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QUESTION: Is This Anti-Obama Statue Racist?

The New Jersey businessman who owns it says it wasn't meant to be. What do you think?

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ-A statue of a monkey donning an anti-Obama t-shirt is creating controversy over whether it was intended to be racist.

According to , business owner Rick Bond says “it was not meant to be racial."

Here's the story:

Bond, a former councilman and police officer, placed the statue in front of his Cedar Grove business, Don-Ric Self Storage at 405 Little Falls Road but removed it Tuesday afternoon after people started complaining.

“I absolutely never thought of it as racial,” Bond said. “It’s ridiculous.”

The monkey statue sported a T-shirt saying “OMG Obama Must Go.” The statue was in front of Bond’s business for at least a few days.

Bond would not say who dressed the statue, but added it was previously dressed in a Mets jersey. He said the statue was put up to scare away geese from coming close to his business.

But plenty of people aren't buying it. One person said he was outraged. Another called it hurtful. The president of the local chapter of the NAACP called it "incredible."

Thomas Reynolds, president of the Montclair chapter of the NAACP, said, "anyone who doesn’t realize what that (monkey statue) means isn’t just insensitive,” especially when they don’t realize how it can be taken as racial.

So we ask you, Patch users, what do you think? Is this statue racist? Does it cross the line?

Let's talk about it in the comments below.

Brent Champaco August 10, 2012 at 06:22 PM
This story has some 300 "Recommends" on Facebook. It's obviously hit a nerve.
Kent Keel August 10, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Yes, it is racist. And, Yes, it crosses the line. Period!
Jack August 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM
It seems to be suggesting that Obama is about as effective in the Presidency as a common monkey would be. Any racist implications are stemming from the viewers, not the owner. Besides, the statue was erected to scare away geese and has worn other outfits. Stop being so sensitive and remember the freedoms guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
Ceecee Frazier August 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM
The question didn't ask about our freedoms, it asked if it was racist. And of course it is racist.
Kent Keel August 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Any reference connecting African-Americans and this animal on ANY level is racist. Period. We have not forgotten that this is a very common derogatory reference historically used by bigots. Anyone attempting to pass off such comments or actions as "normal" is promoting bigotry. Oh, and the best way to scare away geese is to put up a stuffed hawk or eagle. Don't insult my intelligence...
Jack August 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I trust that the business owner never meant to imply anything racist. You see one thing, I see another. That we can differ in opinion on an issue like this is what makes America so great.
Bobbie J. Hill August 11, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Historically, African Americans have been debased to monkeys/apes, insinuating direct decendentcy. With that knowledge, one, especially an African American, would assume it was meant to be racist. However, as an African American, I will assume that the business owner did not have this background knowledge. I do hope it is a learning process for all of us. Bobbie Hill
Michael Doctor August 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Yes, it is racist! I agree with Kent Keel's comment that anything that connects African-Americans and monkeys, apes, gorillas, jungles, etc. is racist. I'm sorry to say but I believe that there are many people that oppose Barack Obama simply because they cannot accept that an African-American has been elected President of the United States. If people want to criticize President Obama, why does it have to have racial overtones. Remember the altered photograph of him as a black pimp and Michelle as a prostitute? Was the business owner being insensitive or is he ignorant of the affect of his action?.
Howard and Barbara Lee August 11, 2012 at 01:24 AM
The fact this question was asked only shows how much work is left to accomplish in the Civil Rights movement! Howard
Musique August 11, 2012 at 01:39 AM
what a stupid question, of course it is!!!
Howard and Barbara Lee August 11, 2012 at 02:53 AM
As both a UP resident and City Councilmember, you should have included a stuffed duck along with the other geese scaring predators!! Howard
Richard Shepard August 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Sorry. I don't see it as anything more than a tempest in a teapot.
Barb Nelson August 11, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Hell yeah it is! to those who claim otherwise I think that they have their brains stuck in a "teapot". I cry BS!!
Barb Nelson August 11, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Yeah right.............
Dan August 11, 2012 at 03:56 AM
As Howard Cosell learned, you just don't make that connection, no matter how innocent you may think it is. http://youtu.be/PVScwog05Xw
Kent Keel August 11, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I like it Howard! Good idea!!
Christie Anderson August 11, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Oh yeah....that's racist. If they didn't realize it then they're incredibly stupid.
Christie Anderson August 11, 2012 at 04:56 AM
How about a stuffed duck with the flag sticking out of it's head?
Christie Anderson August 11, 2012 at 04:59 AM
"Stop being so sensitive and remember the freedoms guaranteed by the 1st Amendment." So Jack, are you saying that racism is a frreedom guaranteed by the 1st Amendment?
Christie Anderson August 11, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I'm opposed to obama because he's a socialist democrat.
Dan August 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Unfortunately Chris, unless it is inciting unlawful actions, I'm afraid it is protected. You've got to take the good with the bad, to remain free.
Dr. Curt Oland August 11, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Racism is a funny thing. A lot of it is in the perception. There is a African American businessman in UP who posted a very racial picture on his FB page. Now it was aimed at Asians so there was no public outcry. So if you are against racism that should include Asians and Native Americans. I glad to see everyone is so against racism on this forum. It would just be nice to see their outraged placed even over all forms of racism. Just a thought. And Yes I would agree the guy in question should have been aware that his statue probably not the best idea. I'm sure he got the message.
Hotaru August 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
He got what he wanted, people to talk about it...media to pick it up. Why is it always the negative that gets most coverage! I had always hoped people would be kinder to one another; what was that phrase taught "If you can't say anything nice about somebody than keep your mouth shut..." or something close.
Irene Potter August 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
This monkey in a T-shirt statue is definitely racist. And by the way, Chris, President Obama is NOT a socialist. Irene Potter
Christie Anderson August 13, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Irene, I didn't say he was a socialist....I said he was a socialist democrat. There is a difference. But I merely gave MY reasons why I wasn't voting for him....I may view his politics differently than some....to some he's more of a communist....to othre's a fascist....but to me, he's a socialist democrat.
Francine Moccio August 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
The historical link to associating African-American men with bestiality and "animal" especially "monkeys" is not a debate; it is an historical fact that can be referenced in any historical account of slavery and civil rights. The revelation these forums have exposed that this was done by a former politician and police officer is even more egregious. Without the commentary, however, and the forum on the Patch to raise the issue, I am afraid that nothing would have been done. The first amendment protects "freedom of speech" but there are other laws that prohibit inciting hate against an ethnic or racial group. I am very happy this 'statue' has been removed, it speaks to the decency of the Cedar Grove community, and the essential role of the free press.

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