I took a couple days off before writing this entry, to how can I put this? I needed to collect my thoughts. Earlier this week, one of our reporters (Elizabeth Harrington) covered a story about a man in Craig County who has a monkey in his front yard with a cut out face of President Obama. (The monkey is also wearing an Obama t-shirt). Needless to say, the man is not a supporter of the President. I could honestly care less who he likes, but as an African-American the whole monkey thing he’s got going, is completely disrespectful. I would say the same thing and feel the same way if someone put a big cracker in their yard with a cut-out face of Mitt Romney.
Still, for anyone who chooses to show their emotions this way, it is their First Amendment right. The guy says he doesn’t get the hatred mentality that his monkey references. He also says, he has African-American friends. Personally, I’m not so sure about that. Friends are different from acquaintances. I find it hard to believe that African-Americans per se would be your “friend” when you outwardly show a kind of hatred and bigotry that ultimately led to the Civil War and later the brutality of the Civil Rights movement.
If you don’t like someone or what they stand for, fine. However, when you start reaching back and pulling out centuries old symbols that ultimately led to bloodshed and still scars our country, that I believe is crossing the line.
Still, as I said, I do believe this man has a right to keep this display. I also believe WDBJ should have covered this story. Our job is to report the happenings in our community. Good, bad, whatever you want to call it, we give you the news. Some of our viewers didn’t see it that way. Here are a few of the emails we received.
“The airing of a foolish man who dressed up a monkey to look like the President of the United States and hung it on a flag pole with a sign speaks volumes regarding the level of disrespect for the office of the President (regardless of who or which party) some elements of our society are propagating.” ~Roanoke Viewer
“I think that putting the monkey with the Obama face on it on the news was uncalled for. Why would you give a person who did that credence? Even if it wasn’t racist, (which I’m not sure it wasn’t), it sure was done in poor taste and certainly not newsworthy.” ~ WDBJ7 Viewer
“There was absolutely no place for that racist to be but on what use to be my favorite news.” ~Roanoke Viewer
I would love to hear your thoughts!