Home > Uncategorized > Republican Leaders Put President Obama’s Face on a Chimp?

Republican Leaders Put President Obama’s Face on a Chimp?


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the Republican Party does it again. Orange County Republican Committee member Marilyn Davenport is in hot water after distributing an email that features President Obama as the child of a family of chimpanzees.  In the email, which was widely-distributed, the long-standing committee member sent out the picture with the caption, “Now you know why – No birth certificate!”

County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh has called for Davenport’s resignation, saying that the picture was "dripping with racism and is in very poor taste." He also referred the matter to the GOP Ethics Committee.  But in spite of the backlash from many of her fellow Republicans, there are some in the leadership who are standing firm with Davenport.

Ms. Davenport, however, seems to think that the email has nothing to do with racism.  She described the email as a “joke” and wanted to find out who leaked the email, writing “Anyone brave enough to come forward?”  She also had this to say when contacted by reporters:

"I’m sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth," said Davenport. "In no way did I even consider the fact he’s half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race. We all know a double standard applies regarding this president. I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn’t particularly like, yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them."

When watching the reaction that our nation has had to having its first black president, I often have what are described on the Internet as “SMH moments.”  President Obama has received far more death threats than any president before him, the Republicans have made it their mission in life to obstruct anything he tries to do, he’s received a level of hatred and animosity that seems to accuse him of working to destroy the free world, and no one seems to think there’s anything odd about this.

Obviously, Republican leadership must own up to what happened here, especially Ms. Davenport.  But the Republican Party and the Birther Movement can’t easily detach themselves from the actions of Davenport and other extremists.  The reality is that much of the activity surrounding the Birther Movement is driven by racism and the perception that President Obama is somehow less American, less patriotic, and less ethical than the rest of white America (remember, President Obama is half-white, though our society defines him to be  a black man).  This truth can’t be disconnected from the fact that black men are typically perceived as being more criminal, irresponsible and socially deviant than everyone else (that’s why black men are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested and incarcerated than white Americans).  By working overtime to undermine the Obama presidency on a meaningless technicality, the Birthers, Tea Partiers and all the other Republican political militias remind us that the racial hatred in America is far deeper than we want to admit.  America has a lot of growing up to do when it comes to race, and that growth is being stunted by denial.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


  1. Madmax
    April 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I’m shocked–shocked I tell you, that anyone still believes that the Republican Party and the teabaggers are full of racists and clueless blacks.

  2. DrEnergy
    April 19, 2011 at 11:51 am

    This is a precise example of what’s been going on in the minds of people that have a narrow view of God’s planet. In other words, ignorance breeds more ignorance and on that note there will not be a change in the near future. Interestingly enough this subject was introduced during the campaign & even though Obama was elected Trump decided to re-introduce the argument only confirming that his plan is backwards & pursuant to the reaction of one his potential supporters (m. davenport) his plan is in motion. Clearly a wake up call.

  3. Madmax
    April 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I guess now we’ll have to watch the Juan Williams Apology Tour, and be reminded that Robert Byrd, ex-Klansman, was a Democrat.

  4. chrystal
    April 21, 2011 at 2:09 am

    OK folks, here in Los Angeles a radio show just had an interview with this woman.

    This woman is 74 years old and sounded very confused when she answered questions. She was on the air with another person of the republican party and he was coaching her. In the interview you can clearly hear “Tim” was in the back round coaching her in one of the segments. And the hosts did point this out.

    She said she say the picture as political satire and nothing else. She said she was never aware that Black people are often referred to as monkeys or portrayed as being sub human.

    I will say this…. It is really hard to believe that a woman how has lived through the civil rights movement of the 60’s did not know this picture would be seen as undignified and racist. If she can not make this determination then she needs to leave office. What other decisions has she made that didn’t make sense?

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