IS YOUR DOG RACIST?
Dogs bark at people they don't know. It's a sweeping statement that, while there are many depths of explanation and reasoning nuances, is generally true. But when it comes to different nationalities, different races and different skin colours, at what point does the discomfort come from not knowing the person compared to not being familiar with a particular characteristic? And can it ever be a case of not liking that physical detail?
No, there's been no recorded instances of animals leading lynchings, calling anyone a cracker or choosing to wear any kind of hooded cloak, but recognition from a dog's eye view is something that's not only fascinating but often shrouded in a lot more detail than it first seems.
LOOK TO LITERATURE
People have To Kill A Mockingbird and The Help to look to for morality matters, but dogs? Not so much. However, the topic has been raised plenty of times in the past. White Dog, a 1982 Samuel Fuller American drama based on Romain Gary's novel of the same name in 1970, looks at the bigger picture, asking the question of whether racism is inherently ingrained into personalities or whether it's reversible and open to any level of enlightenment.
If the questions have been asked of that situation, then the same must be applicable to the reverse. Glossing over the neanderthal reasons as to why, if an owner was to instil their own values of negativity for another person's physical attributes, surely over time the dog would pick up on this way of thinking.
The issue can also be broken down to a base level of pets not showing prejudice for any other reason than someone being different from themselves. The resulting fear, anxiety and potential aggression, however, is something that can come from somewhere a lot closer to home than you may realise.
While dog racism isn't a thing, the details involved in how pets perceive who they meet based on an endless number of variables is something that's fascinating to explore. More importantly than that, as humans have fallen foul of prejudice, perhaps it's time we take a look to our pets for advice on how to act with humility and empathy to everyone.