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Dogs do not understand the concept of racism!


WHy are people trying to imbue human prejudices on animals?? Are we that stupid to think that animals are capable of racism. Dogs are reactive and respond to stimuli such as smell. Although they are domesticated they still react on a primitive plain exempt of reason and logic.

Can a dog be trained to attack certain things and people. Absolutely! With animal psychology and all the advanced forms of training and behavioral conditioning there is no doubt. But this movie wants you to believe that a dog has a human mind which exclusively hates blacks. I don't buy it.

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I agree, but Fuller was making a movie about human racism, and the dog is used as a symbol of that--he's clearly not just a dog, and shows abilities that would have to be considered supercanine.

I don't think it works either. He didn't quite figure out how to adapt the late 60's setting of the novel into a story set in the early 80's. He showed almost no instances of human racism--there is only one human racist in the entire film, and he's an old man from the south. Like there was no racism against blacks in 1980's Los Angeles?

Fuller was a wonderful filmmaker, and an admirable man, who despised racism, but he had fallen behind the times.

Read the book. MUCH better. And the dog acts like a dog--and in the end, is the real hero of the story. In a sense, he triumphs over his racist training. He refuses to let himself be used anymore.

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so you are saying the dog was used as an instrument of racial hatred. A tool of racism so to speak? That makes more sense.

There was a movie in the early 70's called "The Doberman Gang", about Dobermans trained to rob banks. This idea was fun and interesting , but far from realistic. Dogs do not understand the concept of money. Sure, you can train a team of dogs to perform separate tasks, but a dog's mind isn't complex enough to understand the urgency or value of money.

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so you are saying the dog was used as an instrument of racial hatred. A tool of racism so to speak? That makes more sense.


The actual dog Romain Gary wrote about (and Gary admits he took some artistic liberties himself in telling the story of his and his wife's experiences, we should remember) was supposed to have been trained by a southern policeman--the father of that policeman, who was also a trainer, showed up to claim the dog, with his grandchildren in tow--he was a tall, handsome, charming man--Gary really let him have it with some pretty savage sarcasm.

Batka (the name of the dog in the book) probably would have been one of those dogs you see in the archival footage of civil rights protestors in Birmingham being harassed--the kind of police dog used to intimidate people, chase down suspects, etc. He was there for added muscle--no indication he was used for drug sniffing, tracking, etc. Faster than any man, extremely powerful and intimidating, and willing to do what he was told without question. Shock troops.

And he had clearly been conditioned to have a intensely hostile reaction to black people, specifically black men. He did not have the same reaction to very small children who happened to be black, who he even showed affection towards on several occasions. No mention of how he reacted to black women. He did not actually hurt any black people during the time Gary knew him, but he was certainly capable of it.

I know from my own experiences that a dog who is attacked by another dog of a specific breed (say a poodle), may often react badly to that type of dog in the future--that's prejudice, and it's a natural reaction, that might save the dog's life if he or she were living in a wild state. Jumping to conclusions based on past experiences may often lead to misjudgements of the other dog, but better to err on the side of caution if you believe your life could be at risk. None of that constitutes racism against poodles. And of course body coloration is meaningless to a dog. Wolves in the same pack may be several different colors. Basically, you could train a dog to have a fearful and/or hostile reaction to anything--you could make him be aggressive towards people wearing hats. This is particularly true of breeds like the German Shepherd Dog, who are especially trainable and open to suggestion.

It's important to remember that the real dog was retrained to like and obey black people within several weeks. Unfortunately, as Gary tells the story--well, read the book.

There was a movie in the early 70's called "The Doberman Gang", about Dobermans trained to rob banks. This idea was fun and interesting , but far from realistic. Dogs do not understand the concept of money. Sure, you can train a team of dogs to perform separate tasks, but a dog's mind isn't complex enough to understand the urgency or value of money.


I've yet to see that movie, so I can't comment--obviously a dog can't understand the value of money, but he could learn to associate it with obtaining praise and rewards from his people, and that might make him feel happy and reassured in its presence.

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Its a metaphor used to explain the nature of racism as a taught phenomenon. You might be corrected in your assumption that a dog is incapable of the rationality it takes to convey the human institution of racism, but it is used as a parallel to explain that if an animal can be taught to attack a specific type of person, so can a child be instilled with values to hate a person based on their race. Its an argument that posits this idea that racism is not a biological construct, but one that is nurtured by individuals. Whether or not you think White Dog successfully portrays this idea, it is a basic narrative tool that does make logical sense.

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wild animals like to attack blacks too, nobody trains them.

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Wild animals are no more inclined to attack one race of humans than any other race of humans. They attack people for many reasons, but race is not one of them.

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wild animals are inclined to attack congoid males, because they are more masculine and rough..not a bad news for groids males.. just ask spike lee why

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I hadn't seen this comment until now.

I see you produce absolutely no evidence to back it up.

And that's because there is no evidence.

If African males are attacked more often by wild animals, might that not be due to the fact that they spend more time than any other subset of humans out in the African bush, where there are an exceptionally large number of dangerous animals to attack them--and because they are less likely to carry firearms, or be in motorized vehicles? If whites were roving out in those wild places alone, in equal numbers, without guns or cars to take shelter in, there would be just as many attacks on them, if not more.

Wolves were probably more likely to attack Native Americans than white people, back before North America was settled by Europeans--because white people had guns, and mercilessly exterminated them, whereas Indians co-existed on a greater level of equality. Even so, wolf attacks on Indians were always rare (probably much less common than wolf attacks on bears and cougars), and there was a mutual respect between pack and tribe, who had much in common in their lifestyles.

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Your absolutely right the only animal on this planet that hates are humans. Animals can be taught to fear certain people. If a dog has been abused/mistreated by a say a man then that dog is going to be more likely to fear men. In the case of the movie if dog is treated badly by someone of a certain race then that dog will see people of that race/color as bad. One can also have issues if their pet has not been socialized with a certain people whether gender, skin complexion or something else. This is why it is real vital to socialize ones dog with all kinds of people (young, old, children, all different skin complexions etc) even more if you have a powerful breed like a GSD. Sometimes if a dog has been attacked by another dog in the past this can make them dog aggressive towards the breed or dogs that look similar to the dog that attacked him/her or even all dogs in general its the whole let me get you before you get me concept.

Animals have four options Flight, Fight, Avoidance or submission.

A wild animal is no more likely to attack someone who is dark-skinned then someone who is light skinned. In general wild animals will avoid/flight from people if possible. In cases where they do attack it’s often because they were being harassed, person spooked them, extremely hungry, a mother with young near by, or the animal is sick.

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hey...You do know this film is based of true story, right?

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To be specific, it's based on a novel that is based on a true story. And in the novel, the dog has been specifically conditioned to attack black people by racist white police officers--and even so, in the course of the story, he doesn't actually maul any black people. He's mainly just warning them to stay away, not understanding that they represent no actual threat.

Read the novel, and you'll understand that the movie bears only a slight resemblance to it--Fuller very deliberately chose to tell a different story, based very loosely on Romain Gary's book. Which was his prerogative, but the novel's story is a lot more interesting and revelatory, IMO.

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WHy are people trying to imbue human prejudices on animals?? Are we that stupid to think that animals are capable of racism. Dogs are reactive and respond to stimuli such as smell. Although they are domesticated they still react on a primitive plain exempt of reason and logic.

Can a dog be trained to attack certain things and people. Absolutely! With animal psychology and all the advanced forms of training and behavioral conditioning there is no doubt. But this movie wants you to believe that a dog has a human mind which exclusively hates blacks. I don't buy it.


I actually think it's the other way around... the dog isn't "prejudiced", but the man who trained him is. (Dogs don't act on instinct alone, but also on conditioning.) I think the film's idea is not to suggest that dog's can act like humans, with a human mind, but that humans can act like dogs, with a dog brain.

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If only humans could act like dogs, instead of trying to make dogs act like humans. What a better world this would be.

Of course the dog is prejudiced--and there's nothing wrong with prejudice in an animal. Don't you think mice are prejudiced against cats? In a state of nature, prejudice helps you survive. You can't assess potential predators and prey as individuals. There are instances of cats and pet mice making friends. A mouse that waits to find out if every cat he sees is friendly or not is going to get eaten pretty damn quick. Prejudice is a necessary part of life. It's just not all there is to life. Human beings need to be able to trust and cooperate with each other in order to survive, and whole groups that live in constant daily contact mistrusting each other leads to horrible social problems.

Our behavior with regards to skin color is about as rational as two wolves in the same pack hating each other because they're different colors (and there are dark and light-colored wolves in just about every wolf pack). Although members of other packs may be treated as enemies, it's necessary for some outsiders to be accepted as new members, in order to maintain genetic diversity. If wolves were prejudiced the way we are, they'd go extinct.

Our mistake, since we no longer live in a state of nature, is to take this natural reflex called prejudice and RATIONALIZE it. To say "Well, this one time a black man hit me and took my wallet, or I heard a story about that happening to somebody else, so I'm going to treat all black people as if they're all going to hit me and take my wallet." Which when you get right down to it, is how a lot of white people are reacting to President Obama. John McCain looked TERRIFIED in those debates. You could see him desperately resisting the impulse to put his hand over his wallet.

Racism is rationalized prejudice. And thus, not only useless (because it doesn't respond to contradicting evidence), but in fact antithetical to society. Racists CLING to their prejudices, no matter how outmoded they become. Prejudice becomes an end in itself, and they'd rather die than give it up.

Point is, if a dog is repeatedly brutalized by people of one race, and treated kindly by people of another race, the dog is understandably going to prefer the company of the latter, and may (depending on personality) want to attack people who resemble the ones who brutalized him, seeing them as a threat that has to be neutralized. Same deal with dogs who are treated badly by men and kindly by women. Or dogs who have been treated badly by people wearing hats.

It's not racism, or sexism, or hat hatred--it's just a response to past experiences. Humans do the same thing, and up to a point, it makes sense for us as well--if you've been violently attacked by a group of young men of a certain ethnicity and social class, would you willingly linger alone in the presence of a similar group? For blacks or whites, such 'color-blindness' could, in some instances, prove fatal.

Racism is when you try to justify your fears and resentments towards other races--you have to see all members of a given race as deficient in some way, even though you can see they don't all behave the same way. You have these visceral negative emotions towards a subset of humanity that you can't control, and you want to prove they are not only normal, but virtuous and really the only sane way for anybody to feel.

An dog has absolutely no need to do that, and probably no capacity for that kind of abstract thought. And thus, when shown sufficient evidence that not all people of a formerly-feared group are bad, is able to change his or her behavior, without feeling like his worldview has been discredited. His worldview is "I like people who are nice to me, and I don't like people who are mean to me." He may also, sadly, pick up on the racist feelings of his human pack members, and shy away from the people they're secretly afraid of. But most well-socialized dogs take people as they come, and are willing to assume we're all potential friends, unless we give them reason to think otherwise.

They're not as smart as we are, which means they're also not as stupid. Get it?

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"Our behavior with regards to skin color is about as rational as two wolves in the same pack hating each other because they're different colors (and there are dark and light-colored wolves in just about every wolf pack). Although members of other packs may be treated as enemies, it's necessary for some outsiders to be accepted as new members, in order to maintain genetic diversity. If wolves were prejudiced the way we are, they'd go extinct."

There are more differences in African-Americans and caucasians than the color of their skin, e.g. facial features, hair ... A pack of grey wolves would not ever accept a red wolf into their pack.

You are also misinformed about how wolves build their packs. The most common way is for a young male to leave his pack and entice another female to mate with him. In time, if all goes well, they will form a pack through their litters and possibly by having young males from other packs join the newer, smaller pack. I've never known of a healthy wolf pack accepting a lone wolf.

John McCain may have performed poorly in the debates but he certainly was not terrified. For someone who writes so much about prejudice, you seem to have your own when it comes to this nation's political parties.

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As I'm sure other people have pointed out to you by now, the movie is not saying the dog is racist, but that he was trained specifically to attack black people.

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This isn't about concepts, it is tangible reality. Dogs DO become trained to react in this way towards specific types or races of people. It depends on the human who teaches the dog. Just as so much depends on the human who teaches the children.

You are placing your own human value judgement on the dog when you call it a racist or when you say they attempted to portray him as a racist.
It is rather silly.

However don't try to suggest that this isn't real because White Dogs are common even now. They aren't all such successful killers but they have killed in the past. The precedent exists in reality.

The only thing close to a supercanine ability I saw in the film is when he worked out the way to jump over the fence. This isn't even beyond the realm of possibility. He didn't know the fence was electrified because we just saw him try for all he was worth to climb it....and fail. If he was endowed with supercanine powers he would have made it over the fence without the use of the truck. I've seen extraordinary ingenuity from dogs and cats....not even mentioning apes and other animals. I'd wager you will find many animals that could have escaped from that compound.

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Dogs and by extension, most men, donot understand racism...

Its a conditioning thing, that people are learning. The whole point of the granddaughters is that now they are learning from the old man's hatred, probably without knowing why.

There is one inconsistency of this movie: the canine was mistreated by blacks, and thus reacted badly against blacks.

The granddaughters will be taught to hate blacks without even knowing why...or having direct contacts with blacks

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The movie (especially the end) is trying to illustrate that the dog was not racist. It was the owner who was racist. The dog's rage is a product of the torture that was inflicted on him as a puppy and because that pain was so deep-rooted into the dog's mind, it could never be removed, only redirected.

And yes the owner's granddaughters are there to show that even people themselves aren't really racist, only manipulated by someone who is. (see also: Monster's Ball)

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