Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Curious Case of Blacks & Monkeys

I wrote about the New York Post's monkey cartoon over on NBC New York.

Much like the post I wrote for Fanhouse around this time last year when LeBron and Gisele Bundchen posed for a controversial Vogue cover shoot, I don't really get the hubbub. These images strike me as racial Rorschach tests; they reveal more about your own personal racialized perspective, than actual objective truth on malicious racist intent.

Also, in the post I didn't get to include my two scientific nits on this matter:

1. monkeys and chimps aren't the same. check the wiki.

2. monkey scientists are telling us there's only 2% difference between the DNA of chimps and humans, so technically, the insult wouldn't be that far off from the truth. And is universally applicable to blacks, whites, asians etc. So, like, Irina Shayk is almost a monkey too! It's really not such a bad deal in that case, right Al?

anyways, that's all kind of silly and beside the point. But I do wonder, especially here in NYC, when will Black people get the monkey off their back? Will there ever be a time I can call my president a monkey, and have it just be a corny joke about how he walks to the bathroom on all fours with weight on his knuckles or something? If any city should be able to roll their eyes at this, you figure it would be NYC. It's not like we think Obama's stressing any of this, right? If Irina Shayk doesn't care if you call her a monkey, why should Jessica White? All seems a little silly, or curious.

Anyape, give me a banana, some hi-fives from a cute girl, and I'm all good-- racial associations be damned.

Post Cartoon Is Not Worth Protesting Over [NBC NY]
Vogue Is Not Saying Give LeBron A Banana [TAN, AOL Fanhouse]


  1. Admit it TAN. You just wanted an excuse to link to tasty swimsuit models.

  2. Tan,

    I have to disagree with you on this one. But for the record I fall into that "I don't believe in a Post Racial America" category. So that might have something to do with it.

  3. Anonymous2/20/2009

    True. I don't think black people look like monkeys so how can i be offended. If i called a cherub faced man a horse he'd probably laugh it off (or not cause its corny) but if i called a big horse-faced guy a horse, he'd get offended.

  4. Anonymous2/20/2009

    Come on black man! Are you saying that if a white person called you a monkey or a chimp looking nigger or nigga (I think this is the friendly spelling) you wouldn’t be offended? Historically white people have issued racial slurs and derogatory comparisons of black people being related to primates. Thus, making it justifiable for them to treat us as sub human.

    Stop apologizing for white hate (aka post racial) and be a black man about the situation. Where is your spine???????

  5. What Would Obama Do?

  6. Anonymous2/23/2009

    "Historically white people have issued racial slurs and derogatory comparisons of black people being related to primates."

    Come on Black man indeed! Black people go beyond being related to primates..we indeed ARE primates. White people too! I agree with TAN on this one, it's all just silliness, and it seems no matter how far Blacks go NOT to play the race card, there's always a liberal white willing to play it on our behalf.

  7. All art says something different to different people. Some people are inspired, some are revolted, everybody's response depends on the individual backgrounds they carry with them.

    The idea that the default, or correct, response to the cartoon should have been "meh" is a little strange. Why is that response more valid, or sensible than the response by other folks? Aren't both responses based on each individual persons person worldview, as T.A.N. seems to be trying to say?

    If you've studied this country's racial history at all, you know the connection between black people in monkeys. If you've paid attention to the politial climate lately, you know the stimulus package has been referred to as Obama's package. Given those two pieces of information, it seems like the mainly negative response to the cartoon from black people has some justification. Plus, I've yet to hear anyone explain what a rampaging, violent monkey has to do with the writers of the stimulus package, no matter who they might be.

    I find it humorous that some folks have gone out of their way to say "I'm not offended, that's your problem." The idea that the people who are offended are some how searching for reasons to be upset is hilarious.

    Do folks honestly believe that people sit around saying to themselves "I want to pretend that somebody is comparing a black person to a monkey because that's going to make me feel better about my life?" Who does that? Who thinks like that? Very few people I know.

    Finally, there will likely never be a time when it's ok to randomnly call a black person a monkey. The past will always be the past, and everybody must pay for the sins of our forefathers. That's life. If people hadn't misused their freedoms in the past, they'd still have them today.

  8. Anonymous2/23/2009

    how can we take what TAN seriously?? Of course he will stick up for white folks and think this whole monkey business is not a big deal because TAN himself doesn't know what he is.

    TAN are you white or black???

  9. Anonymous2/24/2009

    The trouble Big Man, is that you assume the negative response ititiated with Black people. It strikes me as far more likely that it originated with White Democrats, seeking to make political hay.

    The trouble with this racial version of crying wolf, is that when REAL racist incidents occur, they'll be ignored.

    I'm not going to go too far out of my way to defend this cartoon, because it wasn't FUNNY...but it wasnt OFFENSIVE either.

  10. Anonymous2/24/2009

    anon 9:07pm .
    are you white or black? what makes you that? your skin color? but beyond that what? your iq? athletic ability? your beliefs?
    is blackness something that can be given or taken away cause of philosophical differences?
    beyond that i see your point tan. i am not offended but the cartoon does not sit well with me. however, any incident that leads to people boycotting the nypost is alright by me.

  11. Anon

    It wasn't offensive to you. You need to be clear about that when you say something wasn't offensive.

    My first reaction, seeing the cartoon with no background information about what it was, was to be offended and dismayed that the Post was comparing Obama to a monkey and advocating for his death. I was also dismayed because I knew the response to the cartoon from many people would be that it was just a joke about the crazy chimp.

    Furthermore, from what I understand, the initial national complaint about the cartoon was lodged by Al Sharpton. I don't think anybody would call Sharpton a white Democrat.

    I resent the implication that white people had to tell black people what to find offensive and that we just get led around by our noses. From what I've seen, black people are more than capable of deciding what is and is not offensive on their own. And black people find offense with liberal white folks all the damn time.

    Finally, as I said earlier, whether you were offended, or laughted at the cartoon, it says something about you and your outlook on the world. Proclaiming that your outlook is the only "true" outlook is idiotic.

  12. Anonymous2/26/2009

    This from your lebron post was classic:

    "It's the kind of old school racism that makes me want to snatch a white women off the street before climbing a nearby skyscraper and pounding my chest in a furious rage. Don't try to stop me, I will swat away your helicopters, and throw barrels at your short Italian dudes. ROOWWWRR!"

    well played, sir.

  13. theyre brains are not as complex as other races do your research and stop being all polite facts are facts!!

  14. Anonymous7/12/2010

    Biology, DNA, and Chemistry is all you need to know, such puny debates are ignorant. There is no color on this earth you can get from White, yet all colors come from Black. White people were actually walking upright with just monkey faces but 2000 yrs in caves will make you look like what you really come from, MONKEYS. Blacks ( White ppl say Alien) created whites because slaves were needed back when White people don't want to admit Black Civilizations existed. The proof is all over the world so you don't have to believe me, American Blacks and Whites are the only fools who don't not know the truth, which is why both sides stay at odds and no one recognizes how we have been set up. It will all set us free in the Age of Aquarius and once we get over Ourselves and get rid of those who don't not want to accept truth we will be okay. Peace to those who accept things for what they are and death to those who fight and sell lies. Blacks by spiritual and biological design could not even be considered a Monkey because it is not biologically feasible which is typical for Whites to try and say such things because their history is full of contradictions and lies.


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