My childhood dog, Julius, was big, black and somewhat menacing. So we never had to worry about strangers wanting to pet him. And if one brave soul did decide to venture over to him, he was quick to convince the person that they’d made the wrong decision.
But when my mother got a toy poodle two years ago, I saw how people approached him differently. White people specifically. I noticed this on the day my family decided to take a walk in downtown Indianapolis. Read: There were plenty of White people there. I was born and raised in Indianapolis and never in my Black life have I had so much interaction with White people. People were stopping, smiling, saying hello. But the more I paid attention, the more I realized they weren’t’ talking to us. They were talking to my mom’s toy poodle, Ollie.
“Oh! He’s so cute.”
“OMG how precious!”
“What kind of poodle is he?”
“Can I pet him?”
The smiles and questions thrown our way were all in reference to the dog. There is immense truth to the notion that White people value the lives of animals over Black folks. Honestly, with the lack of response to all the recent mass shootings, perhaps even more than White folks.
There was an example of this phenomena recently when a White woman was actually arrested for petting a Black woman’s dog without permission. Trust me, this is one of those you have to see it to believe it stories.
At first, I was like damn. Three cops for petting a dog?! True, her actions represented peak White entitlement. White women have a particular problem touching things that don’t belong to them, like our hair, feeling like they have access to everything. Whether it’s other people’s bodies or property.
Still, I don’t like to see anyone being “manhandled” by the police for minor offenses. And when she mentioned that she was a rape victim, my heart broke a little bit.
But the longer the video played, the more irritated I found myself. I’m not here to call the woman a liar. What I will say is that, rape victim story aside, she employed quite a few tried and true White woman victimhood tactics. There was crying, hyperventilating, screaming, the incredulous attitude at having to obey authority figures. Classic.
But the longer I watched the video not only did my sympathy for her wane, I started to feel irate at what I was witnessing her get away with. She cursed at the police officers. Kicked the police officers. Resisted arrest. And disturbed all types of peace when she took it upon herself to curse the Black dog owner out.
It’s so fascinating to watch White people interact with the police because we know they do and say things that would cost us an ass whooping, on a good day, or our lives on a bad one.
Hell, Chikesia Clemons was wrestled to the ground and her breasts were exposed when all she did was ask for plasticware and remain seated.
Sandra Bland gave less lip than that White woman and she still lost her entire life.
It’s disturbing to watch. So as much as this woman needed to learn several lessons, her arrested didn’t exactly feel like justice or retribution. It’s just another reminder of the disparities we still face in this country.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.