As a white person, I didn’t know what to think at first of the furor regarding the NYPost cartoon monkefying Obama:
My first feeling were mixed. It is unacceptable to compare black people to monkeys in light of our country’s shameful history of doing so. But I also considered how many times I compared Bush to monkeys in this blog as well as in my overall thought of the man. For example, a simple google of “Bush monkey” will produce:
There are a lot, lot more.
Do I feel entitled enough to hang on to my right to compare presidents to apes in light of the fact that our current president is black? No, I don’t. The advancement of race relations is far more important to me and I say this as a person who relishes the frequency of offense amidst all our glorious free speech. And, when it came to comparing Bush to primates, I felt as though I were offending monkeys more than dope-in-chief anyhow.
Furthermore, I have found, especially in recent conversations, that demographic groups who have always been empowered (ahem, white males) find it very difficult to understand when certain groups (such as women) get pissed when empowered groups (white males) call them by offensive names (bitch, cunt, whore, etc.). At some point, words and comparisons don’t belong to you. I’ll never use the N-word. Ever. Certain offenses achieve necessary progress. Others reverse it. And that’s not my priority.
So, for the next four, hopefully eight if all goes well, years – let’s drop the monkey/president comparisons. We’re all intelligent enough to find better ways to express our views regarding Obama’s decisions and behavior anyway.