Monkey T-Shirts and Negative Stereotypes


   I am an African American who loves monkey t-shirts. "Why?" you ask? Well, simply because I think they're cute. Despite the racial past and present history of the image of monkeys being used to degrade our race, I still wear t-shirts with them from time to time. I guess that's my big "so what" statement.
      This past weekend I traveled to another state, and I was wearing one of my favorite monkey t-shirts when I arrived at the airport. When I reached one of the security check points, a Caucasian security guard asked me what was the name of the  monkey on my t-shirt. At first, I was thinking to myself, "Why did he ask me that?"  He must've noticed the look on my face. So, he asked me the question again and said that he was referring to my t-shirt. I told him the name, but he didn't believe me lol. Anyway, that little interrogation really made me think about how racist people often use monkeys to refer to African-American people. I wondered if I he would have asked me that question if I was Caucasian or any other race (other than Black). One of my friends said that she thought that it was the security guard's sorry attempt at flirting. I also have a friend who refuses to dress her baby or nursery in anything that has to do with animals because of the stereotype, and I can't blame her. I wonder if I am perpetuating the negative stereotype by wearing my shirts. But, there is a part of me that still screams "SO WHAT" lol . I would like to hear your view on this topic. Let me know what you think!


  1. I don't care. My son has gotten many children's clothing with monkeys and I don't care. It's cute and not meant to be degrading.

    1. Yes Jen! I agree. They were never meant to be degrading, but some used it for that purpose.


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