By Arielle Newton
PETA, the powerful and widely recognized animal rights group, wants us to know how terrible kennels are. So, they did so by equating kennels with the Ku Klux Klan. Yea…that Ku Klux Klan; the same domestic terrorist organization that, for centuries, raped, mutilated, and lynched Black people with the blessing and support of local, state, and even federal government.
Do I really need to explain why this ad is remarkably offensive? Guess so, because we live in a society in which decision makers with time, capacity, and funding at their disposal, green light a lazy project that relies on egregious racial contention to deliver its message.
To even suggest that animal abuse is on par with centuries of racialized terrorism that Black people faced at the hands of the Klan is beyond disconcerting.
That’s the core issue with the animal rights movement; a force that is largely crafted by and targeted towards upper middle class people. Animal rights entities project this notion that animals are equal to human beings, without profoundly considering, that Black lives and bodies are routinely and systematically treated harshly, and at times worse, than animals. Black bodies, in a not too distant past, were viewed as property, in a manner very similar to animals. Black people, not too long ago, were considered cattle, a means of production to ensure profit for landowners.
In short, slavery.
And then, when it was illegal to designate us as property, a transformative racial hierarchy (Jim Crow) was established and reinforced through mob violence and intimidation. Ku Klux Klan. And ever since their founding, they’ve been synonymous with extreme racial terror and grotesque brutality.
The idea of Black bodies as cattle exists today. Today, millions of Black people are forced to work for free, while capitalist landowners make obscene profit off free labor. The prison system is a 21st century plantation.
By having a Klan member attend an American Kennel Club meeting, the PETA video—which has subtitles that misspell the white terrorist organization’s name as the “Ku Kluk Klan”—attempts, in a comedic way, to compare dog breeding with the Klan’s trademark white supremacy. While the ad doesn’t mention or depict the beating, castrating, hanging and burning of black people, the image of a Klan member in full regalia conjures up this violence.” –Aura Bogado, Colorlines.
To conflate the racial terror of the Klan in a facetious manner devalues and downplays the seriousness of their formidable racist hate. To further compare their racist philosophy to that of a dog kennel is privileged foolishness.
Once again, the pain of Black folk is relegated to the margins, while our stories are used to promote an upper middle class white ideal.
This post originally appeared on Black Millennial Musings