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.