Now, the casual observer may quickly and easily note that the owner of Mulligan's (a Marietta, GA bar and grill) is covered by the First Amendment, that he can say whatever he wants to with regard to the Curious George shirt that he is currently selling. And legally, he is covered and he is grown, so saying and doing what he wants goes without saying. But is it funny? Is it reasonable? Is it acceptable? Is it moral? Is it right?
As a Mamaknologist, I'm going to say no to all of these. If the answer to any of them was a simple, yes, why don't we see George Bush's name on a similar shirt? Senior or Junior, they both have the "cute" ears, and both their names are George, though I have not yet heard what they have to say about bananas.
Now, to let you in on the rest of the story: The t-shirt in question features a smiling picture of Curious George eating a banana and the words, "Obama in '08." Protesters showed up. Customers were interviewed and immediately disparaged the shirts -- several of them fled when they saw the cameras and protestors. Mulligan's owner declared that all proceeds from the sale of the shirts would go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. And, no sooner had the words passed his lips, than the FOX 5 station personnel broke into the broadcast -- the Muscular Dystrophy Association called and said they would NOT be accepting any money from Mulligan's for the t-shirt sales, or from the sale of any similar items.
As of today, Mulligan's bar and grill is still trying to sell the shirts. The ranks of the protesters have increased. The owners of Curious George are threatening to sue for damages. And Mulligan's owner still insists on the purity of his intent and says that the shirts truly represent Obama.
Think of all the other things that could have been on that shirt: food prices, gas prices, hungry children, HIV indifference, and so much more. But no, he had to go and try to make the man into a monkey. So, let's call it what it is -- racism, in effect. Racism is a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, and usually involves the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. Bigotry is intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
Even if Mulligan's owner would/could point to aquaintances who would publicly back his opinions, he's still a racist. Yeah, yeah... a rose by any other name... Still, I am going to align myself with groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Nation Of Islam, and the Cobb Immigrant Alliance and say that the owner of Mulligan's is a racist. I'm going to say that his graceless, bigoted, backdoor assault on a man of integrity and political authority is shameful. And I am ashamed and insulted to have this degree of ignorance flaunted by anyone. As a woman of color, if I'd ever thought of eating at Mulligan's, I won't now. God knows, I won't ever get that hungry.
Now, Mamaknologize THAT!
Atlanta Journal Constitution