CA Tea Partier Emails Image of Obama as Ape, Says She's Not Racist Because She "[Has] Friends Who Are Black"

Another day, another racist email from a Republican. This one was sent out by an elected member of the Orange County Republican Party's central committee, Marilyn Davenport, who is (naturally) a Tea Party activist. The OC Weekly broke the story late Friday:

[O]ne of our Republican politicians welcomed the inauguration of the first African American U.S. president in early 2009 by sending out an email that depicted a watermelon field in front of the White House.

That incident drew embarrassing international attention, but now another Orange County Republican has apparently topped the watermelon imagery with another racist attack on President Barack Obama.

The Weekly has obtained a copy of an email sent to fellow conservatives this week by Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party.

Under the words, "Now you know why no birth certificate," there's an Obama family portrait showing them as apes.

(The image is here, if you must.)

To the OC Republican Party's credit, party leaders were quick to condemn the image -- though perhaps only because it makes the party look bad. Chairman Scott Baugh called for Davenport to step down, noting that the image "is dripping with racism" and "does not promote the type of message Orange County Republicans want to deliver to the public." Another local party official said, "It's much more racist than the watermelon email. I can't believe it was sent out. I'm not an Obama fan but how stupid do you have to be to do this?"

For her part, Davenport has fiercely defended herself and the image. She even busted out the age-old "but I have black friends!" excuse. Literally. Her statement, via the Weekly:

"I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth," Davenport wrote. "In no way did I even consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people [Scott Baugh, Orange County GOP boss, and this writer] tried to make this about race. . . . I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn't particularly like yet there was no 'cry' in the media about them."

Davenport continued: "That being said, I will NOT resign my central committee position over this matter that the average person knows and agrees is much to do about nothing."....

Reached by telephone and asked if she thought the email was appropriate, Davenport said, "Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people--mostly people I didn't think would be upset by it."

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at April 18, 2011, 5:36am

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