Social media has empowered people to express what they feel more freely, however last week, a woman called the First Lady of United States "an ape in heels" on Facebook and we are recovering from the ugly taste this comment left in our mouths.
Referring to First Lady Michelle Obama and the wife of the president-elect, Melania Trump, Pamela Ramsey Taylor of Clay County, West Virginia posted the following on Facebook, “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels”
Taylor herself isn’t just an average citizen of Clay County; she’s the Director of the Clay County Development Corp. If that wasn’t bad enough, the mayor of Clay County, Beverly Whaling, commented on the post saying, “Just made my day Pam”.
The post went viral and the backlash was intense. Various news outlets including the BBC and The Washington Post report that even residents of Clay County, a predominantly white neighbourhood, were shocked. The Washington Post quoted local residents as saying, “It wasn’t right, what was done.” The local sheriff was also surprised, “I’ve never heard either of them say anything racial before.”
Social media, however, wasn’t so kind.
The obvious target was Taylor, and it wasn’t long before 'the people of the internet' subjected her to some rather strong racist comments of their own.
Warning: Strong language ahead!
— Lawa Lakdequeea (@lakdequeea) November 16, 2016
Some took it on themselves to remind the people of Clay County of their ancestry…
— Chris Thomas (@Prof_CThomas) November 15, 2016
Others suggested that evolution took a different course with Taylor.
Maybe some apes are better than others…
…and Star Wars continues to deliver.
Yet others were at a loss for words…
The offending post has since been pulled and both Taylor and Whaling are out of a job. Taylor didn’t take internet’s reaction well, stating that she’s now a victim of hate crime and will file lawsuits against people who’ve “slandered” her.
Whaling, on the other hand, issued a statement to the press apologising for her reaction and claiming that she never meant to be racist. She was apparently only excited at the change in presidency; 68 percent of the county voted for Trump, after all.
It’s not like racism hasn’t followed the Obamas before, with Trump-faithfuls posting things like…
— James Madison (@2nd_doi) November 16, 2016