DC Trawler

Mocking Obama for eating dogs is racist or something

You’re probably not smart enough to figure that out by yourself, which is why you need the New York Times to explain it to you. Here’s Janet M. Davis, associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, taking to the pages of the Grey Lady to educate you:

The Dog Ate My Birth Certificate

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last month, President Obama playfully referenced a passage in his memoir in which he told of eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia. Riffing on Sarah Palin’s line — and responding to Republican criticism — he said, “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious.” (Of course, Republicans have had their own canine issues, given Mitt Romney’s predilection for fastening his Irish setter to the top of the family car in the 1980s.)

Although dog-eating is taboo in the United States, personal consumption of dog meat is legal in most states…

Yet in the United States, dog-eating has been a longstanding flashpoint for anxieties about race and citizenship. In 1904, a group of scantily clad Philippine Igorots from the Luzon highlands reenacted a daily “Bow Wow Feast” at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Loosely based on the custom of sumang, in which a dog was sacrificed and eaten after military victory, the dog-eating spectacle was a sensation…

No dog theft was ever substantiated, but American politicians readily declared that the Igorots were “unfit” for American citizenship…

The strange relationship between dog-eating and anxieties over race, assimilation and citizenship reemerged into public view immediately after the Vietnam War in 1975. The federal Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act helped relocate approximately 130,000 Indochinese refugees to America as permanent residents. Stories of ravenous bands of canine-eating refugees quickly flooded the media…

Our fears of consuming canines, then, have had more to do with moralistic xenophobia and exclusion than with animal welfare, public health or ethical taboo. The flap over Mr. Obama’s youthful consumption of dog meat is a resurrection of the birther-conspiracy wolf dressed in dog’s clothing.

Exactly. Well… except for the fact that Obama wrote about eating dogs in one of his books. Other than that, it’s just like the whole Birther deal. Also, Romney put his dog on top of a car, which is every bit as much of a “canine issue” as eating them.

I’d like to thank Prof. Davis for reminding us that Obama eats dogs, and I’d like to suggest a new campaign slogan…

Obama 2012: Eating Dogs Isn’t Illegal in Most States, You Racist.