Is it the 1870s?

March 14, 2009 at 2:00 am 2 comments

I will have to check my calendar. I could have sworn we were all living in 2009 but perhaps not. Given a tidbit of news I stumbled on this week, maybe we are still living in the late 19th Century when Jim Crow laws started to be enacted in the United States and African-Americans suffered the humiliation of segregation.

Cast your eyes over this photo – see anything that might make you mildly (or really, really) angry?

What on earth was Barnes & Noble thinking? Here we have a “Presidential display” – books relating to Barack Obama and the First Lady. And in the middle of it all – a book entitled Monkeys: A Captivating Look at These Fascinating Animals.

Now, I hasten to add that B&N are saying that it was all a malicious act and have issued a public apology. They believe a customer replaced one of the books in the display window in their store at Coral Gables, Florida with the Monkey book. I’m sure if I tried to replace a book in a window display in let’s say Borders here in Sydney, I’d be spotted pretty fast and hauled off. So perhaps it was a B&N employee who would not raise suspicion by being in the window? And I wonder how long people were outside staring at the display, snapping away before B&N caught on? Perhaps someone had a grudge against B&N. Whatever, I don’t think B&N is a pack of racists.

What it really demonstrates is undercurrents of racism in the US despite Americans electing their first African-American Prez and the ignorance of idiots who still lurk in our society.  And then we have this cartoon I came across from the New York Post that frankly seems to depict Prez Obama as a chimp:

It would seem to be a thinly veiled attempt to say that the author of the stimulus bill (and that would be the Prez one would assume) is like a rabid chimpanzee that should be shot. Frankly, it’s an extremely violent cartoon IMHO. If we couple this cartoon with the B&N monkey debacle, I think we have to ask is it still the 1870s over there in the US?

The cartoon’s creator made his plea following the controversy stirred up, saying that it was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill, nothing more. Maybe so, but I still think it’s an unnecessarily violent cartoon and as someone who doesn’t live in the US and is therefore not embroiled in the racism against African-Americans – its instant message to me was that Prez Obama is being compared to a primate and that there’s a racial subtext.

I’m not sure (perhaps my US readers can help out) but I think a chimp attacked a woman recently, hence the police officers with guns. I just think that America has made such progress that these sorts of offensive behaviours are two steps backwards.  What do you think?

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Entry filed under: Obama, Rant. Tags: , , .

2019: emerging technologies How do you define “Depression”?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. innotecture  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:02 am

    There was a chimp mauling at the time: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/04/chimp.attack.victim/index.html – so it may just have been thoughtless rather than deliberately racist.

    I wouldn’t fire the cartoonist but I’d certainly have strong words with the sub-editor.

    Reply
  • 2. Paris  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I believe it’s an insult to chimps to be compared to human beings, they are much moral! no genocides, no slavery…

    Reply

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