Flat White

What’s woke this week?

4 February 2021

7:02 PM

4 February 2021

7:02 PM

Animal crackers in my soup, racists and speciesists loop the loop, 

Gosh, oh gee, don’t I have fun, swallowing nonsense the woke have spun 

Dogs have taken over the racist mantle from last week’s three wise monkeys and a new woke bestseller argues that approaches to animal welfare are also racist. Duh! Most horrifying of all, the sinister spectre of speciesism reared its pig-ugly head, courtesy of the turkeys at PETA. Read on for your weekly dose of woke gobbledygook. 

Specious speciesism

Speciesism is a thing and if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the idea that human beings are superior in any way to ‘non-human animals’ is an uncomfortable one for the woke. Extend the woke notion of white-supremacist racism, replace marginalised ‘persons of colour’ with animals and you get the drift. White people are still, you know, the snake-in-the-grass, patriarchal oppressors. 

Last week PETA sniped via Twitter at dictionaries: 

Animal-related slurs used to debase humans reinforce inaccurate & harmful characterizations of animals.

PETA is asking@MerriamWebster and @dictionarycom& others to help combat speciesism and reduce animal abuse by removing derogatory definitions of pigs, snakes and dogs.

So it seems it’s okay to debase humans, just as long as derogatory depictions of animals are not invoked in the process. Their list of alternative insult suggestions will obviously elevate the tone of public discourse and contribute to the ‘more inclusive world’ they say they’re trying to foster.

While the folks at MerriamWebster have recently demonstrated a proscriptive approach to language to demonstrate their woke credentials e.g. the term ‘sexual preference’ is now described as offensive, only time will tell if they buckle to woke pressure and trample elephant-like over the murky metaphors or worm their way out of the whole imbroglio with some judicious rat cunning.  My money is on the chicken option. 

just hope there are some appropriate safe spaces for all the animals traumatised by this violent language. Just don’t count on your nearest racist animal shelter, which is all of them, as our next story will show.   

Shelter helter skelter

Critical race theory, the religion that underpins wokeworld, believes that: 

 Race is a political construction that was invented by white people to give themselves power while excluding all other races from it, and racism is the ordinary state of affairs in society, present in all interactions, institutions, and phenomena…  

So it’s not surprising that in a new bookThe Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animalsauthor Katja M. Guenther argues that: “everyday and sustained collisions of capitalism, anthroparchy, white supremacy and patriarchy” are to blame for the killing of animals in shelters.

Scratching your head over anthroparchyIt’s a cute little play on ‘patriarchy’ that hasn’t even made it into Merriam-Webster or any other reputable dictionary yet. Man rules, basically. Funny how they go back to those horrible Greeks or Romans when they want to coin a new word. But I digress.  

There are no prizes for guessing that Guenther is an academic, but her role as Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California hardly qualifies her as an animal expert (or an expert on anything at all, for that matter). Oh, but she has volunteered at an animal shelter. 

The book begins with the story of Monster, a pit bull who was killed, according to Guenther: 

Because he lived in a community of lower-income people of color in which human residents face challenges that threaten their ability to maintain continuous geographically proximal relationships with anyone, human or animal.

Guenther excuses mistreatment of animals by ‘people of colour’ because of racism, of course, while at the same time perpetuating the racist myth that ‘people of colour are somehow unable to look after animals.  

From a class perspective, wealthy people are believed to be too ‘civilized’ to engage in barbaric activities like dogfighting, and it’s no coincidence that the only affluent person who has been publicly shamed for dogfighting in the U.S., Michael Vick, is Black, newly wealthy after growing up in poverty.

It’s also no coincidence that Vick, the notorious and incredibly wealthy former NFL player, served nearly two years in gaol after pleading guilty to charges involving horrific animal cruelty. But he’s black, so racism. 

You can read an excellent dismantling of Guenther’s simplistic arguments in Aero magazine here 

Academia gone to the dogs 

A paper in the Oxford Academic’s History Workshop Journal came to light on Twitter last week, and although the article itself is a year old, it’s just too woke to pass over. Can Dogs be Racist? The Colonial Legacies of Racialized Dogs in Kenya and Zambia is by Josh Doble (a Teaching Fellow in African History at the University of Edinburgh) whose ‘research interests centre on histories of animals, settler colonialism and postcolonial whiteness’. All of which will see you unfazed by his argument that dogs can indeed be racist. Here are some instructive excerpts: 

This paper aims to deconstruct the notion of racist dogs and use it to understand the legacies of colonial power structures. 

So, the notion is a given from the outset. And colonialism is the real problem, naturally. 

Although little has been written on the idea of racist dogs, occasional references to the aggression of white-owned dogs towards Africans – and the corresponding fear of them – hint at its wide currency.

So occasional references morphs into wide currency with a few fell strokes of the keyboard. 

And his conclusion? 

The colonial legacy of racialized animals – combined with the intimate place dogs occupy in white settlers’ lives – makes them particularly powerful discursive agents attuned to the racial politics of post colonial Kenya and Zambia. The ability for dogs to ‘learn’ racism and then act upon their owners’ concealed and subconscious racial views points to the uncomfortable possibility that dogs can be made racist. 

Now you’ve been told. Dogs are ‘powerful discursive agents’ of racism. Shame on you for thinking they were man’s best friend. 

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