ObamaMonkey? There Is No Teachable Moment With Some People.

Illustration for article titled ObamaMonkey? There Is No Teachable Moment With Some People.

As if there hasn't been enough coverage of how using images of monkeys to represent the first African-American Presidential candidate from one of the two main parties is unwarranted and incredibly racist, there's a new company marketing a new Obama-monkey product. TheSockObama Co. is marketing this toy via its website that we're not going to link to. In response to inquiries from plenty of people about what kind of scum-sucking, race-baiting, Neo Nazi company they are, they responded:

We simply made a casual and affectionate observation one night, and a charming association between a candidate and a toy we had when we were little. We wonder now if this might be a great opportunity to take this moment to really try and transcend still existing racial biases. We think that if we can do this together, maybe it will behoove us a nation and maybe we'll even begin to truly communicate with one another more tenderly, more real even.

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A charge, then, to journalists: Please photograph every single person at the Republican National Convention sporting that shirt or carrying this doll. It's time that we know their faces so that we might shun these people. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New York Magazine]

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DISCUSSION

stoprobbers
stoprobbers

@LadyNo Fondles Sweaters: I think if and how you deal with off-color humor depends on the context. I personally love off-color jokes (though only if they're good — bad jokes are bad, bad off-color jokes are HORRIFIC), including racist ones, anti-Semitic ones (Jew here), sexist ones, and just grossly inappropraite ones. But I don't tell them or tolerate them in mixed company — they're for close friends only, people who understand that I'm joking (and I understand they are), and who won't take such jokes as things I really believe in. Telling jokes like that in mixed company is rude, and has thepotential to offend way too many people who you never meant to offend at all. Why bother even risking ruining the mood? Save it for the next day's hangover with your boyfriend, y'know?

I also believe in MODERATING off-color humor. For every off-color joke I have in my pocket (and, let's be honest here, there's like 4 because I'm bad at remembering jokes), there are at least half a dozen regular, just funny jokes and stories that bring no stereotypes into the situation. People who only have off-color humor up their sleeves don't appreciate the potency of using un-PC jokes — they're latent bigots who have no other "acceptable" way of preaching their prejudices.

But I think humor is one of the few ways that we can all learn to be a bit more tolerant. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but the ability to laugh at yourself and laugh at others without being mean-spirited is a positive thing. When we all lighten up a little bit I think we open ourselves to interpersonal relationships that perhaps we wouldn't have been open to in the past.

Racism, prejudice, it's not just a white and black thing. It covers all races, all orientations, all sexes, all people. Humor can aid tolerance. And it doesn't have to be PC to do that.

Having said all that, this doll isn't funny. At all.