If I Have To Read About One More Bigot Calling The Obamas “Monkeys”…
I’m fully aware of the fact that people have been calling President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama out of their names since he became a serious candidate for president years ago. I also know that people have been calling Black folks every type of primate for centuries. However, it could just be me, but I’ve noticed as of late that comparing the Obamas publicly and proudly to monkeys has become something of a new trend. It’s as tired as tired can be.
Like Arkansas teacher Trent Bennett. He didn’t think twice about calling FLOTUS a “nasty chimp” and President Obama a “spider monkey” on Facebook. This teacher, charged with the important role of shaping young minds, didn’t care if his students, or anyone for that matter, read his racist remarks. His comments are reportedly being investigated by the Malvern School District he’s employed by.
Then there was Pamela Taylor, director of the Clay County Development Corp (CCDC) in West Virginia. She called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” on Facebook after the election, and her ugly comments were affirmed by the mayor of Clay County, Beverly Whaling. While Whaling would resign from her post after the comments went viral, Taylor was allegedly cut from her position in November, only to be reinstated. It wasn’t until the state felt prompted to review its contracts with the nonprofit that the obvious move was finally made and Taylor was fired.
And then there’s Carl Paladino, the New York co-chair for the Donald Trump campaign. When asked what he hoped would go away in 2017 (as part of a lighthearted end-of-year survey), Paladino said he’d like to see Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.” When he was confronted about his hateful remarks, including ones where he said he wished that President Obama would die of mad cow disease in 2017, Paladino called it all a “mistake” and blamed his “deprecating humor” on a “bad” president.
And the list goes on. Doctors, radio and TV hosts, mayors, House candidates, Fox News viewers and pretty much racists of all walks of life have made monkey comments. And while the obvious response from many is to blame president-elect Trump for all the vitriol being spilled openly these days, these racists (and the few still in hiding) have been bigots for quite some time. He’s only made them more comfortable. Despite the fact that they should take comfort in the fact that President Obama will no longer be in office after January, they can’t contain themselves. That’s when the real reasons behind their disdain for our POTUS come out, loud and clear.
But that’s what happens when you don’t have a real reason to hate someone. You dwell on the surface stuff. You try to call them ugly, or manly or compare them to monkeys. (You would think that after centuries, people could come up with something better…). You try and remind people that they are still just this or only that. When you know that they’ve accomplished more than you believed they could, you try to belittle them in the most trivial ways possible.
And with President Obama preparing to finish a second term with high approval ratings and at the top of Gallup’s Most Admired list based on votes, all some people can do is scramble to demean. It says a lot about them, but it also says great things about President Obama and the First Lady. Despite the low blows and the incendiary comments, they truly do go high. They focus on the good in this country, on hope, and leave such pettiness to be checked by people who have the time for it. They let the people talk, because the only way such small-minded individuals think they can overshadow his accomplishments and the marks their family has made on this country is to try and drown out the positive with negative talk.
But attempts to undermine their legacy, President Obama’s specifically, only further amplify the fact that they’re a class act. There’s been no controversy, no bad behavior from their daughters, no incidents or squabbles. Therefore, folks find themselves desperate to grab for something. And with President Obama still in the news for his last initiatives and moves, moves to further solidify his legacy in preparation for what is sure to be a sh-t show for the next four years, the bigots are barking. And with that comes the “monkey” card.
All of it is yet another reminder that there wasn’t anything post-racial about President Obama’s election or terms. In fact, his election may have increased the racial tension. But detractors can’t change what’s already been set in stone. No matter where you stand on the issues, you have to give the First Couple credit for consistently remaining above the obvious hatred and for giving the haters nothing but dust and their own ugliness to work with. And if you can’t, that’s okay. We clearly know whose side you’re on.
Images via Splash