I was walking out of the Los Angeles Fox News bureau on Monday after taping the Lou Dobbs show and one of the assignment editors said “Hey Leslie, did you see this?” He showed me a picture on his computer of three chimpanzees. A daddy chimp, a mama chimp, and a baby chimp; but the baby looked oddly familiar; he had the face of our president, Barack Obama. As if that weren’t enough, there was the caption: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”
I was shocked and offended. And for the record, I am white--I am not a person of color. More shocking was that this photo was sent through E-mail by a Republican Party central committee member, Marilyn Davenport, a Tea Party activist. She represents the 72nd assembly district in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles where I sit as I write this. [Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party.]
Now Orange County, or the “O.C.” as Californians refer to it, is about more than The Real Housewives of Orange County. But that cast pretty much sums up most of the O.C.: blonde, rich, and white. I said most. There are certainly many people of color, minorities in Orange County. And obviously, there is a person of color in the White House. He’s our president. [See photos of the Obama behind the scenes.]
When the word “racism” is invoked in connection with the name Obama, there is a flurry of anger from the right that racism has nothing to do with whatever the issue is. Well Ms. Davenport has just proved a whole lot of them wrong. Racism has everything to do with this and other issues, from questioning his religion, to his place of birth. It’s one thing to attack a person on the issues, but on the color of their skin???!
I had a caller on my radio program last night, J.D. from Chicago. He proudly told me that he was a white man who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.; and with tears in his voice, he said: “I thought this was over.” I’m afraid J.D. that it isn’t.
Although the days of bringing African-Americans to this country on boats in chains are behind us, the hatred and elitist attitude of whites that we saw for centuries still ring true today. Although the civil rights amendment has been passed, still many question why the need for affirmative action? Ms. Davenport just answered your question America. Whether it’s monkeys, the “n-word” or Sambo, it’s not the E-mail Ms Davenport is apologizing for, it’s the fact she got caught.
Ah racism is alive and well in America in 2011. It’s sad, it’s ugly, and it’s true. Ms. Davenport should do more than step down. She should apologize to the president in person; and, as one of my Twitter followers suggested, she should then shine his shoes.