Marilyn Davenport’s Racist Birther Email: Obama’s Parents Were Monkeys

ORANGE COUNTY (CBS) — KCAL9 received a tip about a racist email circulated to some Republican Party members depicting President Obama’s parents as chimpanzees.

This week Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party circulated what some are calling hate e-mail to an unknown number of her fellow conservatives.

Written under the words, “Now you know why — No birth certificate!”, is an Obama family portrait depicting his parents as chimpanzees.

When asked if she thought the email was appropriate, Davenport is quoted as saying, “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.”

Former Chairman of the California Republican Party Michael Schroder has demanded Davenport’s resignation saying it’s not her first brush with racist rhetoric.

(via Roger Ebert)


  1. “Besides, I only sent it to a few people–mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”

    Proof she knew it was offensive.

  2. Maybe it’s wrong of me, but the first thing I thought when reading this was: so Republicans believe in evolution now?…On another note, wasn’t Bush compared to a chimp a few times. I think being likened to an ape just goes with the title of president.

      1. Comparing Bush to an ape is totally different. The offense to Bush can not be extended to his family, his comunity or his etnicity; therefore it is a personal matter, offesive, yes, but private; the kind of thing you do to any public person you dislike. But people who have decency and sensibility knows that the same kind of slur that you use against someone can not be used if this person already have this kind of slur connected to prejudice against his kind. If someone wants to call Obama stupid or subservient, drawn him as a dog, an ass, or Dumbo the elephant – since he have these enormous ears and Dumbo was so naif and idiotic. In the case of Bush, it would be offensive if one says he is stupid because he is christian or texan.

    1. I think people compared Bush to a chimp because there are so many photos of him making chimp faces (we’ve all seen this meme). There’s also the whole “Curious George” thing with Cheney as the man in the cowboy hat leading him.

  3. I question the lack of good judgement from anyone in a leadership position who would spread such a ridiculous email. If she were outside the world of politics and working for a corporation, email such as these are firing offenses. They are not jokes amongst friends, they are characterizations that wouldn’t be tolerated from any company that’s serious about maintaining a healthy public image and shouldn’t be tolerated from politocos either. She’s and emberassment to her party and all Americans in general.

  4. It isn’t PC to admit, but making a joke – even a so-called “racist” joke does not make one a racist. Nearly all jokes poke fun at some group or other, often times using stereotypes that are widely known. Just because someone makes a joke about fat people doesn’t mean they are prejudiced against overweight people.

    A good example was a Leno show with Halle Berry. Halle made some silly off-hand joke about Jewish people and the sizes of their noses. She caught all sorts of flak about it from the media and even from Leno himself. What made it so hypocritical is on that same episode Leno made some silly off-hand joke about French and their stereotype of surrendering. Leno gets a laugh – and millions of dollars. Halle has to apologize and beg for forgiveness.

    Take a good listen to the jokes you laugh at. Listen to the sitcoms that make you fall off the chair laughing at. I can guarantee you, the overwhelming vast majority of the time some group or other is being poked fun of.

    1. Speak for yourself. When Leno makes jokes like that about the French I think they’re pretty offensive and tired. I don’t think negative stereotypes are all that hilarious, particularly ones that have historically been used to dehumanize a group in order to justify violence toward them.

      1. I didn’t speak for myself. I spoke for society in general. Leno wasn’t attacked for his joke, he was rewarded. My point is that most jokes poke fun at some group.

        I understand you don’t find negative stereotypes funny. So tell me a joke you find particularly funny or, much better, what is your favorite sitcom? I am anxious to learn which show you find funny that never pokes fun at some group or other. Remember just because they poke fun at a group that is not based on skin color doesn’t change anything. It still pokes fun at a certain group – most likely by exaggerating stereotypes.

      2. JD does it really need stating the difference between making a blond bimbo joke and a joke about black people being monkeys?

        If you need a hint one comes from a long history of bloodshed, oppression, and slavery. The other is has a long history of being a lame stereotype.

  5. Funny thing is, she only sent it to “a few people that she knew wouldn’t be offended.” It looks like she misjudged her friends because at least one of them leaked this story.
    I wonder how many of those Republicans that are calling for her resignation initially laughed about it, then said, “ooh wait, I’d better protect my own career and publicly criticize this as if I’m offended… I am shocked and appalled!

    1. Even a dick can make the calculation: “if this email get outed an year from now, I will be judged as the one who haven’t protested”. And then grab the oportunity to pose as an ethical person, and if possible, the fall guy’s position too.

  6. So, if you put a white president’s face on a chimp, it’s hilarious, but a black president’s face is an outrage…got it.

  7. On a different note, while her actions were probably not racist, while most of those who are calling her a racist and demanding her head on a silver platter are hypocrites, Lloyd makes a good point. She should have known that her joke would have received the reaction it did even if she only sent it to a select group of friends. The fact that she sent the e-mail while in her position shows a definite lack of wisdom, judgment, and foresight. One does have to wonder what other actions would she fail to realize might be considered inappropriate and would open herself and any group she represents to attacks and repercussions? I

  8. In summary: people who are NOT racists do not send racist jokes around via email. Just because you said “chimpanzee” instead of the N-word does NOT make it “un-racist.”

    This pol needs to put her big girl panties on and apologize.

  9. People are way, way too uptight. A week from now when TMZ, or the View throws yet other piece of media garbage into the media whirlpool, now one will remember this idiotic topic. I’ll bet that the majority of people here hollering about how bad this was, forwards emails to their friends that are equal to, or worse than what Davenport has done. It probably wasn’t a smart thing she did, but it’s not a murderous massacre that everyone’s PC-vein spurting about. wtf

Comments are closed.