I don’t even have the energy to go into the long-standing racist implications of a white person equating a person of color with a monkey.
But let me add that Ahmadinejad can be rightfully critiqued and bashed for lots of terrible things he has done. To make fun of him of using racist imagery is lazy and wrong. It paints all Iranians as monkeys, not just Ahmadinejad, because it taps into a racist narrative that goes back many, many centuries and has been used repeatedly to belittle entire peoples.
Joking about a type of oppression or a marginalized group gives people the false impression that we are beyond that oppression and that everything is okay. But no, sexism isn’t over. Racism isn’t over. Ableism isn’t over. Heterosexism isn’t over. All forms of oppression are intertwined and function in conjunction to maintain the status quo. Therefore we can never be “beyond racism” unless we are “beyond sexism” or any of the other forms of oppression.
These oh-so-humorous offensive jokes are so deeply institutionalized and embedded in our society as harmless things that we need not worry or make a big deal about. But they are really just mechanisms to silence people from protesting these offensive “jokes” and shame those who do object as un-funny, un-fun losers.
Amash is a Republican Representative to Michigan’s 3rd District since 2011.