The Goal Should Be To Forget What Images Are Racist

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Home Depot was recently the subject of the media’s ire for tweeting out a photo of two black guys at a football game drumming next to a monkey who was also drumming at a football game. While this would have been a funny, cute picture if the other drummers were white, hispanic, or whatever race the tan mom is, its extremely racist if you put a monkey in a picture within 500 nautical miles of a black guy.

This is why there was no black people on the show Friends. The network had to choose between Ross’s monkey and a black character, because it’s far less racist to have no black characters than to risk having a black guy in the same shot as a monkey.

She's just tan, not in black face. We promise.
She’s just tan, not in black face. We promise.

 

I know that it is racist to have a black man in a photo near a monkey. I know that the reason is that it somehow relates to the fact that in past black men in the media were often depicted as monkeys. But I don’t understand why they were depicted as a monkey. I just know that the history makes it racist.

My guess is the agency and person who tweeted out the photo did not know about that racist history, and now they are fired, and this is a huge controversy in the news.

CuriousGeorge-730035The reason the image racist is because black people do not look or act like monkeys more than any other type of people. George W. Bush is as white as it gets, but he looks a little like a monkey, so when you make a Curious George graphic of him its hilarious. But if someone did that about Obama, they’d create a media firestorm.

It’s gone even farther. There was a recent controversy over Lebron James holding Giselle on the cover of Vogue, because he was holding her in a pose similar to one that an imaginary monkey had previously held a fictional character. People said it depicted Lebron as a brute and a savage which was racist. But, if they had instead depicted a white athlete like Brett Favre, would we have complemented the cover as depicting his intensity and muscular physique? Or would we just be happy he was in a photograph where he wasn’t naked and wearing Crocs?

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But why is there outrage over these pictures? The point is that no race looks or is like a monkey. Absolutely no intelligent person thinks the Home Depot tweeter was malicious – just naive. Some intern thought it’d be funny having a picture of the monkey drumming, and by his bad luck the drummers nearby were black.

Now he’s fired for being a racist, when in reality his sin was that he didn’t even consider that putting a monkey near two black guys would have a different connotation than putting it near two white guys. You can’t even fault poor judgment, because the ideal thought process is for a young person to not even consider that there is some special connection between black men and monkeys.

He just didn’t know the history. And maybe that’s for the best. If we ever want to move past this idea that somehow black men are monkeys, we should probably stop creating an uproar any time someone accidentally takes a picture of the two near each other.

 

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