|Charlton Heston on horseback from |
Planet of the Apes (1968)
So, Roseanne Barr in a tweet suggested that former Obama aid, Valerie Jarret, was a combination of "Planet of the Apes" and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Generally speaking, it is obviously considered racist to refer to a "person of color" as a monkey or an ape or anything along those lines. This has been widely recognized for many decades and I am old enough to remember the Howard Cosell Kerfuffle, sometime in the 1970s, wherein he allegedly said something like, "Look at that monkey run!" in reference to a black football player. I imagine that in the passion of the moment - if he actually said it - he might have thought of it as a compliment on the player's speed and agility, but it definitely got him into trouble. I do not believe that they fired Cosell, but he was certainly reprimanded.
And, needless to say, it should be remembered that Cosell was a champion of Muhammad Ali. Those two, much like Forrest and Jenny, were peas and carrots during Muhammad's rise to greatness.
Nonetheless, are we to understand that simian references are only racist when applied to people of non-European descent? Speaking as a person of non-European descent, I very much resent this.
I know all sorts of European simians.
The people following this weird, little story may also be aware that some time ago comic Wanda Sykes referred to Donald Trump as an orangutan and nobody suggested that she was being racist.
If a "white" person calls a "black" person a monkey or an ape that is racist, but if a "black" person calls a "white" person a monkey or an ape that is not racist?
In other words, we are supposed to internalize the notion that the ability to be racist is dependent upon one's race.
It is a fascinating concept. I find it vile and counterproductive and likely to result in all sorts of violence and blood and stupidity, but there it is and rich "white" well-meaning "progressives" honestly believe it.
Now, I understand, of course, that African history in the United States is obviously very different from European history here, which is why we hold the Barr comment to a different standard than we do the Sykes comment, but this is exceedingly problematic from a liberal, anti-racist perspective.
If concerns over racism are to mean anything then they must be consistent. There is a notion floating through the culture and through academe that racism is a function of power and, given the historical powerlessness of the black community in the United States, black people, or "people of color" simply cannot be racist.
I find such a notion not only to be dangerous nonsense... but in-and-of-itself entirely racist.
To hold people to different standards based on their skin color is practically the dictionary definition of racism.
If Western thinkers and culture-producers have come to the conclusion that racism is dependent upon one's "race" than we've lost the plot entirely.
It very much seems to me that we have lost the fundamental message of Martin Luther King, Jr. and this is particularly true among those within the progressive-left community who tend to see almost everything through a racialist lens.
And let us please not forget that Roseanne Barr is a Jew. That makes her of Middle Eastern descent.
Therefore she is not, herself, "white."