Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don't you wish you knew better by now

I'm feeling conflicted by an incident that just happened at the dog park. It's not even an incident, really, but you be the judge. Spike and I were walking around the dog park to get some exercise. One time around is 25 minutes, so I decided to go around twice, and call that my exercise for the day.

The end of the second lap, we were passed by a couple of guys running by us. They weren't dressed in workout clothes, but in street clothes, and had no dog. A little weird for the dog park, but I didn't think much of it. One of them slowed down to pet another beagle in front of us. They were Latino, with shaved heads, muscle Ts and some tattoos.

As Spike and I were getting ready to leave, we saw 2 police cars pull up. Two cops got out and walked into the park (not near us), clearly looking for something and not sure which way to go. Here's the conflict. My first thought was that they must be looking for those two guys. But that's a pretty racist thought and that bothers me. For all I know they could have been looking for the nice (white) family with the Basset hound who was leaving at the same time.

I decided not to do anything. The cops didn't come over and ask me anything, and I didn't feel the need to approach them. I do have a certain mistrust for cops in general (maybe another prejudice?) but that has to do with my vague distrust for "The Man". I'm more troubled by the thought that I automatically assumed they were looking for those two guys. On the other hand, if those were two white guys, with tattoos, muscle Ts and no dogs, running out of the dog park, I would have thought the same thing. So maybe I'm not as much racist as I am likely to judge those with a certain "look".

What would you do/think?


  1. Heh, you're probably overanalyzing the whole thing, but truth be told, I'd probably have gone through the exact same thought process, especially in the context of "white bread" Seattle and being in a dog park: notice those guys sans dog, wondered about the cops, and then left everything well alone for the same reasons. If it makes you feel better, Jorge says you're not being racist as long as the thought process that led to you to conclude those two guys might be the suspicious was consistent across all groups (e.g. had they been caucasian, as you mentioned).

    There was a somewhat similar post on the french bulldog board the other day. Someone was walking her frenchie in Central Park when it was almost dark, and some guy had apparently been following them for a while, with no dog, and then approached them and asked if he could give her dog some water. She politely declined, thinking, what guy goes around the park offering dogs water with no dog of his own? What if the water's poisoned? Then she felt bad about being so suspicious and probably overreacting. I guess these days you just have to risk being rude to be safe, and I guess people at a dog park will notice when other people are walking around with no dogs and acting a bit strange. :P

  2. Thanks. I was feeling like a bad person and vaguely uneasy about the whole thing. I guess it was more the no dog/ running/thug/tattoo thing more than race but that's why I didn't seek out the cops. Since they weren't moving that fast and didn't have their sirens on, it didn't seem like an emergency anyway.


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