A racist comment is a racist comment if it contains an intended slur against someone else, especially against a person of colour. A racist comment often disparages a person’s skin colour or it can be couched in other terms by referring to features that are considered inferior because of the association with a particular group of people.
And so it came to pass that a woman who lives in West Virginia, America, posted a comment on her Facebook page which stated: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a (sic) Ape in heels.” (pic above)
For F*** sake, no matter which way you look at this comment, no matter how you shake it all about to find different angles you would be hard pressed not to see it as a racist comment. In plain English speak the comment is a racist slur against Michelle Obama, a Black woman, as a comparative against Melania Trump, a White woman.
As a woman of colour I am sick and tired of this parallel universe created by racists who have appropriated a sense of high entitlement to say whatever they want with no fear of reprisal nor possessing a shred of human decency.
The woman who wrote this comment is Pamela Ramsey Taylor, director of Clay County Development Corp. She has since resigned. To make matters worse the Mayor of Clay County, Beverly Whaling, commented: “Just made my day Pam.”
In a post-truth world which has been turned downside up racists’ claims that they are fighting a backlash against ‘political correctness’ is absolute tosh. Not being able to indulge in hate speech does not lessen anyone’s rights. The concept of ‘political correctness’ is an evolution of human understanding that one cannot say some things because they are offensive, at the very least, and, at the very worst, could actually incite violence against the group of people targeted.
Another recent absurdity is the appointment of Stephen Bannon who is Executive Chairman of Breitbart, an obviously quite extreme right wing website, as a senior aide to Donald Trump. Watch the clamour of people rushing to defend Bannon and Breitbart as being non-racist. This is regardless of the fact that the site itself seems quite proud of its’ political leanings and Bannon is a senior bod.
Alas, 2016 will come to be seen as the year that racism was legitimized and when it became part of a politician’s arsenal of soundbites designed to win votes. In the UK, the London mayoral election and Brexit opened a Pandora’s box. In the USA it is Donald Trump who day after day spoke with racist vitriol to such a highly satisfactory level that even the Klu Klux Klan are holding a ‘celebratory’ rally in ‘honour’ of his election win. But, yet again, fans of Donald Trump rush to defend him against accusations of racism.
The only silver lining in the darkness of the rise of racism is that people of ALL colours are united in calling racism wherever it rears its’ ugly head. Racism is not a platform for opportunists to tout their egotistical selfs, like the President elect.