In “The Bubble” that is the greater San Francisco area, strange things happen.
Consider the Berkeley City Council, perhaps the most enlightened progressive body this side of Moscow. The good folks of this council are the touchiest and feeliest of any elected body in the known touchy/feely universe. There’s not a racist or xenophobic thought among them.
Or, is there?
Last week the Berkeley City Council conducted a tearful hearing on the eating of dogs in China. It passed a resolution condemning “the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China, and urging China and all countries to end the slaughter of dogs and enact an animal anti-cruelty law with provisions banning the dog meat trade.”
The action came at the hounding of animal activists who hope this will be the beginning of a ban in Berkeley of all products involving “violence to animals” — including the eating of meat, fish and products that oppress animals, like milk and cottage cheese.
(By the way, that’s not going over big with Berkeley’s BBQ joints, but I digress.)
Please know that I am not making this up. Nor am I fibbing when I say “The Bubble” is so sensitive that the council literally took guff for being racist and culturally insensitive by making Western judgments on the Chinese culture.
Says Luke Tsai of the East Bay Ex-press:
“I’m of two minds whenever I hear American activists and politicians make a big show of how horrified they are by Chinese cultural practices like eating dog meat or shark fins. On the one hand, I get it: I like dogs, too. And many accounts indicate that the Yulin dog meat festival goes way beyond the pale, in terms of the cruel treatment the dogs suffer before they’re killed.
“On the other hand, isn’t there room to acknowledge that different cultures have different norms about which animals are acceptable to eat? And moral grandstanding against Chinese dog eaters — a relatively small percentage of people in China — only helps feed into a certain kind of racism and xenophobia.
Ask any Chinese American or Korean American about the dog-eating jokes they had to endure growing up.”
Whoa. When Berkeley is called racist and xenophobic you know it is only a matter of time before the rest of us get that treatment.
Now, dear Nevadans, don’t get me wrong. I consider San Francisco to be one of the great cities of the world. It’s filled with wonderful people exploring what it means to be a community of the world.
But sometimes, the results produce a damn funny byproduct. The anti-dog-eating xenophobes of Berkeley is one. Life in “The Bubble”, ladies and gentlemen. Or, should I say: Fellow racists?
(Sherman Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media. He splits his time between Nevada and San Francisco. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)