Apes and African-Americans: The Obama Photo

An image e-mailed by Marilyn Davenport, a Tea Party member who sits on the Republican Party central committee of Orange County, California

I am truly astonished at the sheer number of ape references that have been used to characterize the traits of African-Americans in this country through some kind of discriminatory ape fetish. In case you haven’t see this, some lady named Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Orange County Republican Party, sent a distasteful email depicting President Obama as a baby chimpanzee sitting in the laps of his chimpanzee parents. Apparently, the caption read something along the lines of that being a possible reason why no one can find Obama’s real birth certificate, which implies that Obama is an ape, which would then imply that I, too, am an ape. Now Davenport claimed that she didn’t understand the magnitude of her implications, but I find that hard to believe. According to Davenport, she didn’t know that comparing African-Americans to apes was racist, as she compared comparisons of former President Bush to Curious George—another monkey. To Davenport, that represents a double-standard, but to me, it represents a doubled dosage of pure, purposeful ignorance clumsily disguised as simply being misinformed. Nevertheless, it was mean-spirited and racially insensitive, and it takes some serious unmitigated gall to try and justify it with a lack of understanding. So, please allow me to explain this alleged missing link between apes and African-Americans that many of the racially disgruntled conservatives keep managing to find.

So consider this to be a crash course in southern inhospitality about race. As many of you may know, there are many people in the “Bible Belt” south who vehemently despise the findings and teachings of one Charles Darwin, who opened the scientific, anthropological door to the possibilities of evolution from some form of the Great Apes, which basically theorizes that humans and apes have a possible common ancestor somewhere on one of our family branches, not to mention the highly publicized archeological findings of people like Dr. Louis Leakey and his “Lucy” project centered around the Olduvai Gorge area in Africa, which is very significant, because it challenges traditional, Biblical origins; physically and geographically! This is one of the classic confrontations between science and religion, and ideological disdains like these were a direct precursor to the future distrust that many in the “Bible Belt” would continue to have about science till this very day, specifically on issues such as global warming. Charles Darwin left the building a long time ago, but his theoretical platform lives on in theological infamy, especially with conservatives, the religious, the naive and the uniformed.

It doesn’t matter if Darwin’s theories on evolution are wrong or right. The mere fact that they still exist to be studied, debated and possibly legitimized is more than enough to send the insecure, fear mongers into a genetic tailspin, and it didn’t take their White, Christian establishment long to water down and de-legitimize Darwin’s theory of evolution to a more suitable recipient, in African-Americans, and this is where President Obama’s chimpanzee picture comes in. Now what I’m about say is not for the faint at heart. Reader discretion is advised!

I’ve told this story before. So I will now tell it again. I had a Pentecostal preacher, who was an ultra-conservative and a true Tea Bagger look me dead in my eyes, and explain to me in detail—the alleged, highly racial, highly controversial, smoking gun of the ape to African-American linkage, and why it fits African-Americans like me, and not White people like him. I promised him that no matter how abhorrent it got; I would not become violent about it, and this is what he said to me. “Cain and Abel were brothers as you well know, and they were supposed to have each other’s back, but Cain was possessed by the darkness of Satan, as his evilness consumed him; causing him to slay his brother Abel. This angered God, and God decided to punish Cain for his atrocities by placing a mark on him for all to see. Do you, Bryian, know what that mark was? I’ll tell you. He turned Cain into a Black monkey, and banished him away in shame. Unfortunately for you, Bryian, Cain didn’t allow his new handicap to stop him from carrying on his warped seed, and unfortunately again—that warped seed is you—African-Americans! That explains why you are all were intended to be so dark like the chimpanzees, and that is why interracial consummation is frowned upon by God, but all is not lost for you and your people. Even though you’re not one of us—the White people, because we came from Adam and Eve, who came from God’s love, you and your people will still be allowed into the gates of heaven, but you will not be allowed into the main kingdom of God. I’m sorry, I hated to be the one to have to tell you this, but you need to know.

As far as I’m concerned, whether you know about how incendiary ape references are to African-Americans or if you don’t know, suggesting that there are different strands of human DNA separated by importance, genuineness, legitimacy, or superiority is as un-American, in-human, un-civilized, and un-religious in general, as any communist, Marxist, Nazi or genocidal war monger! In fact, I’d rank it about 10 rungs down from all of them. Just because you don’t believe that President Obama is a citizen who was born in America, it doesn’t give you the right to angrily progress your bile to an even more loathsome level by suggesting that President Obama was not even born of human parents at all. If you, Marilyn Davenport, and all who support you with their silent acceptance of your inhumane display are supposed to represent the civility of what true humanity is about, then I’d conclude that the apes still have us beaten badly on civility, and you idiots are no better than the baseless insults that you hurl. After hearing Davenport’s crude ideologies, I’m starting to reconsider ape evolution all together. Maybe ape evolution is too much of a stretch. Thanks to Davenport and many of the Tea Baggers/Republicans, I think that we might have to downsize our evolutionary pick from an ape to a jackass! And once again—the conservatives seem reluctant to man-up, as Sharron Angle “The Dangle” asked of Harry Reid, and face the music of the Jim Crow shuffle, and that should surprise no one! How would you like it if I compared you, Davenport, and the rest of your Republican, conservative, Tea Party cohorts to apes? Well, none of you will ever have to worry about that, because I wouldn’t compare any of you to apes. The humble, respectable ape populations don’t deserve that kind of punishment!