In response to the recent election, #ADPhD is sharing reflections, short takes, and responses from scholars of slavery. To submit yours, click here.
On November 14, 2016, news outlets reported that a West Virginian official — Clay County Development Corporation Director Pamela Ramsey – made the following statement comparing First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama to Melania Trump on Facebook: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.” Susan Eve O’Donovan, associate professor of history at the University of Memphis, took to Facebook to put the the statement in context when a follower questioned whether or not Ramsey’s words were racist. Her post is republished here with her permission:
[name redacted], the Ape reference is reprehensible due to centuries of ‘scientific’ racism that insistently located people of color at or at best one step above apes. See for instance this: one of the more infamous images of this kind of despicable thinking: