As one of the only Asian kids growing up in an all white suburb I was bullied a lot — especially because many of the students in my class thought I ate dogs, even though I was American, raised in a white family, and had no connections to China whatsoever.
When I was asked if I ate dogs I would almost always vehemently say no, unless I wanted them to stop bothering me. If that was the case I would say yes and they would slowly back away. For some reason neither answer satisfied their craving for “the truth”.
Even to this day (as an adult) I get asked by kids if I eat dogs and honestly, it’s just heartbreaking to know that racism and hate against Asian people hasn’t changed a bit since I was a kid.
After I made my recent YouTube video about the racism I’ve faced as an Asian American it made me think more about eating dogs and why it’s so immoral in the west. I think it comes down to the fact that morality is different in different places (shocking, I know). The capitalist west treats pets as signs of wealth and also as “part of the family”, where as having pets in developing countries is rarer and therefore, dogs aren’t part of the family — they’re a source of food. And honestly, aren’t we all? Yes, I’m including humans in that description. All living things are a source of food, we only value dogs as pets because there’s this “universal history” that they’re man’s best friend. Yeah, I’m sure they’re smarter than your average chicken, but what’s the difference between eating a dog and giving chickens so many drugs that they can’t even walk anymore? Literally, nothing except an imaginary line we (as the west) drew to say, “We’re better than those poor communist Chinese people.”
In fact, eating dogs in China was a common practice because the Cultural Revolution created a great famine. People in rural areas who suffered the most from Mao’s regime not only ate dogs, but each other.
Nowadays, people in rural China still depend on dog meat because they’re poor. As Americans we’re so blinded by capitalism and privilege in that we don’t need to see dogs as food and are allowed to keep them as pets. There are upper class Chinese people who don’t eat dogs and pet culture is rapidly growing throughout many developing countries (including Brazil), but it’s still something fairly new.
I realize that when people ask me if I eat dogs they’re not only attacking my humanity, but also my class. Yeah, lucky you Bobby you don’t need to eat dogs for food, but some people do — live with it and DON’T judge them. We eat baby cow, baby sheep, as well as full grown animals almost everyday, so don’t shame Chinese or other cultures for eating animals you see as pets just because they don’t have the wealth to be as “moral” as you.
24 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.