Commenting on a report posted to Facebook about a gorilla escape at a zoo in Columbia, S.C., Friday, longtime GOP activist Rusty DePass wrote, “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors – probably harmless.”
Busted by South Carolina political blogger Will Folks on his FITNEWS blog, DePass told WIS-TV in Columbia, “I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”
Then he added, “The comment was hers, not mine,” claiming Michelle Obama made a recent remark about humans descending from apes. The Daily News could find no such comment.
Well, the good news is that he’s sorry if he’s offended anyone. Because gee, who would be offended by a white politician comparing a black woman to an ape? Also, it’s not really his fault, because he based it off of something that she said! Which she didn’t actually say, and which wouldn’t excuse the remark even if she did.
For those who need the help, there’s at least two things going on here. The first is the racism inherent in comparing a black person with an ape, as has been done by white people to dehumanize and degrade black people for centuries. The second thing is the fact that apes are traditionally associated with masculinity (you know, because masculinity is popularly if wrongly associated with hairiness and strength), and so DePass is also engaging in a rather age-old tactic of attempting to strip black women who have a feminine gender expression of that femininity. This is a tactic which has been used against Michelle Obama specifically quite regularly. And so we’ve not only got racism here, we’ve got sexist racism.
While I’m sure that the GOP will try to dismiss DePass as a nobody, and while he is indeed seemingly low on the Republican food-chain with regards to national politics, the fact remains that he is former chairman of the Richland County GOP. It’s also worth noting that the current chairman is defending rather than admonishing him:
Eric Davis, the current chairman of the Richland County Republicans, said his predecessor should get a pass. “Everyone says stupid things they regret later. I think the world should move on,” he said.
In other words, even when Republicans have the opportunity to at least attempt to distance themselves from the racism within their own party, they don’t even see the need.
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