Thursday, February 2, 2012

Republican Racism Example #5: Activist Compares First Lady to Gorilla

In June 2009, Rusty DePass, a Republican Party activist in South Carolina and former candidate for state Senate, after reading that a gorilla had escaped from a zoo in the city of Columbia, posted a Facebook update comparing the primate to First Lady Michelle Obama.  “I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless," he wrote. 




In June 2009, Rusty DePass, a Republican Party activist in South Carolina and former candidate for state Senate, after reading that a gorilla had escaped from a zoo in the city of Columbia, posted a Facebook update comparing the primate to First Lady Michelle Obama.  “I'm sure it's just one of Mi Rusty DePass with his good friend George W. Bush. (Photo from WLTX,com website at http://www.wltx.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=74969) 


Bob Coble, the mayor of  Columbia, saw the post and was outraged.  Confronted with the post, DePass issued the standard non-apology apology.  "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone,” he said as if comparing the First Lady to a gorilla would be inoffensive to anyone who’s not a bigot. “The comment was clearly in jest."  DePass then doubled down, blaming Ms. Obama for the racist remark, falsely claiming that she had said we are all descended from apes.  “The comment was her’s, not mine,” he claimed.  More on this can be found here:


http://www.wltx.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=74969&catid=2

And here;

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/06/13/742072/-GOP-Activist-Compares-Michelle-Obama-to-Gorilla



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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