In Massachusetts, a barber has been criticized for posting the phrase ‘Black Labs Matter’ on a sign outside his shop.
Tom Stevens, who has owned the shop for ten years, put up the sign for a cause – to solicit donations for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The phrase displayed outside his shop is similar to the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ – a movement that was spurred by the deaths of unarmed black people during confrontations with police officers in recent years.
Representatives from Black Lives Matter Boston have not yet issued any comment about Stevens’s sign.
Despite the criticism, Stevens said he still considered himself a likeable guy with a sense of humor and that the idea that people are misconstruing his message as something racist is a “far reach.”
“Everybody is trying to make me something I’m not,” he said. “People are really reaching.”
He says the sign was never meant to offend, and that he is only trying to raise awareness about claims that black dogs — like Labrador Retrievers — are not adopted as frequently as other dogs in shelters because of their color.
“Black animals are not adopted as much as lighter animals and stay in a shelter longer,” he said.
In fact, there is an activist group called The Black Dog Rescue Project. The group who “roots for the underdog” aims to raise awareness about Black Dog Syndrome – a phenomenon in which black rescue dogs are typically the last ones to be adopted due to superstitions and Hollywood stereotypes.
Rob Halpin, a spokesman for MSPCA-Angell, would not comment directly on Stevens’s sign.
But in a statement, Halpin said, “black dogs are not surrendered to nor adopted from our three adoption centers in Massachusetts at a rate any different from that of any other dog.”
Some news reports have “tried to make me look like a racist,” Stevens said, but assed that many people have come out in support of his sign.
“If you’re offended by this sign, then you are what’s wrong with America,” one person wrote.
Stevens still hasn’t taken down the sign – he actually added the words “As Seen on TV” to the back – since the sign has appeared on several news stations.
“It’s unhealthy to carry hate, and like I said, I don’t get into the ‘Black Lives Matter’ thing. It’s not about ‘Black Lives Matter,’” he said. “People want to turn it into something evil. … It’s about the animals.”
Source: Boston Globe