Beware of Man
by Michael Faulkner
HBO was soliciting true stories of racism in the workplace, for a television series. I submitted to them the following true story. I received a document in the mail from HBO asking me to sign away all rights to this story, for their use of it. Not only was I signing away all rights to the story, with no possible recognition to be given, no form of compensation was to be expected either. For you HBO subscribers, free of charge.
Beware of Man by Michael L. Faulkner
We were returning from an out of town business trip, a white male co- worker and I. I'm a black male. He drove us to the out of town meeting. The return route took us pass my co-worker's house, so he asked if I would mind if we stopped at his house. I said, "not a problem."
As soon as we exited the car, from the house came ferocious barking. In search of where the sound was coming from, I saw a large German Shepherd at the front door. I look to my co-worker who doesn't seem at all concerned by the display of the dog. I ask him the natural question; "does he bite?"
"Nah," is his reply, then he shouts a command to the dog to shut up.
The dog ignores him. I'm not afraid, but cautious. I trust this white male co-worker, who I spend forty hours a week in a small parts room of a Fortune 100 company. I follow him into the house and he continues to shout commands to the full sized German Shepherd who continues to ignore him. The dog is obstinate as he snarls to show me his teeth with every bark, trying to tell me that I'm not welcomed in this home. If I could speak to him I would tell him, "not a problem, I will leave." I don't move.
I am told that a dog can sense fear. I don't think that is true, because I was growing more and more afraid as I observe this dog's relentlessness. The dog comes as close to nipping at the crotch of my pants. I call out to my co-worker who appears to be aimlessly wondering through his home. Finally, he comes over and pulls on the dog's collar removing him from the room. After doing that, we leave.
My white co-worker is smiling. I assume the smile is brought on at my expense. I even laugh about how afraid I was and my reaction in the face of danger. Little did I know how right I was about my co-worker's devious smile being at my expense.
During the remaining ride back to the office, my co-worker informed me that he was wondering how the dog would react when he saw me. I ask, "why so?" He tells me that, "I was the first black person the dog has seen since a black man broke into his house a week ago. The dog had attacked the black man so badly that he had to be hospitalized, before being taken into custody."
I was a test subject to see if the dog could and would recognize another black man when he entered the house. Someone told me that dogs are colored blind. I don't think so. Instead of a sign saying "Beware of the Dog," it should read "Beware of Man."