Have you seen the news out of Florida? Primaries were held there yesterday, deciding among other things who would be the state’s Democrat nominee for governor. Andrew Gillum became the state’s first African American candidate for the office and within hours of him winning the primary, his Republican opponent, Ron Desantis says “ the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a Socialist agenda.” Desantis referred to Gullim as an “articulate spokesman” who “performed better than the others”.
I’ve covered a lot of this sort of name calling in the material I’ve curated on Blacks and anthropomorphic monkeys, one racist slur after another. I’ve traced the origins back to the 18th century. It’s an association so deeply embedded in our culture that young Black women I’ve spoken with on Twitter eagerly acknowledge their identification with Francine, the monkey on Arthur voiced by a young Black woman. That’s problematic on so many levels.
There are no single sources we can go to that perpetuate the association with Blacks as monkeys. Monkey chants are hurled at European soccer games while bananas are thrown on the field. The Obamas were often drawn with apelike features. And, there’s Roseanne Barr, Rabbi Yitzhak in Israel and now Ron Desantis.
We cannot hold children’s literature blameless.
As I continue to document the egregious anthropomorphic monkeys found in children’s literature and their racist overtures, I’m going to challenge publishers, editors, and executives in the publishing industry to speak up. To acknowledge the problem. To provide a solution. To say something on this important topic.
Kids Can Press
Lee and Low
Simon and Schuster
Here’s the thread of information