If someone were to ask me that, I would answer with a firm and unequivocal, “no:” but, I had a little bit of an epiphany this morning that has left me a little unsettled.
The above meme came across my newsfeed and I laughed at it much as I would at a slapstick Charlie Chaplin scene, and of course shared it because we all need a good laugh. The meme seemed to embody today’s human situtation . . . happily looking forward to learning new stuff because we were forced to stay home and then “losing it all” at the end of the ” lockdown.” But then I looked at it again.
This is a black man learning to bake banana bread, and then the black man brandishing a weapon and calling for the abolishment of police. It was easy enough to connect the dots.
Black human + banana = chimpanzee
black human + weapon + call to abolish police = typical “black lives matter” rioter and looter
This was a ridicule directed at the “black lives matter” movement and a mother of a child lost to police violence would not find it funny, especially a black woman. I was no longer laughing.
Maybe that was not the intent of the creator of the meme, but maybe it was. The FBI and the entire US intelligence community has warned that troll farms are deliberately putting out these “cute memes” to keep the division and chaos going. They have even invaded the animal rescue world, by the way. And this meme is the perfect candidate . . . a subtle racial message encapsulated in a humorous delivery.
I’m not intending to be anyone’s moral compass. I have trouble enough navigating myself through these troubled waters. Because I laughed and shared this meme does not make me a racist, but it does make me unaware and insensitive, and somewhat naive, still.
Growth cannot happen without change, whether it’s an individual or a society, and meaningful change is often painful. Our nation is in trouble, and in my own little way, by sharing my thoughts, I hope I contribute to the solution and not the problem. I deleted the meme and will be a little more analytical about future posts before I share. Maybe I’m “overthinking” this and it truly was harmless. But I’d rather be that way than insensitive and risk harming or offending innocent people, especially those who have suffered so much.
God bless America, and each and every one of us regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or any other “characteristic” that pushes us into the margins of society.