So Kevin Dixon, principal of West Middle School in DeSoto ISD, is apologizing for emailing "a video of dancing chimpanzees to his staff last week that a school board trustee found racist," the Morning News' Matthew Haag writes in today's Metro section. For some reason, the News didn't see fit to embed the video on its website, though I'm pretty sure they have a guy over there now who knows how to do that.
"No matter how he meant this [it] is very offensive to African American teachers, students, parents," trustee Sandra Wheeler wrote in an email to the district's superintendent.
Not to mention the Irish ... or dancers ... or food industry professionals ... or anyone with functioning taste buds. See, the video is an old Arby's commercial, which Dixon and about 9 zillion other people find kinda funny. Why exactly watching a bunch of chimps Riverdance it up makes anyone think of race is an interesting question -- for Wheeler.
In fairness, Wheeler isn't the first person to work up a head of steam over the commercial since it hit the air nearly FIVE FREAKIN' YEARS AGO.
For instance, there's this from Litterrata, a website that posts, in its own words, "writing, prose poems, memoir & other literary cybernalia" (yeah, one of those kind of sites).
Certainly romanticism and primitivism became a refuge for "neo-colonialists" including the Celts. as a mode of countering the threat of racial discrimination from the "other" and the emergence of cultural nationalism has played itself out in myriad stereotypes in popular culture, but when popular culture refers back to the origins of Irish racial discrimination in an ad such as Arby's dancing chimps, then it is a racist act, whether intentional or not.
Right. Intentions and motives don't matter and ... wait. Are we talking about screwing the Irish or African-Americans here? It must not be Irish dance fans, judging by the much less erudite (read: pretentious) quote from the site Irish Dancing and Culture: "I thought that was so cute when I saw it! I just love chimps -- they're so cute!!!"
Yeah, well, that's what I thought too, but then what do I know? I enjoy the occasional Arby's sandwich, so obviously I have no taste. Still, must we be ever vigilant and ready to kowtow (sorry, China) to those whose role it is in life to find things offensive, even if it's a bunch of high-stepping apes hawking Big Beef and Cheddars from a 5-year-old TV ad? To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes and dancing ape is just a fucking dancing ape. And sometimes, a humorless dick is just a humorless dick.
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