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.