fact, wanting such a ban could reveal that deep down, behind your concern for public safety and child well-being, you are in fact a racist. Because of course you are.
Zoe Williams tells us that the hoo-ha leading up to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act was just a ‘moral panic’. She writes: ‘The debate leading up to that original legislation always felt to me like a moral panic, as defined in the 70s by Stanley Cohen – “where something or someone is identified as a threat to the values of a society” – and as such ridiculous, since it’s a fragile society that can be undone by a creature who will sit for treats.’ So why are we even worrying about it? Let’s worry about statues of dead people instead – we all know they are the threat to the public.
Indeed, just what is Ana Paun, the 11-year-old who was savaged by an XL Bully dog making a fuss about? So what if her arm and shoulder were bitten and she is now afraid to leave the house? This is all a moral panic about a creature which will sit for treats! (Sorry about the bandage on the arm, by the way.)
Indeed, why even worry about these seven children killed by dogs in the past three years, set out by that right-wing rag, the Mirror. Alice Stones was four when she was killed. The previous victims were Daniel John Twigg, three, Lawson Bond, two, Bella-Rae Birch, 17 months, Kyra Leanne King, three months, Jack Lis, ten, and Elon Jase Ellis-Joynes, just 12 days old.
People just need to calm down: stuff happens. Zoe Williams again: ‘It was never only about the dogs – it was also about the owners. When people muttered: “It’s not the dogs – it’s the owners”, it felt heavily class-coded; that these were the types of dogs kept by the wrong type of people.’
I freely admit that it is about the owners, as I explained yesterday. I’d ban the dangerous dogs and the selfish irresponsible owners who like to keep these menacing dogs. Sadly, no doubt that would come with some kind of ‘human rights objection’.
So not only are you classist if you object to attack dogs, you are also racist. But then you knew that was coming. ‘Sociologists in the US describe something similar but refracted through race, Julie LaBagnara contending that middle- and upper-class “white dogs” . . . receive social allowances that dogs associated with people of colour do not.’ So, the logic goes if a black person was walking a King Charles spaniel, and a white person was walking an American XL Bully, like our friend Daren from yesterday, actually we want to flip the legislation and ban the King Charles spaniel instead. Some people actually believe this.
If people of a certain class or race favour dangerous weapon dogs to the detriment of their fellow neighbours or in some tragic cases even their own children, it might be worth asking them what it is that makes them take that risk with other people’s lives and safety. But before you ask them that question, ban their dogs first.