Pets Have Become an Extension of White Privilege

Janelle Harris SAVE THIS


Eastern Market on a weekend morning is one of the most vibrant points of interest in Washington, DC, and in the spring, it’s an orchestra of sights, activity, and sound. People are everywhere: emerging from the adjacent boutiques and shops, striking up impromptu conversations in the walkway, and shopping the fresh produce and handmade art on the vendors’ tables that parallel the historic brick market building. Two or three blocks is a tight space for all of that kinetic energy, and there’s occasionally a rude market-goer who thrusts their baby stroller ahead to steamroll anyone in front of it or puts the entire flow of pedestrian traffic on pause by stopping dead in its center to browse. More and more, though, there’s an issue at the intersection of pets and privilege.

On one of those glorious Saturdays, I walked along North Carolina Avenue on the back…

Subscribe to The North Star

Subscribe for $10 a month to gain access to this and many more articles from The North Star.

Do you already have an account?


Join The Conversation


  • christinacrg

    This article is so real! I live in San Francisco and folks let their dogs roam all over the place and they do not move themselves or their dogs for another person or family coming through.

  • t.metreger

    Thank you for this. It’s one of my greatest pet peeves (pun intended!) with my fellow white folk. As an avid hiker with a dog allergy, I’ve noticed how many white people break the rules in parks and let them off the leash. And then when their dogs bark, growl, or jump on you, they are surprised and even offended that it bothers you! And then there is the whole industry that has grown up around privileged pet ownership–organic pet food, pet clothes, even pet marriages!!! It’s ridiculous that people would spend money on this stuff with so much need in this country and world. So thank you for bringing attention to this topic which I have long thought deserves more attention.

  • alicia.jenks

    I wondered when this would ever get said. Bravo Janelle. I thought the strollers in over-crowded public places were tricky enough…

Join the Conversation