Mayor Resigns Over Comment Calling Michelle Obama An “Ape”
The Mayor of Clay, West Virginia has just resigned following a storm of criticism following a Facebook comment posted by a city employee that referred to Michelle Obama as an “ape.”
The comment in question was in reference to the fact that Melania Trump is the soon-to-be First Lady of the United States. Pamela Taylor, the director of the Clay County Development Committee, and thus employed by the county said on Facebook “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a [ sic ]Ape in heels.”
In response, the Mayor of the city commented on the post, saying, “Just made my day Pam.”
Understandably, the post and the explicit endorsement of the post by two city employees upset a lot of people. Not only did it strike an ugly nerve in the history of race relations in America by referring to an African American woman as an ape, but it implies that a Black woman like Michelle Obama could never be “classy, beautiful, and dignified.”
It’s an alarming example of racism within the Government that the people of Clay are now trying to distance themselves from. It can’t be a good feeling to see the name of your town picked up by almost every media organization in the world because of a racist comment your Mayor made.
The woman who originally posted the comment said that it was not intended to be racist. That’s a tough claim to make. Basically, her defense was, “it wasn’t racist, I was just saying that the African American first lady looks like a monkey.”
But that is basically, by definition, a racist comment. On the other hand, it’s probably counter-productive to respond to this with a bunch of hatred. The best way to deal with racism is to reach out with an open hand, not a clenched fist.