Stereotypes Lie

Glenn Koenen

As I bent over to pick a beer from the cooler, another nose got within three inches of mine. Dexter doesn’t care about New Belgium Pilsner or Voodoo IPA or even the new Ocktoberfest: he was just curious about what I was doing. Dexter daintily licked globs of Buffalo Chicken dip off my fingers and eagerly supervised the rest of my lunch.

Now, some might not appreciate being nose to nose with a 100+ pound Pit Bull. Others might have screamed when another Pit at the bar-b-que put her head into the baby prison to sniff the nine week old baby girl.

Knocking on thousands of doors last year I met scores of Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers and other imposing dogs which were friendly, loyal family pets. The dogs refused to follow the stereotypes others attach to them. Yes, you can find a nasty Pit or Dobe, just as you can find a kind, moderate Republican. More common are ‘mean’ dogs which wag their tail and smile when they meet you.

On the other side of the world, the Hermit Kingdom threatens the United States with “gift packages” of nuclear-armed long-range missiles [ http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/north-korea-makes-another-threat-to-america-as-donald-trump-and-malcolm-turnbull-hold-talks/news-story/c4d86a4677e2c98bbe7e4c0506022e6f ]. Our orange-haired president responds by saying “Military solutions are locked and loaded…” [@realDonaldTrump on 11 Aug 17], promising to rain ‘fire and death’ north of the 38th Parallel.

Let’s remember that 99.9% of North Koreans do not share the $30 million worth of whisky and cognac imported by the boy tyrant, nor did they get a free Mercedes from the boss [ http://heavy.com/news/2017/08/kim-jong-un-net-worth-2017-lifestyle-money-military-budget-north-korea/ ]. The typical North Korean family has an income of less than $2,000 per year and a Mercedes has little usefulness when just 2.83% of roads are paved [ http://www.businessinsider.com/weird-facts-about-north-korea-2017-4/#north-korea-scored-a-goal-against-brazil-in-the-2010-world-cup-7 ].

Back at the end of the last century, famine forced many North Koreans to eat tree bark: up to 3,000,000 – almost one in eight – died of starvation [ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/how-kim-jong-il-starved-north-korea/250244/ ].

North Korea combines the worst of the Mao cult of personality with Stalin-style forced industrialization. While Kim Jong-un pontificates, it’s easy to forget that the average North Korean family is more concerned with getting rice for dinner. Stereotypes of fanatical yellow hordes itching to devour South Korea, vaporize Guam and conquer the world are sloppy fiction. Underfed conscripts praying to get back to their impoverished families are closer to reality.

Yes, America and our allies have serious issues with the crazed North Korean leader. Still, we shouldn’t forget that families, struggling every day, will be hurt by any response aimed at the tyrant. Ignoring Kim Jong-un’s provocative words isn’t easy but it may be best for the North Koreans.

Late in the evening Dexter did get a touch pushy. He kept bumping my hand with his very large head: he didn’t think he was getting his full share of our hot dog.

Submitted by Glenn Koenen, WCD Member

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