Monday, November 21, 2011

Are Dog Parks Really Just For The White & The Rich?

Shaw Dog Park
On Saturday I loaded up my little fur baby and drove the 15+ minutes to the Shaw dog park so he could run  and sniff dog fanny's to his heart's content. I stayed at the park 90 minutes to justify the 30 minute roundtrip commute.

I've written about the lack of East of the River dog parks before. What I wanted to touch on briefly today is the resistance from some River Easters when it comes to certain amneties like dog parks and bike lines.

Those "white people things" as some folks have been known to say.

Call me greedy (I prefer "ambitious"), but I am a person who wants all the wonderful things life has to offer - especially when my taxes pay for them. I much prefer the "and" over the "or." Don't give me a choice because I will try to find a way to have both. I think I have made it clear on this blog that I feel (and expect) EotR should have nice things too.

EotR may sometimes be getting the short end of the stick due to outside forces, this time I am looking inward to the psychology of self imposed limitations. I am looking to the small (but vocal) group of folks who at the first mention of dog parks and bike lines start making insinuations that dog parks and bike lines and the like are for rich white people.

Try as I might I have never understood that type of logic or self-imposed limitations.

The sign of the apocalypse? 

To be fair, the lack of dog parks are not the end of the world and are not even in the top 10 list of issues facing East of the River. I am not so sure I would even have paid this much attention if I didn't  have a dog, but I do, so I notice. I feel the same way about bike lines. I don't bike but I see the logic and benefits of having a safe place to do so, while improving the streetscape. Now I will say this about dog parks and bike lines, projects that get people out and into the community are a good thing in my book. I think something has to be said about the psychology of having places for neighbors and visitors to interact on a social level.  In the Shaw dog park I always notice people standing in groups, talking, and communing with one another. It goes beyond race, age, or paycheck. Everyone can relate. I could write more on the subject for another day but for now I want to focus on the perceived pushback.

Dog people are friendly people.
If someone not of my ethnic or geographic background were to tell me that something was beyond my reach (ex. a neighborhood, a nice car, a quality education) I would think they didn't know me very well.

If someone who looked just like me and lived in the same community told me that something was beyond "our" reach I would think they didn't know themselves very well.

I am a black woman living East of the River and I want it all - dog parks and bike lanes included.

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1 comment:

Ebbie said...

I would love to see a dog park EOTR! It would be so nice to have a place for my puppy to play with other dogs! As we know sometimes progress is slow. For now I think I'd be happy if the dog owners in my neighborhood would scoop their dog's poop!