When I first saw the dog on a plate shirt, I thought it was clever. The text says, “Why not? You eat other animals, don’t you?” To me, that’s a fairly reasonable & succinct way to point up how subjective this society’s view on animals is: some of them we think are cute, so we keep them as part of our family. Some of them we don’t think are cute, so we feel okay about eating them. It’s not logical at all.
Other societies revere & revile different animals: cows in India, for example, have a different status than cows here. And, you know, there’s that whole Asians as dogeaters thing.
I’m not denying that some Asians, at some times, have eaten dogs. What gets me is how pernicious the stereotype is — all Asians as savage dogeaters! They’re eating Fido & Fluffy, what barbarians! — & how it ignores the fact that Western society has its own subjective values about what animals are, for some reason, okay to kill. And it plays into the whole idea of Asians as mysterious, dangerous, & very Not Like Us.
The other day I was looking at vegan shirts online & saw this shirt again. I imagined myself wearing it… & wondered what people would think, seeing an Asian woman wearing a shirt with a dog on a plate, with the most visible text reading, “Why not?”
I decided to pass on the shirt.
(Mind you, as a mixed-race person I get identified incorrectly a lot — but that, & the issue of why people feel they have the right to stand around in public & try & guess “what” I am, is another post for another blog…)