Well, back when the NY Post put a dead monkey on its cover with a caption alluding to an incapacitated and/or suddenly absent President of the U.S. conservatives and the Post claimed that people were being over-sensitive and that some times a “cartoon is just a cartoon.” (You can read their full apology as originally published on my other post.) Back then, I did a post outlining some of the long history of racism that began with European theories that Africans were in fact apes and/or recently descended from apes (ie that they were possibly a completely different species than white people – polygenesis – or that they were closer to animals on the evolutionary scale than white people – monogenesis) and how those theories moved from science to journalism to cartoon and film. Both theories were designed to argue that black people were less human, less intelligent, incapable of self-governance, etc. all things that have played into certain kinds of rhetoric about the Obama administration before and after the elections. Despite using primary resource illustrations and references from the various race science influenced media, people still came by to deny it.
Well, Republican Activist in South Carolina, Rusty dePass, may not have the common sense to keep offensive remarks off Facebook, but he at least has enough sense to admit Republicans are very clear about what they mean when they mention monkeys/primates/apes and Obamas in the same sentence. (For those who do not know, dePass is a serious fundraiser in both South Carolina local elections and national Republic ones and has helped several Republican candidates get elected.)
Once word of his comment likening Michelle Obama to an escaped ape from the zoo went public, dePass apologized, in an interview for WisTV:
I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.
According to the same article, he later claimed that he was simply quoting First Lady Obama herself, who he said had said that “we were all descended from apes.” Clearly dePass was hoping to hide behind the theory of evolution here, but like the “a cartoon is just a cartoon” madness of a few months ago, most of us are clear that he was dehumanizing the First Lady of this country and doing so on the basis of a long and sordid racist history.
The comment was made on South Carolina State Attorney General Henry McMaster’s Facebook page after news of an escaped Gorilla (yes I know that is a primate not a monkey, nit pick on your own time) from an area zoo. dePass clearly thought he was speaking to a sympathetic audience.
However, once news of his comments spread, several Republicans interviewed for the same WisTV article said they felt the comment was inappropriate and “racist.”
In response to the first posting about this story at FISTNews blog, someone else shared this lovely ditty:
Not only do these comments point to how widespread the ongoing idea that black people are akin to animals (and therefore lesser) is amongst “the base” of the Republican party but they also show how the lens of race continues to prevent them from seeing normal behavior as anything but abnormal. In this case, the use of a teleprompter once again becomes proof that the Obamas are somehow less smart than other leaders, despite the fact that every politician uses teleprompters and Bush could not even follow his most of the time, to the detriment of this nation’s image around the globe. Other examples, include the Obamas going on a date or Sasha having a birthday party, when every President has taken vacations and thrown birthday parties, and the last President was said to have taken more vacations than almost any other President in modern history, including during national disasters.
I hope the folks at Michelle Obama Watch know about this; they must have round the clock bloggers to keep that site up given how unabashed the aparent bigotry of this nation truly seems to be.
Obviously, I have no comments beyond see my previous post on the NY Post cartoon if confused as to why these comments are offensive. This is just witnessing and documenting I’m doing right now.