“Do Asians eat dogs?” is such a loaded question, especially when asked of Asian Americans by White Americans, that it amounts to a racist microaggression, not an “innocent” question about Other Cultures. Much like, “Where are you really from?”
The short answer: Some Asians do eat dogs.
But that answer leaves unchallenged the racism and ethnocentrism of the question:
- “Asians” – this racializes the question. It is like asking about “Black” crime or “Muslim” violence. It stereotypes Asians. It is like asking, “Are White men child molesters?” Any simple answer plays into its racist framing. That framing becomes clear when it is asked of people because they look Asian, not because they know much about Asia.
- “eat” – each human society or culture has its own taboos about what you cannot eat. Those taboos make little sense outside of the given culture. This question becomes ethnocentric, blind to its own culture, when it assumes without question a taboo against eating dogs.
- “dogs” – Many White Americans seem to see dogs as almost human. That makes White Americans different than most of mankind, but the question assumes they are the “normal” ones.
Countries where dog meat is often eaten according to the English Wikipedia:
- Asia: China, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
- Europe: Switzerland
- Africa: Cameroon, D.R. Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria
- Americas: US
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, Tonga
Note that in most, if not all, of these countries most people do not eat dog meat. But it does take place in each one, even where it is against the law. Most dog meat is eaten in Asia, in China more than anywhere else, but that is true of most food.
Race: Dog meat is eaten throughout the world by all races.
Culture: It is not a matter of belonging to what Westerners call a “backward” culture. Swiss farmers, for example, are known to eat dogs while Comanches considered it taboo.
The Western taboo against eating dogs is just that – a taboo. It has no rhyme or reason to it. Many Westerners eat pigs after all. Pigs are just as intelligent as dogs, if not more so. They too can be pets, as anyone who has read “Charlotte’s Web” knows. Taboos against pig eating in other parts of the world are dismissed as cultural or religious peculiarities. Yet their own taboo against dog eating is never seen that way. Why is that?
The Western ethnocentrism that underlies “Do Asians eat dogs?” becomes clear when you try to flip the question to: “Do Westerners eat pigs?” It does not work, not in the US, because in a Western culture Western practices are made to seem “normal” and “reasonable” and acceptable. Cultural peculiarities come to seem like common sense.
“Asians” make up most of the world. If anyone is “normal”, they are. If anyone should account for their different behaviour, it should be Westerners, not Asians.
– Abagond, 2015.
- White is right
- What if Sam Dubose had been a beloved lion?
- Asian Americans
- The term “Asian”