Michelle Obama's comparison to "an ape in heels" is an old, racist tactic meant to demean black bodies
Racist comments posted to Facebook by two West Virginia officials have resulted in severe backlash
Here we go again...
Freedom of speech doesn't come without consequence and two West Virginia women are finding that out the hard way. They posted racist remarks about the first lady online soon after Donald Trump was elected the next President of the United States.
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Pamela Ramsey Taylor, Director of the Clay County Development Corp. expressed her glee by stating, “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.” Taylor managed to compliment future First Lady Melania Trump while also spewing a not so subtle, racist diss towards our current First Lady, Michelle Obama. Beneath Taylor's post was a comment written by Mayor Beverly Whaling, "Just made my day Pam."
Pamela Ramsey Taylor is a Clay Development Corp employee. Beverly Whaling is the Mayor of Clay County. Racism has officially been normalised pic.twitter.com/pyBTVyojzu— BelieveTheTruth (@Sam_BTT) November 15, 2016'
The controversial post was deleted by the women but not before being saved as screenshots and shared widespread across all social media channels. Severe backlash quickly ensued. Pamela Ramsey Taylor has lost her job and 130,000 people (and counting) have already signed an online petition to have Mayor Beverly Whaling receive a pink slip too. It was announced today that Whaling will resign from her position as mayor.
Since losing her job, Pamela Ramsey Taylor has issued an "apology" to the Washington Post stating that she is "Sorry for any hard feelings this may have caused!" and claims that "Those who know me know that I’m not of any way racist!" She also told NBC affiliate WSAZ that she has become the victim of a hate crime and plans to file a lawsuit against anyone who has slandered her.
Although incidents of blatant racism are on the rise in "Trump's America" these racist remarks are nothing new. References to apes and other animals is nothing more than a demeaning and dehumanizing tactic that black people have been compared to for centuries. This term sends a clear message to black men and women that they are "savages," "less-than" and "ugly" in comparison to white people.
Taylor might have apologized and claimed her comments were not racist, but she and her comments shouldn't be easily forgotten. We can't let these subtle racist comments or any blatant racist outbursts become the norm in this country.
People of color have spent centuries in America trying to prove to others and ourselves that we are worthy, smart and beautiful human beings. We are not seen as humans and we are tired of this lie.
We have to continue striving for a more progressive United States even though the near future looks gloomy.
I hope more women and men like these two disgraceful women come forward so we can say to them that we're not going to tolerate any more hateful rhetoric or actions and they have no place working in public office, schools, churches or nonprofit organizations.
Yes, it's true as Americans we might we have freedom of speech but it doesn't come without consequences.