Gay French Monkey Blogging

Is it appropriate to give a new baby a stuffed monkey if that baby is African American, given the historic derogatory connections between African Americans and Monkeys? Well, my boy is teasing his monkey. And I’m unsure of the whole political correctness thing.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Oh, it was amazing when my wife adopted Jack. He is indeed a bundle of joy, and easily the cutest baby in all of puppetland. But it was odd the gifts people got Jack. You see, my wife and I are committed liberals, at least as concerns social issues. And we were a bit stunned that Jack got not one, not two, but three stuffed monkeys as gifts. Hey, our liberal sensibilities told us that monkeys are often used as derogatory symbols for African Americans, and Jack is very much African American. So it set us thinking, to say the least.

Still, the stuffed monkeys were very cute, as you can see below. One of them has a beret on his head, thus making him French, and he’s a stylin’ sort of French monkey. We call him the gay french monkey. Jack is beginning, at ten weeks of age, to cuddle up to this gay french monkey, though from the picture here he seems to be teasing that monkey unmercifully.


I suppose I think that my liberal sensibilities may be on overdrive, wondering as I do whether we should bring stuffed monkeys into Jack’s life. Still, they’re just stuffed animals, right, and Curious George is a bit of a childhood hero, isn’t he? Again, I am conflicted, and I could use all the advice you can muster.

Oh, and I know he is cute as can be, though I don’t mind reading it in comments.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Race,racism

GOP Racism and Fake Apologies, Feb 5th Edition

We likely have an incident like this every day, but Carol Carter’s nonapology apology is significant. The Party that seems proud of Michael Steele, first Black RNC Chair, has lots of racism in its membership, and one member, in the GOP hierarchy, thinks it is a shame her racism accidently became public. It’s the media’s fault, of course.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Had to make that the Feb. 5th edtion because I know there will be some GOP racism tomorrow, or the next tomorrow after that. They just can’t help the feelings of their membership, and that membership listens far too much to Rush to understand what can be said in public. Well, or even private. That’s what got Florida State Committeewoman Carol Carter in trouble, an email she thought was private. It included some racist ugliness, which she evidently didn’t have a problem with, unless it got out in public. Here’s her email fromt he story in the St. Petersburg Times:

From: Carol Carter

Friday, January 30, 9:30 AM

Subject: FW: Amazing!

I’m confused

How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?

Carol Carter

I’m stunned. This woman is considered a leader among Republicans in her state and she doesn’t understand that a racist joke is innappropriate even in private? Does she not get the notion that to cover your ass you keep that stuff off of the internet entirely? Yes, she is both racist and incompetent. Which makes her . . . a Republican? I love her unrepentent apology better:

From: Carol Carter

January 30, 5:54 PM

Subject: Earlier e-mail

I have been asked to send this apology for my earlier e-mail. I am sorry that it was received in a negative manner. I do hope that we are going to be allowed to keep our sense of humor.

As you can now see, it went to very few people. I did add Todd Marks in this apology, as he is in the mix now. I am also sorry to learn that some of these persons are not real team players. There really was no reason for this to go beyond those that I e-mailed (8 people). This was not an e-mail blast as I do not have that capability.


First, there’s no real apology here. She notes immediately she was forced to write what she couches as an apology, but it is clear that what she’s really sorry for is that a private email ended up embarrassing her publicly, and she’s also sorry that some people can’t take a racist joke. I am hard on Republicans, and it is clear that Carol Carter is another example of a Republican who just doesn’t get it. They’re already the white person party, and in this country we’re accepting and valuing diversity more and more each day. People like Carol Carter are going to make the Republicans a permanent losing party if the GOP doesn’t watch out, despite having Michael Steele as RNC Chair.

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

The Real GOP Whiney Fear: Pledge of Allegiance, to Obama?

The next case of whiney GOP panic is going to be about both the pledge of allegiance and Barack Obama. This will likely show up at the right wing blogs in a day or so, then FoxNews will pick it up. For now, it is obscure and stupid instead of mainstream and stupid. Either way, it is GOP whining at its best.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, there’™s always periodic GOP panic over the word ‘œGod’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. And there is extremist GOP panic about nearly everything concerning Barack Obama, including his religion and his name and his birthplace. The next panic will combine both of these issues, and it will make its way to the national spotlight within a couple days. As for now, it is on the Daily Blaze, here on the internets:

A parent in the Clark County School District of Las Vegas, Henderson area reported today that his son, who is in 1st grade, came home yesterday saying that he didn’™t want to go back to school anymore.

When asked why, the boy said that during the Pledge of Allegiance the teacher put up a large image of Obama next to the flag.

Thinking that the boy might be exaggerating, the man asked his son if he was sure, and suggested that by ‘œlarge’ he might mean an 8–—10 photo of the president. The boy apparently said ‘œNo, it is a large picture of Obama and when we are done, the teacher turns off the image.’

Yes, the whine is that all American children are soon going to be forced to pledge their allegiance directly to Barack Obama. Perhaps there also will be secret radio waves checking to make sure the children are sincrere in their pledge, the first step in making the children Obama Zombies.

Of course, as is usual with the nascent GOP whiney case of panic, there’™s something that rings false here. Sure, marketing would say that the notion of ‘œcaring for the children’ is a good excuse to act, but please don’™t tell me a first grader was scared by a picture of Barack Obama. No, that part of the story doesn’™t ring true. What does that make this? It makes this whole potential case of GOP whiney panic based on the exploitation of a child. No SCHIP for Republicans, but if they can falsely enlist their children in the cause, then that’™s OK.

The only other mentions of this story is on a right wing blog called Red County, and also on right wing whack job Alex Jones’™ web site, Prison Planet. I expect this fake controversy to spread until people start wearing their stupid lapel flag pins again.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Personal and Political: Please Meet Jack

Personal life changes surely have political impact. In my household we welcomed a son this week, a little bundle of (adopted) African American joy named Jack. We are white. In just the 48 hours Jack has been in our lives we’ve noticed changes to our racial attiudes, even as liberal and progressive as they already were.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Below you will see a picture of my new son Jack. That photo was taken yesterday when he was ten days old. He came into our lives on Thursday, and while it will be a couple months until this adoption is finalized, we are proceeding with confidence, mostly because my wife and I have fallen in love with the little nipper. Hey, I’ve been writing for this blog for nearly five years, and one of my first reactions upon bringing Jack home was about how I was going to write about him. Our love for Jack is vitally personal, as one can imagine, and it frankly isn’t anyone’s business. But we are white and Jack is African American, and this year race is the elephant in the room who is getting noticed a whole bunch. So here goes.

Let’s just begin with a little background. We brought Jack home on Thursday at about 2:00 in the afternoon. He was nine days old. I will not discuss his birth mother except to say she produced a very healthy boy and she was unable to raise him. We are profoundly thankful for her decision, but beyond that, our feelings and thoughts for her are and will remain private.

Jack does not do tricks as yet, unless you consider squirming while having a diaper change, eating, burping and sleeping “tricks.” We participate in and watch each of these tricks with avid interest. Jack is our reality show. What’s become fascinating to me is that almost everything is filtering through the prism that is Jack now.

This morning while reading the paper I pointed my wife to a photo of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and said, with a wink towards Jack, “now that’s a handsome black man.” Not “handsome man,” but “handsome black man.” My wife, ever the lawyer, countered immediately with a picture of Attorney General nominee Eric Holder. The point is not that we were on the alert to show our boy Jack examples of high-achieving black men, but we were distinguishing “black man” from “man,” and very consciously. Our views about race our changing, and it is not that our views were “wrong” before and are making a move towards “right,” but that those views are in control of a little guy named Jack. He has changed us, in less than 48 hours, in some very profound and political ways. My writing here will therefore change.

Of course, our lives will revolve around the boy. I am not teaching this semester because of a drop in enrollment, and I will be staying home with Jack for the next several months. I suppose this might mean that blog writing will not suffer in that time, but all indications so far are that Jack is the guy who guides every decision. For instance, we are very conscious that Jack came to us just a few days before one of the most historically significant moments for African Americans in our history, the inauguration of Barack Obama. There’s an opportunity for us to see Barack Obama, or at least the train he is riding on the way to Washington. You see, we live about a half block from a great view of the tracks Barack Obama’s train will be travelling. This morning’s household debate is whether we take Jack to view this historic moment from the distance of a few hundred yards and in some very bitter cold. Oh, if we didn’t have Jack we might or might not have made the trek down the street to take part in history in such a small way, but he’s ruling our lives now. Nobody is complaining about that, not a little bit.

A note on naming. I understand Barack Obama represents an historic first, not just that he is the first African American to be elected President, but that his name is so not typically American. Lots of families are going to be naming kids “Barack,” “Malia,” and “Sasha” in these months of political euphoria. We have chosen instead to honor our own relatives. Jack is named after my Dad, who is deceased. He carries both my family name and my wife’s. Oh, sure, being the Eagles fans we are, my wife and I considered a second middle name of “Dawkins” after our favorite player, but Jack probably won’t get that name added to his birth certificate unless the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl. The boy may be racially African American, but with my wife and I raising him, he’s going to be largely culturally “white,” whatever that is, and I don’t think we can help change that a whole heck of a lot in the long run, no matter how we try.

Heck, Jack already has shown his political tendencies. On his first diaper changing he made the usual “comment” newborn boys do. He missed my wife, who had the honor of changing him that time, aiming decidedly to the left. I was pleased our little leftist will fit into the family so well. While we will likely turn him into a book-reading nerd who enjoys reading the paper in bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings, we promise to instill in him a sense of African American culture, certainly. Still, with world travel and the Philadelphia Eagles and current events and politics and the role all of those have in our family structure, this boy is going to be an odd mix. Not apologizing, just sayin’.

To close, at least for now, I will likely be missing several sessions of Drinking Liberally here in Philly over the next months, but I’ll bring Jack down to show him off on a nice evening, and soon.

Saturday, January 17th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |