Michelle Obama was called an ‘Ape’, not for the first time and not for the last time. The First Lady has been the focal point for racist attacks for 8 years and she is just one of many people racial abused since Donald Trump’s election victory.
“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels,” Pamela Ramsey Taylor- inconsequential white woman.
“just made my day Pam”.
This is the dynamic of racism in society. Every day for 8 years and way before that racist people have been making statements about the First Black President’s wife and family and Black people in general. A person need only google “Michelle Obama Ape” or “Barack Obama Muslim” and you will see countless racist videos and memes.
However, an individual tweet, status, video or meme is powerless in the wider society until it/they get support from more individuals ie more shares, likes and retweets. Thus, the support of an elected official such as a Mayor adds impetus to their statement and/or gives them notoriety- in short, transforming a racist statement into racism- the system of white supremacy and inequality.
Mayor Beverly Whaling has since resigned or been fired depending on which paper you read. However, she left by saying this statement in her defense:
“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House. I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused. Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist.”
I need a why you always lying meme! Few people admit they are racist and even fewer acknowledge internalized racism. Yet, this quasi-apology is far bigger than a local town no one had heard of until this week. Just as the initial racist statement is a belief held by more than one inconsequential white woman and supported by far more powerful organizations and leaders with much bigger followings.
Across Facebook Trump supporter apologists like Russell Brand are downplaying either racism or the impact of racism in this election process. Admittedly, other factors also influenced people’s voting choice; but to say race and racism played little to no part in people’s choices or actions for 8 years is historically and statistically inaccurate; it shows people’s lack of awareness of just how deep and systemic racism is. In short, poor White people have been voting for republican candidates for many years before Trump. However, Trump and the republican party used the same technique of fear, racism and alienation to secure or regain their support over the past 8 years.
This one Facebook status and subsequent reply illustrates the racist dynamic between Donald Trump and his supporters in a nutshell- racism is more than simple name calling. The history of racism, #Whitelash and how the first Black President’s family has been treated, all contributed to the society we now live in and Donald Trump winning the election.
Obviously, we know not all Trump supporters shout Nigger with that hard ‘ER’ each time they see a Black person. We know they do not all fly confederate flags( a lot do). Nor do they all even have obvious signs of racial bias. Yet, for 8 years racism has manifested itself in different ways. From the basic name calling and misinformation about Barack Obama being Muslim, anti-American and the literally the Anti-Christ; the attacks on Michelle Obama and her daughters by Fox News and Youtubers like Alex Jones; the ‘Birther’ movement questioning President Obama’s legitimacy as an American citizen- championed by Trump and the statement President Obama has done nothing for America- championed again by Trump. Therefore, Trump and the Republican media have been indoctrinating the American public for 8 years. They have been cosigning inconsequential individuals like Pamela Ramsey Taylor and giving their ignorant and racist beliefs a platform and popular support. That is far worst than saying anything themselves. To say none of these campaigns of hate against the President would have influenced Trump supporters, is like saying Hitler’s propaganda against Jews had no influence on Germany citizen’s future choices.
With that said, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both white, so it is easy to argue racism could not have affected this election.
However, as Martin Luther King suggested we must judge a person by their actions and deeds not just by the colour of their skin. In short, the KKK did not support Trump by accident.
Trump is like the former Mayor of Clay County- he legitimize the statements and beliefs of people who think just like Pamela Ramsey Taylor, KKK and the racist side of America. He fanned the flames of their ignorance, which is far worse than actually saying anything overtly racist himself.
Thus, if a person voted for Trump, like it or not, they are guilty by association. Their vote legitimized everything Trump has said, done and will do. Even, if they aren’t racist- they are supporting racism by not denouncing it, which actually kind of makes them a little racist themselves or at least dangerously self-interested.
Controlling, legitimize and amplifying the racist beliefs of individuals from a position of power is far more dangerous than simply calling one Black person ape or a Nigger.
Words will not hurt Black people. However, policies do, not acknowledging Black Lives Matter does and not confront the system of racism always has hurt the progress of the Black community.
So, let us not celebrate too much about one racist mayor being fired in a town with barely any Black people living in it. America still has 4 years of President Donald Trump. During those years there will be a lot more incidents like this. With more people embolden by a president whom seemingly legitimized holding these negative beliefs.
Until America confronts, acknowledges and combats these statements, practices and institutionally legitimised beliefs, there will only be a continuation of the racism we have seen over the past 8 years and during American history.
@AntoineSpeakson Tweet me to carry on the discussion or comment below.
‘3Cs of Life; choice, chance and change- you must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to ever change.’
Please like our page www.facebook.com/antoinespeakson
Let us know your thoughts
Have you been a victim of racism?
Do you think the Obamas have been treated unfairly?
Please comment below and share; challenge someone to think a little deeper.