Comparing Black People to Apes: It’s Worse Than You Thought

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Re: Comparing Black People to Apes: It’s Worse Than You Thou

Postby admin » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:24 am

Neil deGrasse Tyson mocks ignorant racists: Hairy white people are more like monkeys than black people
Eric W. Dolan
04 AUG 2015 AT 12:08 ET

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking on an Australian TV show (Screenshot)

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has a science lesson for white supremacists: You and your hairy brethren are more ape-like than black people.

Monday on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q&A program, Tyson was asked about the racist booing of Australian rules football player Adam Goodes. The vitriol directed at the 35-year-old Indigenous Australian athlete has sparked a debate over racism in the country.

“I’ve got enough race problems in the United States, you know,” Tyson remarked.

“All I could think of — well, I thought about nine things, if you allow me. And what we do in math is you separate the variables and what’s happening is all the variables are jumbled together and people are reacting but if you separate the variables, it can be revealing,” he added.

Goodes, a veteran player for the Sydney Swans, has been jeered by crowds for celebrating goals with an Indigenous dance.

“For example, he is celebrating his score at the end of a game. Correct? I mean, during the game and he does it in a way that’s different from everyone else gesturally and, to me, that’s a form of freedom of expression, a freedom of speech,” Tyson said . “If you don’t like that, at some point you have to confess to yourself you’re not a fan of freedom of speech and so if you are going to do that, that’s a different country from what I understand Australia claims to be. That’s A.”

Tyson also noted that a 13-year-old girl had called Goodes an “ape” — and the science popularizer said the girl must have learned the racist slur from her environment.

“B, it was in another occasion in response to this, a 13 year old girl engages him with a comment,” he said. “If you’re 13 you just don’t say that unless you came from an environment where that’s been said before. That’s really weird. In this, the 21st century, for people to be behaving that way, I’m highly disappointed, if I can say.”

“You know what she’s done, she’s selectively chosen things about apes that she thinks apply to him and not other things that would apply to people who are white. For example, apes have hair all over their bodies. You have never seen a black person with hair all over their bodies. Black people are some of the least hairiest people in this world! Who are the hairiest? It’s white people! With hair on the back, out of the neck. And so if you focussed on hair then you could call white people monkeys, right. It’s all racist conduct.”
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Re: Comparing Black People to Apes: It’s Worse Than You Thou

Postby admin » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:01 am

The Coon Caricature: Blacks as Monkeys
by authentichistory.com
7/20/12

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A hateful association between Blacks and monkeys or apes was yet another way that the antebellum South justified slavery. Blacks were considered by some Whites to be more simian than human, and therefore had no self-evident rights, including freedom. After the Civil War, the emancipation of slaves, and passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15 amendments to the Constitution, White bigots used the association to justify Jim Crow laws, and the use of violence, such as the lynching of Blacks who challenged or threatened the status quo. The general acceptance of the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin was easily twisted into a means of identifying further "evidence" of the primitive status of Blacks. In the 1878 cartoon to the right, for example, an organ grinder's monkey is attacking a black child. Beneath is the caption, "Southern Scenes--An incident in Richmond, VA--The Darwinian Theory Illustrated". Presumably, the monkey feels that his position is challenged by the child, and he's defending his territory. Meanwhile, a drastically caricatured black man watches with a mirthful look on his face.

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1878 Cartoon

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1900s Postcard

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1900s Postcard

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1907 Postcard

The depiction of Blacks as apes & monkeys found expression in mainstreamed popular culture around the turn of the century, especially in postcards. Often it was the zip or urban coon that was being caricatured, for the amusement of White consumers. Note the simian appearance of the Black Americans in each of the postcards to the left, and how they have been dandified. These images are intended to be ironic, and to cater to the White notion that Black coons are too stupid to understand that their efforts to assimilate into White culture only emphasize their inherent inferiority.

Throughout much of the 20th century, depictions of Blacks as apes and monkeys was only slightly more subtle. The coon caricature in film is discussed in another section, but generally Blacks were depicted in such a way as to blur the line between audience identification of them as humans and as monkeys. Direct associations were more often made in the overtly racist pop culture which targeted a niche consumer. For example, in the 1960s, a recording artist named Johnny Rebel produced a series of 45 rpm records on a Louisiana label, with lyrics like, "America for white. Africa for black. Send those apes back to the trees. Ship those niggers back." The association between Blacks and monkeys was also popular in the various "Nigger Joke" books that proliferated throughout the 1900s.

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1907: The Little Nigs of Tiny Town comic strip

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Cartoon: Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat, 1941

Much of the anti-Black ape association was directed toward Black celebrities, especially athletes, and it was often done outside of mainstream pop culture. Jackie Robinson, famous for integrating major league baseball in 1947, often was the victim of racial taunts. In one incident, visiting Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky mocked an injured Robinson by performing a limping ape routine in the visitors dug-out. He grunted, hooted and scratched his armpits. Such epithets directed against standout Black athletes were still happening late into the century. A 1983 Time magazine article describes how then Georgetown basketball standout Patrick Ewing was often confronted by fans of the opposing teams who waved ape banners and threw bananas on the floor.

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Cartoon of Michael Jordan as an Ape

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Photoshopped Image: Evolution: from peeling bananas to busting caps (using Patrick Ewing photo)

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Comparison of Patrick Ewing and a Gorilla, from totallylookslike.com website

The cartoon at left, also from the 1980s, is an ape caricature of superstar Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest athlete to ever play the game. And in 2011, a fan threw a banana peel at Philadelphia Flyers' forward Wayne Simmonds during a fall preseason game. Simmonds is one of the few Blacks in the professional ranks of the predominantly White sport. The advent of the Internet has provided a new forum for the creation and distribution of racist imagery, as evidenced by the images at left.

In 2000, a children's electronic speller called V-tech Alphabert came under criticism when some parents realized the suggestive nature of the first three letters of the alphabet when played in sequence. "A" is for Ant and Ape, "B" is for black, "C" is for crack. V-tech claimed they selected the sequence for phonetic reasons. When the company received numerous complaints and negative media coverage, they changed newer versions of the toys. Those already on the market remained. The item at far right is a T-shirt showing an urban ape dressed in hip-hop clothes, with a gold chain, gold front teeth, a boom box, and a can of spray paint. The item is provocatively suggestive, yet subtle enough to pass the scrutiny of most Americans.

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This electronic speller came under criticism when some parents realized the suggestive nature of the first three letters of the alphabet when played in sequence. "A" is for Ant and Ape, "B" is for black, "C" is for crack. V-tech claimed they selected the sequence for phonetic reasons. When the company received numerous complaints and negative media coverage, they changed newer versions of the toys. Those already on the market remained. Press play to listen to the sound this item makes.
V-tech Alphabert, 2000


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Monkey Rapper T-Shirt, c.2007

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Anti-Obama T-shirt, 2008 campaign

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Anti-Obama Button, 2008 campaign

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Anti-Obama T-shirt, 2008 campaign

Anti-Black Monkey imagery came back into the open during the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama. Several T-shirts and buttons were created and openly sold on the auction website eBay depicting Obama as a banana-eating monkey. Another mocked the candidate as a lower form of evolution. And this imagery continued to proliferate on the Internet after Obama's election. Though many Americans wanted to believe his election victory was a sign that the country had entered a "post-racial" era, the racist imagery associating the President with apes, and as a chicken and watermelon eating coon suggest otherwise. In fact, several public incidents have linked the proliferation of these images to elected officials in the Republican Party. One specific episode involving anti-Black monkey imagery happened in April 2011. A Tea activist and Orange County Republican Party official Marilyn Davenport made headlines when it was revealed that she had sent out an email with the President depicted as the offspring of chimpanzees. The text of the email read, "Now you know why no birth certificate." She claimed to have not thought about the "historic implications" of the image, despite the fact that she had earlier defended a fellow Orange County Republican for having sent out an image of the White House lawn as a watermelon patch with the message, "No Easter egg hunt this year."

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Photoshopped Image: Obama as Chimpanzee

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Photoshopped Image of Michelle Obama, 2009

Unfortunately, this racist imagery has not been restricted to the president. In November 2009, a photoshopped, racist image of First Lady Michelle Obama made international news. There were, and are plenty of racist images on the Internet of Mr. and Mrs. Obama. What made this particular image such a big story was that it ranked first on Internet giant Google's image search page. Google issued an explanation that was about as complicated as the search algorithm they blamed, and banned the image's host from search results because the site violated Google's policy on spreading malicious software. When the image resurfaced on another site, Google displayed the image with a disclaimer. The image also reappeared on at least one blog, in which the author questioned why it was unacceptable to caricature the First Lady in this way, and yet it seemed to be acceptable that President George W. Bush was likewise caricatured. He re-presented numerous monkey comparisons of President Bush, including the collage of comparisons re-presented to the right. The blogger was attempting to justify racism using a variation on one of the common excuses, that it's okay to stereotype one group if others are likewise being stereotyped. The images associating President Bush with monkeys are distasteful and disrespectful. But they were not done to stereotype an entire race of human beings. Rather, they are an expression of anger toward the president's conservative policies, including having chosen a war in Iraq which many Americans ultimately came to find unwarranted and mismanaged. And they were created to express frustration and disbelief that a man who, to them, seems so obviously dimwitted, could be twice elected President. These images of President Bush are ugly and personal. But they were not used to systematically discriminate against White Americans for several hundred years. Images like the one created of Michelle Obama, who holds no elected office and has no real impact on public policy, are directed towards an entire race, and they were used to justify slavery, to solidify the de facto second class citizen status imposed on Blacks after the Civil War by Jim Crow laws, and to discriminate against Black Americans economically. To claim that the imagery is equal is to negate these hundreds of years of American history. It is not equal. Ironically, this blog quickly drew in White Supremacists, who proceeded to completely undermine the blogger's original premise by unabashedly engaging in racist, hate-filled rants about the First Family in the comments section.

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Photoshopped collage comparing President George W. Bush to Monkeys, c.2006

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Photoshopped Image: Obama as Monkey

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Photoshopped Image: Obama as Monkey

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Photoshopped Image of President Obama

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New York Post cartoon comparing President Obama, and Black victims of police shootings, to apes

In February 2009, the New York Post published a provocative political cartoon. Two officers, one with a smoking revolver in hand, stood over the corpse of an ape they had just gunned down on the street. The ape, eyes open, tongue hanging out, several bullet holes in his torso, lay on his back in a large, splattered pool of his own blood. One cop is shown saying to the other, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." While the cartoon was published in the wake of a high profile killing of a chimpanzee in Connecticut that had mauled its owner, the political nature of the caption, and common knowledge of the all-too-familiar incidents of police shootings of Black suspects, caused many to immediately recognize the old anti-Black monkey stereotype. And it seemed to be aimed squarely at President Obama. Some even wondered if the cartoon was advocating such violence against the President. To say that the paper's apology/explanation left many viewers dissatisfied is an understatement. And other examples of anti-Black monkey association continue to pop up. In 2009 a "Cuddle With Me" black doll was released, packaged with a monkey and wearing a hat that read, "Lil Monkey". These dolls were sold at Costco stores and were pulled from the shelves after the chain received complaints from consumers.

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Cuddle With Me Black Doll with Monkey & Hat that reads, "Lil' Monkey", 2009

All too often, the White perpetrators of these incidents claim to be ignorant of the history. Studies show that only about 8% of White Americans claim to be aware of the history of the association between Blacks and apes. Whether or not this is true, some disturbing research released in 2009 clearly shows a high level of subconscious engagement with this association. The research was conducted by Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford associate professor of psychology, Pennsylvania State University psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff (the lead author and a former student of Eberhardt’s) and Matthew C. Jackson and Melissa J. Williams, graduate students at Penn State and Berkeley, respectively. Their studies of mostly White male undergraduates revealed that just a second of "priming" the subjects with images of the words "ape" and "gorilla" (shown too fast to consciously register) caused them to, when watching videos of police brutality, justify the level of violence used against the suspect when they were led to believe the suspect was black. When they were led to believe the suspect was White, there was much less rationalizing of the amount of force used by police. In all, six studies were included in this research. The results strongly indicate that White Americans, who aren't particularly prejudiced, subconsciously associate blacks and monkeys. The researchers believe this association is held in place through "implicit knowledge," the result of a lifetime of conditioning via the long history of stereotyped anti-Black imagery that depicts Blacks as less than human.
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Re: Comparing Black People to Apes: It’s Worse Than You Thou

Postby admin » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:34 am

Enough with stereotyping black people as monkeys!
By Siji Jabbar
March 26, 2014

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— A Belgian newspaper portrays President Obama and his wife as apes and we are shocked. But this is not an isolated incident; it’s business as usual. Until we open our eyes, we will remain a long way from living in a “post-racial” world.

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Surprised by this? You shouldn't be. The De Morgen photoshopped image is just par for the course.

In case you haven’t heard, we live in a post-racial world, one in which we no longer even need racial discrimination laws because everyone knows employers in America, Europe, South Africa, Namibia, – basically anywhere there are white people – don’t even consider the race of applicants when hiring, not even at a sub-conscious level, and especially not at executive levels.

In this post-racial world, any white girl can introduce her black boyfriend to her parents and he’d be welcomed with open arms.

In this same post-racial world, parents of white kids don’t even notice and start to draw up a shortlist of “better” schools when they notice that the percentage of black pupils at their kid’s school has risen to 10 per cent.

Of course in such a world, no one ever suspects a black boy walking through a “white” neighbourhood of being a threat, even if he is wearing a hoodie.

Meanwhile, police forces everywhere gave up on racial profiling ages ago when they finally listened to black critics of racial profiling and understood how pointless and racist the practice was.

And newspapers are now just as likely to refuse to print photographs of dead black bodies as they are of white bodies, because as we all learned long ago that this is a dehumanising insult, regardless of race.

The best evidence of this post-racial world? A black man is the president of America, the highest office in the world!

Don’t recognise this world? Then you need to step into the world of De Morgen, the supposedly liberal Belgian newspaper that published the photoshopped image of Obama and his wife as apes. Because in apologising for posting that image, the newspaper offered the excuse that their mistake was in thinking we live in a post-racial world, one in which it’s okay to joke about racism.

I laughed the first time a white person told me we live in a post-racial world. It was just after Obama first became president and I thought the man was joking. On realising he meant what he said, I thought, Oh, God. Does this mean some of the white people celebrating now aren’t doing so because a brilliant man had become president, and the fact that he was black was the chink of light we so desperately needed to feel there was some hope for humankind after all, but rather because they were relieved they could carry on oppressing and stereotyping black people without feeling guilty? Did anyone think for a second that feminists the world over could now consider the world free of sexism and the oppression of women when Margaret Thatcher was elected UK Prime Minister? I’m sure the people who now pretend we live in a post-racial world wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking it’s now open season on Jews. After all, the holocaust was such a long time ago and see how well Jewish people are doing!

Likening black people to monkeys

For any younger readers unaware of the history of racism, likening black people to apes is an old and effective way of conveying the idea that white people are higher up on the evolutionary chain than black people, who must be at the lowest rung because they are closer to apes. That most of us understand this to be a complete misunderstanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution doesn’t matter. The preposterous suggestion works on the idea that there’s no smoke without fire. It’s also effective because enough people (both black and white) really do think black people are closer to apes than white people, having been conditioned to think that way.

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The negro as just one of the monkeys

It also gives permission to supposedly smart people like Nobel Prize winner James Watson to keep trying to demonstrate that black people are inherently less intelligent than white people, an endeavour that also has a long history (see the Wikipedia page on “Scientific racism”). After all, everyone already knows black people are closer to apes, right?

Not just Belgium

This De Morgen incident happened in Belgium, but could have happened anywhere. Italy’s Roma football club fans think it’s okay to throw bananas and make monkey sounds at Milan’s star black player, Mario Balotelli, who was born to Ghanaian parents. White employers rejecting black applicants because they are black only come to light when someone slips up, as was the case when an email intended for the owner of a Dutch company was mistakenly sent to the applicant himself. The latter incident is a reminder that many instances of racism these days are buried under layers of politeness. As T. F. Pettigrew wrote already in 1999, modern racism is often characterised by an explicit rejection of stereotypes, combined with resistance to changing structures of discrimination for reasons that are ostensibly non-racial.

So rather than blame the Belgians (although we’ll come to them in a minute), the problem is with the media and their stereotypical representations of black people, including black Africans, and especially the way black people are portrayed in contrast to white people. The De Morgen picture is merely a more obvious version of what happens all the time. Their mistake was in making it that obvious.

We must remember that any stereotypes white people have of black people in general are usually multiplied when they consider black Africans. The stereotypes absolve people of the guilt of seeing and treating black people as having less intrinsic value than whites. It always has, hence its long history.

The media’s everyday stereotyping of black people

The way the media portrays people of different races influences the way we generally think of ourselves and people of other races. Same goes for the way women are portrayed in comparison to men. It’s obvious, but we easily forget. Thus representations are hugely important and very powerful.

If you happen to spend some time in Europe or America and a black face happens to pop up in a TV news story. Unless he or she is an entertainer or sportsperson, how likely is it that the story is about something positive that black person has done (bearing in mind that news isn’t what just happens but what the media chooses to report)?

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Why would newspapers choose to use the image of Idi Amin if not to reinforce the rumour of cannibalism? And who better for bloggers to use to reinforce the fried-chicken-eating stereotype than Obama?

Hollywood is the world’s most powerful disseminator of images, creating beliefs and influencing people everywhere, albeit at a sub-conscious level. Look at most mainstream Hollywood movies and observe which roles are typically played by white actors, still, and which by black actors. Don’t be blinded by the “Magical Negro” roles, such as that played by Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty or Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix Reloaded.

Traditionally, black people – especially black men – were portrayed by Hollywood as innately savage and physically strong, uncivilised, animalistic (like apes), violent, hypersexual, destructive, anti-social, a danger to white society (especially white women who black men want to rape), and criminal – deserving control, incarceration, punishment, and sometimes death.

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The black brute stereotype today. Vogue’s Lebron James cover.

Or they were portrayed as childlike, harmless, ignorant, docile and grovelling, and given roles that helped convey the ‘benevolent master-harmless and amusing servant’ relationship.

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Hattie McDaniel as the harmless black mammy in "Gone With the Wind"

Such portrayals were instrumental in justifying slavery and soothing the conscience of white people; since they are childlike, the thinking went, slavery is an act of mercy, a moral and humane act. Today, the threats-to-society portrayals help in justifying all kinds of racist and discriminatory acts, from racial profiling and the disproportionate incarceration of black people in any country where black people live with a majority white population to turning someone down for a job because they happen to be black. So when white people think of Africans, especially Africans who haven’t had the benefit of being “civilised” by living among – or at least close to – white people, we shouldn’t be surprised that they often think only of AIDS, war, barbarity, poverty, violence, etc.

These days, Hollywood has to be a bit more subtle in its portrayals, but it doesn’t even matter much anymore whether the black actor is actually playing a sympathetic character or a fool. What matters is that he looks aggressive or violent, or capable of violence, or has had his nuts cut off so he’s a harmless negro, or that he more of a slave to his emotions and less intelligent than the white “hero,” à la Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Soloman Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) in Blood Diamond.

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Michael Clarke Duncan as the “Magical Negro in "The Green Mile"

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Djimon Hounsou plays a sympathetic character in “Blood Diamond”, but his character is also written as naïve, emotionally-driven and in need of help from the white “hero” played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Hollywood is not alone

Newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies are also complicit in the portraying black people as animalistic or devil-like, and therefore less human than white people, who are pure, kind, caring, intelligent and the saviours of black people.

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Not sure what sort of “uniting” message Benetton was trying to send with this 1982 billboard ad, but one can guess what impression it left in people’s minds.

Hollywood and the media only have to chip in occasionally with a negative or loaded portrayal of a black person to stoke the fires. The white public will run with the baton every time, creating their own images to reinforce their beliefs, and some might not even understand what they are doing.

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Black people look like Apes because they have Ape DNA in them.

A larger version of the Patrick Ewing-Ape side-by-side had as its caption: “From peeling bananas to busting caps.”

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A Tea Party member (Marilyn Davenport) attached this image depicting Obama and his parents as chimpanzees to an email she sent Orange County Republicans in 2011.

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Two of the stereotypical black images used last year by North Chicago Police in one of their brochures. On the left, comedian Dave Chappelle's character Tyrone Biggums, the stumbling junkie with crack residue around his mouth.

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Is it any wonder then that some white people today are blinded by stereotypes when they think of black people, and especially black Africans?

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And should we be surprised that white people think nothing of using black Africans as backdrops to their lives, as in this image?

It is a privilege of white people to either not notice the everyday stereotyping of black people – ignorance is bliss and it helps maintain the status quo – or to pretend that it doesn’t matter because it’s all just “harmless” fun or a “joke”, but that is not a privilege black people anywhere can afford, African or otherwise.

White-approved black people

The world of entertainment (sports, music, film, dance) might be heavily populated with black people, but ask any black person in Europe or America and they will tell you not to be fooled. The white world is still only comfortable with a particular sort of “well-spoken” (by their standards), influential, preferably wealthy black person, the sort who they see as hardly black at all.

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White approved blacks
White Approved Icons -- Western House Boys and Girls


Other white-approved black people include Jay Z, Drake, Beyoncé, Halle Berry, Will Smith, Bill Cosby, Mohammed Ali in his current incarnation (but definitely not when he was in good health and defiant), Denzel Washington (although his proud bearing, the knowing look in his eye even when he chuckles and the memory of his fierce portrayal of Malcolm X in the Spike Lee joint still makes some white people nervous. Incidentally, it was a fortunate thing for Spike Lee that Malcolm’s story did not play out in an exclusively black world, because studios know that most white people do not go to “black” movies. According to Andre Seewood writing in Shadow and Act, this is because most white people lack the empathy necessary to identify with black characters, which in turn affects their ability to “suspend disbelief” and surrender to the narrative of a “black” film. It’s a real enough phenomenon to have a sociological name: the Racial Empathy Gap. It wasn’t merely for his obvious talents as a director that Hollywood picked Steven Spielberg to direct The Color Purple. With an almost exclusively black cast, Spielberg’s name acted as reassurance to the white audience. Furthermore, when a movie features a predominantly black cast, white audiences tend to automatically assume the film is about race. As Olivia Cole writing in The Huffington Post concluded, it’s hard for white audiences to “see black people as beings separate from their blackness.”).

Belgium

Belgium’s history with Africa is a horror show. If you’re not aware of this history, Google “Belgium”, “genocide” and “Congo”. It’s not for nothing that Belgium’s King II (1835-1909) is sometimes referred to as the Butcher of Congo. Not by the Belgians, obviously, who apparently still consider him some sort of hero.

If you think that all happened such a long time ago that it can’t possibly have any bearing on Belgian society and Belgian thinking today, one visit to the country’s Museum for Central Africa will disabuse you of this notion.

And, notwithstanding the racist attitudes and colonial behaviour of the Belgian peacekeepers (the “backbone” of UNAMIR) in Rwanda in 1994, the eventual betrayal of the Rwandans by the Belgians is still a fresh enough reminder that when push comes to shove, black African lives are seen as having less value than white lives. [The first chapter of A People Betrayed is online here, and Rwandan stories is here]. (The French, British, Americans and the Roman Catholic Church also have blood on their hands for what happened.)

What’s this got to do with stereotypical portrayals of black people? The images help desensitise white people to the humanity and equal intrinsic value of black people.

Of course not all Belgians are racist (just as not all white Americans, French, British, Dutch, etc. are racist), but they do live in a society that permits racism without consequence – the De Morgen incident for instance – especially racism against black people.

The multi-award winning Nigerian author Chika Unigwe lived and wrote in Belgium for years before recently emigrating to the US. It is her we have to thank for bringing this incident to the world’s attention via a tweet. Based on her experience of life in Belgium, we asked her to give us ten insights into Belgian society today to help us understand why the newspaperman could have thought it was okay to portray the Obama’s in such a racist manner. Check Chika’s Twitter conversations over the last 2 days and you’ll see that she could easily have written 20.

1. Zwarte Piet is a national treasure. Human golliwogs, aka Sinterklaas’ helpers, parade the streets on December 6th and hardly anybody thinks this is wrong.
2. There are still statues of King Leopold II – mutilator of the Congo – in different parts of Belgium.
3. The N word is an acceptable way of describing blacks because “etymologically, it means black”.
4. “We are not all n***s that all we do is nod” is an acceptable phrase in use “because it refers to the bobbing black heads which were very popular in the 60’s”.
5. N***tieten (N***tits) and N***zoenen (N***kisses) are two types of candy.
6. Race does not exist in the world of white privilege. Or rather only white race exists in the world of white privilege.
7. Racist jokes are okay because Belgium isn’t racist.
8. Nationality is tied to skin color which is why non-whites, born and raised in Belgium are “allochtonen.” You can never cross over and become “autochtoon.”
9. It is okay for a policeman to walk into a launderette where three black women are quietly doing laundry and ask for their identity cards. He can ignore all white customers because their skin color exonerates them from being harassed.
10. It is a polarised world. The newspaper editor/ columnist has probably never had a black colleague; has probably never been to a black doctor; has probably never been to a PTA meeting at his child’s school and met with a black teacher. His world is white. It does not mix with the black world. Another point of view i.e. that he might offend the sensibilities of black people does not come into play.


Maulana Karenga, African-American professor of Africana Studies, has argued that racism constitutes the destruction of culture, language, religion and human possibility, and that the effects of racism are “the morally monstrous destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only know us through this stereotyping and thus damaging the truly human relations among peoples.”

It truly does damage relations between us, which is just one of the reasons the Obama incident cannot just be dismissed as a satirical joke. And another reason why the media needs to stop this dehumanising bullshit immediately, and stop pretending it’s harmless.

But we, black people, also need to open our eyes to the everyday portrayals that convey the idea that we are in any way less than whites, because that’s where most of the damage is being done.

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Malcolm X
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