You can send me to work-sponsored CRT seminars, inculcate my children in the classroom, you can cancel friends and neighbors, but you come for my dog, you've gone a bridge too far my friend.
When I attempted to explain the complexities of species, race, and gender through a feminist multispecies ethnography to my dog, he quickly lost interest and chose instead to lick his private parts.
That explanation appears in Katja M. Guenther's book "The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals" and I'm pretty sure she wrote it on purpose.
"I explore these complexities of species, race, and gender through a feminist multispecies ethnography."
I have newfound respect for my dog's decision-making abilities.
Here is another passage. See if you don't start thinking like my dog.
Multispecies ethnograpny becomes an intersectional feminist project by attending to issues of power and inequality within human-animal relationships at both individual and structural levels. A feminist approach opens doors to querying how human-animal relationships are raced, classed, and gendered; how the race, class, and gender associations of both humans and animals shape their life chances; and how identities of race, class, gender, and/or species are deployed in efforts to resist institutional powers.
Keep in mind, someone wrote this and believed it conveyed useful information that would further the human condition.
Now multiply that across 312 pages.
While the book came out last summer, it has started to gain some traction in animal rights circles which alarmed animal rights pioneer Nathan Winograd enough that he wrote the article referenced in the tweet above.
While he does not note it in his article, Winograd gets a shout out in the book, CRT-style!
"The spokespeople for the no-kill movement include white men advocates like Nathan Winograd."
She thinks it's important in a discussion of the no-kill movement to identify people by their race and gender, because that's really important all the time everywhere.
The book is not only full of CRT gobbledygook, it's also horribly, painfully, sloppily written.
These two sentences appear in adjacent paragraphs:
Although no-kill advocates sometimes disagree with each other on how to define the approach...
No-kill advocates disagree on the details of the approach...
Guenther is an Associate Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside.
You probably didn't see that coming 7 seconds into reading this piece.
Wait, I'm sorry, "Guengher is a white woman Associate Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside."
Just trying to keep in the spirit of the thing.
Winograd's problem with Guenther's book is that for all its expressed concerns regarding the "issues of power and inequality within human-animal relationships" she excuses abuse of animals by non-white people for reasons that are in fact expressly racist.
Guenther writes that, because of racism, the overwhelming majority of the dogs who ended up at the Baldwin Park, California shelter where she worked as a volunteer had belonged to poor people of Asian and Latino heritage and, to a lesser extent, black people.
The problem with that insight? According to Winograd,
When I ran a shelter in a predominantly white community... most of those who surrendered animals were white. Indeed, of all the counties in the US with a 90% or better placement rate, the one with the highest per capita intake—over five times that of Los Angeles County—is 90% white, only 3% Latino and less than 0.5% black. In other words, the ethnicity of the people who surrender animals to shelters is largely a function of demographics, not of race.
Let's face it, facts and data too often get in the way of a good neo-Marxist diatribe, so let's not do that.
Guenther deliberately rejects objective evidence of this kind, admitting that "it is not possible for me to be impartial": "I was trained in sociology, a discipline that emphasizes impartiality and the need to systematize observations and analysis in ways that distance the researcher from the researched. I deliberately turn away from these tendencies and instead embrace the messy possibilities of being a researcher with complex ties to the social setting I am analyzing."
"I deliberately turn away," from "impartiality and the need to systematize observations and analysis", the white woman professor writes.
Hey, can we all do that? It would really cut down my work load here if I didn't have to mess with "research" and "facts."
Guenther Stereotypes and Infantilizes People of Color.
Evidence shows that dogs in inner cities are neither disproportionately dangerous nor poorly treated. People in inner cities live with dogs for the same reasons as the suburban wealthy: they want companionship and social connection. Guenther's book perpetuates unsubstantiated prejudices about the inability of people of color to provide appropriate care for their animals. And she denies their individuality by referring to all Asians, Latinos and black people as "the collective Black."
Nothing better than having a white professor of gender & sexuality studies lecture us all about the inability of people who are not white to properly care for animals.
Because justice or something.
Despite the fact that pet ownership has doubled, the number of dogs and cats killed has gone from roughly 16 million a year to less than one million. It's been called "the single biggest success of the modern animal protection movement."
Winograd fears that Guenther could undo all that.
Yet, in her recent book The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals, Katja Guenther claims that dogs are being killed because of "capitalism, anthroparchy, white supremacy and patriarchy." She argues that allowing dogs to sleep inside is a privilege reserved for the white and wealthy and that policies against keeping dogs chained up in backyards are intended to oppress people of color by imposing "middle-class norms of animal keeping in which companion animals are considered family and treated accordingly," which ignore the fact that people of color "are themselves trapped in poverty, may have few options for legitimate income generation and possibly rely on their dogs for … status."
We've seen this before. Reducing everyone to "groups," Guenther, the "Great White Savior" coming along to explain how people who aren't white can't possibly be expected to care for an animal properly, her contempt for "middle class norms," the gratuitous swipes at "capitalism," and the obligatory nod to "white supremacy."
On the one hand, Guenther writes that people of color should not be held responsible if they mistreat animals ("including medical neglect") because they lead precarious lives. On the other, she criticizes rescuers for using "the animals as instruments for reproducing whiteness" when they take "the dog out of the ghetto" and give it to "the ‘right' kind of adopters.
The "right kind" of adopters are the ones who can care for an animal, and non-white people don't need Guenther telling them they are inherently incapable of that because they aren't. Caring for animals is not a white thing, it's a human thing.
This gets to the true beating racist heart of Critical Race Theory, and neo-Marxist thought in general.
It is deeply condescending to people of color. Criticisms of CRT by white people are often dismissed as "white tears," but it's not just whites who are the object of this neo-racism it's everyone, everyone is the target of CRT's overt, explicit, right-out-in-the-open racism.
That is why CRT should not be coming for the dogs.
It should be going to the dogs.