Monday, January 30, 2012

Republican Racism Example #2: Obama Pictured As A Chimpanzee


Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Central Committee of the Orange County, California Republican Party, sent an email to fellow committee member in early April 2011 that included a photoshopped picture of a baby chimpanzee with Obama's face.  "Now you know why no birth certificate," the caption to the attached picture read.  This email thus combined the racist association of African Americans with apes with the pernicious "birther" fantasy: the conspiracy theory that Obama is, in effect, an illegal alien from Africa who has no right to serve as U.S. president.  Davenport gave a standard issue non-apology apology:



"To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen this email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn't stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive."  







President Obama portrayed as the child of chimpanzees.  This picture was forwarded in an email by Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Central Committee of the Orange County, California Republican Party (Image from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42656911/ns/politics-more_politics/t/gop-official-apologizes-obama-chimp-email/).


She apologized "if someone was offended," not admitting that the email was incredibly crude, stupid and bigot in and of itself.  The language implies that anyone who would be disgusted by someone suggesting America's first African American president is a chimpanzee is overly sensitive. (For more, see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42656911/ns/politics-more_politics/t/gop-official-apologizes-obama-chimp-email/). 



Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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