A Dose of (Racist) Stupid v46

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

Marilyn Davenport, Republican official in California, didn’t think Obama as chimp e-mail was racist

Let that sink in for a moment.

A person over thirty who grew up in the United States claims that she did not know that depicting a black man as the child of chimps is racist.

Davenport sent the email depicting President Obama as the child of two chimp parents with the tagline “Now you know why — No birth certificate.” When confronted about the images, Davenport offered this response:

“I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth,” she wrote in an email. “In no way did I even consider the fact he’s half black when I sent out the email.”

“In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race,” she added. “I received plenty of emails about [former president] George Bush that I didn’t particularly like yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them.”

Not to out do herself, Davenport resorted to the usual “I’m not racist” defense:

“Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people-mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”

That does not help either. Everyone likes a good joke, even racist ones. I quite enjoy Bill Maher’s “Chocolate Jesus” and “Black Elvis” jabs at Obama. However, the Tea Party has spent the last two years claiming Obama is not an American citizen and engaging in thinly veiled racism. They have called Obama everything but the word they want to call him. Images like that only show how much racism plays a role in the Tea Party movement.

Worse yet, Davenport refuses to resign, leaving the Republican party in a terrible position with the base. Their base will love this email, and might punish the party if they boot Davenport out. On the other hand, it makes them look like implicitly racist.

This is so incredibly stupid and racist that is almost not worth talking about. But, we need to talk about this because this kind of tacit racism against Obama has been going on since the beginning of his campaign. The Clintons did it, the feminists who supported Clinton did, the right did, and the Tea Party continues to do it with no hesitation. This needs to stop, and the first way of doing it is for the Republicans to ostracize people like Davenport and make them resign. Make it so horrible for them that they will not dare show their faces again.

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21 thoughts on “A Dose of (Racist) Stupid v46

  1. You do know what part of the problem is, right TS?

    People on the Left have cried “ZOMG RACISM!!!” so readily– sometimes in response to “racism” which arguably wasn’t even there (remember the DC official who got fired for saying ‘niggardly’?)– that it’s become background noise that people just tune-out.

    And, in fact, I’ve gotten the impression that the progressive Left’s ever-so brilliant strategy seems to believe that if they simply tar white people as evil racists, they will start winning elections… once “women and minorities” all start acting as one. (The fact that a lot of white women might not be effectively persuaded to vote for people who tar them as racists doesn’t seem to be considered much of a problem in the calculus of Identity Politics wherein the participants argue over the vaunted prize of being the biggest weakling.)

    Anyway, the lesson of the boy who cried wolf is that when the wolf actually shows-up, everyone has stopped giving a shit.

  2. Aych, the ‘niggardly’ debacle was an a misfire. But given the what word it incorporates, one should know to avoid it even if it is actually derived from a Scandinavian word meaning ‘stingy’. However, most of the claims of racism are correct. Whether the reactions were fair is another issue. This case is so clear cut that there is no way for anyone to complain about the anyone crying wolf. We know that comparing black people to apes is racist. There is no way for any US citizen not to know that. So, Davenport should muster up what little decency she has and apologize. It would be the human thing to do.

  3. “However, most of the claims of racism are correct.”

    You’re a deeply disturbed person. Any criticism of the government, on any level, is now met with numerous cries of racism. Anything short of unconditional adoration of Obama is met with cries of racism. If you really believe that my being opposed to abortion (an act that currently ends over 50% of black women’s pregnancies) makes me racist, then the problem is clearly with you, not me. If you really believe that my being opposed to voter intimidation makes me racist, then the problem is clearly with you. If you really believe that I’d happily turn over every last dime I make to the government, if only the president were white, then the problem is clearly with you.

    If you don’t believe those things, then you haven’t been paying attention to all those shrieks of “racist” that you insist are mostly justified. Of course, the only reason I’m writing this is because you chose to call someone a racist, purely because you didn’t get her joke. (it’s the ears) So I can only assume that you do, in fact, think I’m a racist, because of the positions mentioned above.

  4. Oh, I know it was a racist cartoon. I have zero doubt about that….

    …And when the wolf showed-up, shaggy and drooling, the people of the town just rolled their eyes.

  5. My point is not that racism does not exist. My point is that ‘racism’ is a serious charge, a big gun that is only to be hauled-out when absolutely necessary, lest its force be diluted.

  6. Yeah it may well be racist crap – or at least insensitive and stupid

    I recall that there were depictions of George W Bush as a chimp when he was president. Of course it doesn’t exist in the same context (of years of racism), but it GIVES a tiny bit of context to the joke as well. People laughed long and hard at the chimp-jokes about Bush …and all the other jokes

  7. Yeesh!

    There are STILL people bringing up the tired old birth certificate debate which has been throughly debunked to death?

  8. “I recall that there were depictions of George W Bush as a chimp when he was president. Of course it doesn’t exist in the same context (of years of racism), but it GIVES a tiny bit of context to the joke as well. People laughed long and hard at the chimp-jokes about Bush …and all the other jokes.”

    I recall this too. There was an email that made the rounds with depictions of George W. Bush as a chimp as well.

    I tend to agree with aych’s observations too–the tar and feathering of people as racisits or any other derogatory label or sweeping generalization to dismiss their views or to devalue beliefs that you don’t share–well this has been going on for a long time.

    Maybe I’ve just become very cynical because truthfully it is familiar territory– that background noise that people tune out is just viewed as “politics as usual”.

  9. If you really believe that my being opposed to abortion (an act that currently ends over 50% of black women’s pregnancies) makes me racist, then the problem is clearly with you, not me. If you really believe that my being opposed to voter intimidation makes me racist, then the problem is clearly with you. If you really believe that I’d happily turn over every last dime I make to the government, if only the president were white, then the problem is clearly with you.

    None of those things makes a person a racist. Sending out emails of a black man mocked up as a monkey is racist and implies the person who created and sent it is racist. Again, this is pretty basic.

    If you don’t believe those things, then you haven’t been paying attention to all those shrieks of “racist” that you insist are mostly justified.

    Claiming the president is not an American citizen because his father was Kenyan (despite that his mother was born a US citizen). No, that is not racist. Mocking the president for working as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, a predominantly black section of the city. No, not racist. Accusing the president of changing America and taking it away from its people. No, not racist. Passing around clips of the song “Barrack the Magic Negro”. Not racist either. Accusing Obama of being a secret Muslim. That one actually is not racist. It is plain old religious bigotry.

    If there are some other claims of racism that people shriek, I cannot think of any. However, the ones I listed are all valid.

    Of course, the only reason I’m writing this is because you chose to call someone a racist, purely because you didn’t get her joke. (it’s the ears)

    Of course. Because of all the animals with big ears, the only ones Davenport could think of were chimps. No elephants, no koalas, no bats. Just monkeys. And it is coincidence that black people have been historically compared to monkeys and apes. There is no way Davenport could know that, what with her being a natural born US citizen and all. What she did was racist, and given her response it is possible that she is racist.

  10. People laughed long and hard at the chimp-jokes about Bush …and all the other jokes

    That is a fair comment, and it is one of the reasons why I do not take issue with most of the right’s jokes about Obama. Liberals are very keen on complaining about how unfair the comments about Obama are, forgetting that shortly after Bush was declared president by the Supreme Court Comedy Central created a show called “That’s My Bush” depicting the new president as a barely sentiment buffoon. Alex Ross painted him as a vampire sucking at Lady Liberty’s neck. There is little that Bush was not and is not called. However, there is not a history of racism because those jokes.

  11. I’m not gonna lie, even I didn’t know associating black people with monkeys used to be, y’know, a thing. Like, ever. The only other time I saw it mentioned anywhere was… earlier in your blog.

    Point is, I think you should probably take “I didn’t realise it was racist” at face value here.

  12. Point is, I think you should probably take “I didn’t realise it was racist” at face value here.

    It just strikes me as improbable. However, even if true, once told of the effect of the image, she ought to have resigned and offered a genuine apology rather than the “I’m sorry if I offended you” nonsense.

  13. no, No, No, NO!!

    If you can call or compare one President to a chimp, you can compare another (all) to chimps. It’s not respectful of the office, and I didn’t like it when George Bush was compared to one, but if that was “OK” then comparing Obambi to one IS OK TOO. Feelings hurt?? Too bad!!

  14. Heh- i though comparing Bush to a chimp was an attempt to smear chimps.

    Speciesist!

  15. “I’m not gonna lie, even I didn’t know associating black people with monkeys used to be, y’know, a thing. Like, ever. The only other time I saw it mentioned anywhere was… earlier in your blog.

    Point is, I think you should probably take “I didn’t realise it was racist” at face value here.”

    No. Davenport earlier defended a colleague when he sent out an e-mail of the White House lawn with a watermelon patch in the front. I think she’s had plenty of time to wise up to the sort of things that entail racism against Black people. After that sort of incident, I find her supposed ignorance highly questionable.

    http://hooxu.com/marilyn-davenport-controversy-racist-email-photo-video

  16. What this demonstrates to me is the thin skins and shallowness of US politics, it’s politicians and assorted whacko pundits. Not at all surprising for a system in which the primary pre-requisite for success is that of monied cretin.

  17. Incidentally, since I didn’t say it before, if Davenport had no idea such a cartoon could be taken as being racist, then she’s probably too dumb for public office.

    So, you know, typical Tea Partier.

  18. Davenport is in her seventies. It is unlikely she did not know how the image would get taken. Perhaps she thought no one would say anything about it.

  19. I also agree with plasma’s statement, “I’m not gonna lie, even I didn’t know associating black people with monkeys used to be, y’know, a thing. Like, ever. The only other time I saw it mentioned anywhere was… earlier in your blog.”

    I also never knew that was supposed to be racist. As to the watermelon reference, I had/have a vague idea that there is some racist meaning attached to that, although I really don’t understand how it started or where it came from, although I figure it was a political reference again from the past intended to marginalize people just like the terms hicks, hillbillies and “rednecks” are meant to condescend and marginalize people as well. Well a good many people would qualify as assholes in my book who talk about and to others in that way, so I use that term frequently and liberally in today’s climate.

    The point about the chimps is that when jokes and emails were sent around about Bush and he was compared to a chimp a lot of people laughed at it, and yes it is/was very disrespectful as are a lot of commentaries, jokes, cartoons and emails about the President and politicians in general. I found many of the commentaries and depictions very offensive. If anything I think people are getting much worse–just look at the Internet and the types of comments that are everywhere–they are rude and obnoxious and people are very angry. I tend to feel that low behavior is just another sign of the times.

    I’m not making excuses for anyone–it’s just a general observation about behaviors anyway and it seems to me that this has been going on a long time and it is getting worse and it comes from BOTH SIDES! Politics is a nasty business any way you slice it.

    As to your comment, “I find her supposed ignorance highly questionable,” well I feel the same way towards many of the politicians, including Obama and I’m infuriated with Eric Holder.

  20. If Obama was in Australian politics cartoonists would have portrayed Obama is a chimp from the outset. His actual appearance, rather than his race, would prevail. If not a chimp it would certainly be something with a similarly aligned head and ears.

    The range of configurations in which Australian politicians have been portrayed is endless. Never has it generated the angst that is a regular component of political discourse in the US.

    The caricatures created by cartoonists are harmless beside the caricatures we can create in our own minds.

  21. aych says:

    “…then she’s probably too dumb for public office.”

    “So, you know, typical Tea Partier”

    Point: TOO DUMB FOR OFFICE

    You do know that this sentiment is a widely held view among some Republicans, Independents, Tea Partiers and hold on to your seats….some Democrats about the current crop of dummies already in office.

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