This evening I’d like to talk shit with you all.
It’s interesting that many of the people most eager to brand those they disapprove of as “racist” have never been victims of real racism in their lives. I am wary of using the word. Since I left the town I grew up in (and escaped the clutches of one college tutor), my ethnic status has done me no harm at all; it has probably been an advantage. This is one reason why I find it particularly annoying to have to listen to women who have used their sex to get ahead (or get more flexible employment terms) in middle-class, public-sector workplaces complain of “sexism” holding them back. On one occasion a well paid female colleague moaned loudly about the on-average 10-percent-plus lower salaries of women at our institution. I pointed out that I was one of two coloured people working in the (large) building who weren’t scrubbing the toilets and asked her if she’d ever heard me moaning about “racist” hiring policies. She shut up.
In about 2 000 posts here I’ve used the word around a dozen times myself—that is not quoting or parodying someone else. Today I’m not going to use the word directly, but describe a phenomenon I’ve noticed and ask you what you think is going on and whether I am right to consider a particular explanation for it.
On the corner of my street, like many others in Britain, there is a shop run by south Asians. This being Brighton, the male proprietor addresses me as “Handsome”, but otherwise it’s pretty much like any other dawn-till-evening newsagent. It sells all the main dailies and monthlies—plus alcohol, groceries, sugary snacks, and sandwiches with curried potato in them.
About one-in-three mornings I go there I notice that leading up to the entrance there is a trail of large dog turds. I’ve thought of several possible reasons for this:
- The owners of the shop have a dog and lead him outside the door of their own establishment to relieve himself.
- This is the point in his daily walk that the dog of an inconsiderate local usually feels the need to empty his canine bowels.
- The owner of the dog responsible has a particular personal grudge against the people running the shop—perhaps Rover was barred from entering one day when his master was in a hurry.
- The owner of the dog has a general ethnic grudge against the people running the shop and uses his dog to express it.
What do you lot think?
He’s obviously a dogmatist!
(Yes, yes, I know I’m not supposed to be here but I couldn’t resist it.)
You need to think ‘outside the box’. A few suggestions:
1. Is the shit strategically placed there to draw passing dogs (dogs love the smell of shit) and hence their owners into the shop?
2. Is it a gimmick by the proprietor to put his shop on the map? Imagine:
Alex: I’m going to the corner-shop, do you want anything?
Charlie: Which one? There’s hundreds nearby.
Alex: The one with the dog shit outside.
Charlie: Ah great! Get me a curried potato sandwich.
3. Is there a visually impaired person living nearby who has requested the shit so he/she can use the odour to find the shop?
4. Is it to remind the proprietor of his childhood and the happy years he spent playing on his family farm?
5. Is it to stop children bombarding the shop?
Just a few ideas.
Woof. Woof. Grrrrrrr. Whine. Woof.
Like any good scientist, you’re going to have to observe what’s going on! Find a good locale where you can watch the proceedings from a distance unseen over six or so consecutive early mornings and late evenings and just watch. Once you’ve discovered the culprit(s), intercept and offer up a plastic shit bag. Then run like fuck!
Or do what they did on the Scott Mills programme on Radio 1, and walk after the culprit with a megaphone, pointing out that “THIS IS YOUR MESS, SIR! PLEASE TAKE IT WITH YOU!”
It is of course possible that there is a guy with a grudge out there … but why the leap to assume it’s race related? Has something happened locally to make you think there’s a particular problem?
(Afterthought: if you’re one of a couple of coloured people working at your place who aren’t bog-ridden, maybe you *should* be moaning about the hiring policies …)
Its obviously a cunning plan by aliens. They intend to kidnap the shopkeeper, and conduct the usual strange alien experiments on him. The dog turds are to put people off from entering the shop while the aliens abduct the shopkeeper, carrry out experiments on him, then return him. When you visit the shop and see no more dog turds, then you will know the aliens have done thier stuff.
Either that, or its some idiotic incontinent dog.
There’s obviously not enough enough information to know for certain why the shit is there, though the first of the four explanations seems a lot less plausible than the other three. There’s no way not to sound melodramatic when one notes that here we are in the year TWO THOUSAND AND SIX and explanation no. 4–racism–can’t be ruled out, but, well:
Here we are in the year TWO THOUSAND AND SIX and racism can’t be ruled out as the explanation.
Not only can’t it be ruled out, but I think it’s also more likely than expl. no. 3: there are more people (even if we narrow this down to Brighton newsagent customers, no less gruge-bearing a group, but probably also no more grudge-bearing a group, than the general pop.) who would do this sort of thing out of racism than out of a personal grudge.
Greater likelihood doesn’t clinch the thing, of course. But it’s not necessary to believe that racism’s _everywhere_ in order to think that in _this_ sort of case, it’s a more likely explanation than at least 2 of 3 others. No. 2 is the only other real contender, I think.
I’m certainly not going to discount the racism possibility, but it would take a peculiarly focused, committed type of person to do this 2-3 times a week, early in the morning, for months on end. I mean, there must be lots of Asian or other minority-owned news stands and convenience stores in town – why that one, over and over? Surely other places, other hours, might be more convenient? Unless he or she has a regular round of businesses at which to do this…which is, again, not just racist but weird.
On the other hand, there is no shortage of appallingly rude, thoughtless, and/or stupid folk who might honestly not stop to think that others find their dogs’ poop to be offensive. I’ve never understood this type of doggie person – I never changed my child’s diapers in public, and I would not stand there and let my dog, if I had one, do his business on someone else’s property without promptly cleaning it up. So maybe it’s just another example of the pervasive everyday incivility the “Eat Shoots and Leaves” author has recently written about.
Assholes are everywhere, you know? Racists constitute just one small subset of the group.
I live on the outskirts of a hideously-white-chav-scum-tastic area of Bristol. Our corner shop is staffed by a grumpy but nice asian young couple.
But I’ve never seen ANY outside-shop-abuse as you describe.
I think you’ve got some really quite nasty neighbours….
Dogs and their owners are wierd critters.
Dogs tend to go for routine and dog owners tend to be imbeciles.
ergo – dog shit outside of shop is a result of imbecility and routine.
Could be someone with a specific grudge against that particular store, and not particularly racist per se, or only incidentally racist.
It’s really hard to say without, as noted above, staking out the place and waiting until it happens again.
Or…you could ask the proprietor?
(Long time reader, first time commenter, love your site, greetings from the US!)
maybe racial minorities make up a disproportionate percentage of ” working classes” and so suffer a disproportionate amount of the “shit” that most of us “working/unworking ” classes suffer?
last year a white bloke, just up the road from me (portsmouth), nearly got his hands/ scalp cut off for telling a chav to pick up shit that the chav’s dog had left in the fella’s garden.
[…] The Ablutionist published an excellent post yesterday describing exactly the sort of casual wanging around of the word “racist” that I referred to on Friday. I wonder what advocate-but-not-adopter of the Stone Age lifestyle Jenny Tonge would have made if she had overheard my mother on a bus telling me as a child whenever my afro got too straggly: “Comb your hair when we get home, Damian. You look like a bushman!” http://www.loveandbentspoons.com/albums/Samuels-First-Album/00640033_G.jpg my mum with my nephew, Little Black Sambo […]
Will may have a point – dog owners take their dogs out when they go and buy a paper in the morning, and are too lazy to pick up after them – when I walk my kids to school, my eyes scan the pavement for that day’s deposits left by dogs taken out early in the morning. Except…….exactly the same thing used to happen to a friend of mine in Manchester. Only differences being that she knew who was stopping outside her front gate each day to let his dog leave a pile, and my friend was Nigerian, not Asian.
Correlation does not imply causation. When you see inequality in the West, it’s usually not about sex or colour—and sometimes it’s not even about money; it’s usually about class.
I think you can train your dog NOT to shit in certain places, though it may be harder to get it to perform to command. The trouble is that “Rover, shit!” sounds rather like “Rover, sit!” And of course that works – perilously – the other way round too.
> dog owners tend to be imbeciles
The older I get, the more I regard a dislike of dogs as a major character flaw.
Come on then Squander let’s have a flame war!
Where in my quote do I express a dislike of dogs?
dog owners tend to be imbeciles
Go on then! Go on! Bet you can’t can you!
Silver River Productions. are currently producing a new documentary all about dog shit.
This documentary has huge on and off air potential, we want it to be fun to watch but at the same time it has a very serious side to it and we are hoping it will have an impact on any irresponsible dog owners and walkers who are letting the side down.
We are currently looking for people who are getting together to do something about the dog fouling in their community—whether it be a group of local residents, a tenants association, active members of the parish council, local dog walkers, angry mums or anyone who has had enough!
We are also keen to hear from people who want to start their own anti dog poo campaign but just don’t know how.
We are not aiming to create a bad reputation for dogs, or responsible owners… but rather produce a light-hearted and upbeat programme, with a serious message. It would be great to have a chat to you if this is something that you might like to get involved in, or if you think there might be a way of letting people in your area know about the programme.
At the moment we are trying to let as many people know about what we are doing as possible who have strong opinions on the subject.
Please call Claire on 020 76374315 for more information, or email@example.com
[…] Remember the newsagents with the turd problem? Today the shop’s south Asian proprietor, a man who comprehensively fails the Tebbit Cricket Test, is mostly wearing an extra-large T-shirt with an enormous cross of St George plastered over it. […]
[…] Remember this place? Yesterday I was in there and a middle-aged white bloke in a cravat is sounding off at the (Gujarati) proprietor as the nearest consultable expert on the question of contemporary Indian pulchritude. “Everybody says that one on Big Brother* is beautiful, but I’ve seen better. She’s very pale skinned. I wonder if she uses that skin lightening skin like some Indian and black girls use. I’ve seen better. Who was that Miss World?…” Proprietor: “Aishwarya Rai?” Cravat Man: “You know, the one who was Miss World…” Proprietor: “Aishwarya Rai?” Cravat Man: “I suppose she’s very clever, but so was the one who was Miss World…” Proprietor: “Aishwarya Rai?” Cravat Man: “Yes. That’s the one.” That resolved, within seconds Mr Cravat is wibbling on about the cricket: “…He should have walked. There’s only two players who always walk: Gilchrist and Lara…” […]