Alledgedly Racist T-Shirt Likens Obama to a Banana Eating Monkey, Gets Sold in Georgia Bar

Obama Monkey T-Shirt

I was trolling Digg and Cafepress to see if I could find any interesting campaign related t-shirt, and instead found something to file under t-shirts that shouldn’t exist. What I found surprising was some of the user comments in response to the bar owner’s assertion that, “. . . the hairline, the ears, he looks just like Curious George.”  Have a look:

I support Obama and I think this shirt is hilarious. I would love to wear one and see peoples reactions. This is just the kind of thing we need to open up discussion on racism.

Really?  I’d never wear a shirt like that, whether I support Obama or not, because the shirt is in bad taste.  The next comment, however, cuts to the truth with a heavy dose of sarcasm:

Yeah, that’€™s racist as hell. Nobody ever made fun of Bush by saying he looks like a monkey.

Phew, that almost went over my head.

So is there anything inherently racist or offensive about comparing a person to a member of a different species? After all, the current president has been lampooned in much the same way.  What makes this t-shirt racist is the racist lore from which it draws it’s imagery.

[StraightFromTheA via Digg]

16 thoughts on “Alledgedly Racist T-Shirt Likens Obama to a Banana Eating Monkey, Gets Sold in Georgia Bar

  1. Well I dont think the tshirt racist but thats because I am from india and well I dont get discriminated nor am I familiar with that racist history. But I wouldnt wear the tee if in favour of Obama even though the monkey is kinda cute.

  2. Spork: That blackademics link does a really good job of explaining the exact reason why this shirt is racist. Thanks for posting.

    Karmel: It’s interesting how racism manifests itself differently in various places. I can totally understand your innocence to this, but in the Western world certain symbols like monkeys and bananas are insulting. Much the same way as a pig might be insulting to a Muslim person.

  3. As I have stated to others in the past, t-shirt design is SO subjective. What someone sees as offensive may be seen as “cute” by another. This particular Obama shirt raised controversy because someone wanted to see it as controversial. “Subjective” is the key word I believe! Personally, it is a unique design at a unique time of our political voting process. It’s more iconic than offensive I think. Keep up this great site….very informative. All the best!

  4. Ofcourse it’s a racist shirt. Anybody with an ounce of american history in their heads could see that. Great site. Keep up the great work.

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