Sensitivity Alert: DeSoto Principal Called Racist for Emailing Video of Arby's Dancing Apes

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So Kevin Dixon, principal of West Middle School in DeSoto ISD, is apologizing for emailing "a video of dancing chimpanzees to his staff last week that a school board trustee found racist," the Morning News' Matthew Haag writes in today's Metro section. For some reason, the News didn't see fit to embed the video on its website, though I'm pretty sure they have a guy over there now who knows how to do that.

"No matter how he meant this [it] is very offensive to African American teachers, students, parents," trustee Sandra Wheeler wrote in an email to the district's superintendent.

Not to mention the Irish ... or dancers ... or food industry professionals ... or anyone with functioning taste buds. See, the video is an old Arby's commercial, which Dixon and about 9 zillion other people find kinda funny. Why exactly watching a bunch of chimps Riverdance it up makes anyone think of race is an interesting question -- for Wheeler.

In fairness, Wheeler isn't the first person to work up a head of steam over the commercial since it hit the air nearly FIVE FREAKIN' YEARS AGO.

For instance, there's this from Litterrata, a website that posts, in its own words, "writing, prose poems, memoir & other literary cybernalia" (yeah, one of those kind of sites).

Certainly romanticism and primitivism became a refuge for "neo-colonialists" including the Celts. as a mode of countering the threat of racial discrimination from the "other" and the emergence of cultural nationalism has played itself out in myriad stereotypes in popular culture, but when popular culture refers back to the origins of Irish racial discrimination in an ad such as Arby's dancing chimps, then it is a racist act, whether intentional or not.

Right. Intentions and motives don't matter and ... wait. Are we talking about screwing the Irish or African-Americans here? It must not be Irish dance fans, judging by the much less erudite (read: pretentious) quote from the site Irish Dancing and Culture: "I thought that was so cute when I saw it! I just love chimps -- they're so cute!!!"

Yeah, well, that's what I thought too, but then what do I know? I enjoy the occasional Arby's sandwich, so obviously I have no taste. Still, must we be ever vigilant and ready to kowtow (sorry, China) to those whose role it is in life to find things offensive, even if it's a bunch of high-stepping apes hawking Big Beef and Cheddars from a 5-year-old TV ad? To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes and dancing ape is just a fucking dancing ape. And sometimes, a humorless dick is just a humorless dick.

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Cynthia Campbell
Cynthia Campbell

Number One: AA's are incapable of dancing in such a structured, disciplined manner. Number Two: Not a single monkey  grabbed its crotch or used the 'n' word or the 'f' word . . . so how can anyone possibly think someone was comparing these talented apes to AA's??? 

donovan acree
donovan acree

Sandra Wheeler et al. are whiners. "I'm offended" so what?Why are people so worried about someone else being offended? Why do people care?

In related news: Racist people see the world in racist terms. The same holds true for bigots.

Desoto Citizen
Desoto Citizen

Here are the facts:

 

Desoto West has the highest test scores of any middle schoolin Desoto ISD.

Desoto West has the highest teacher retention rate of anymiddle school in the district.

Desoto West has the most students apply to attend outside oftheir assigned school zone in the district.

This school has so many things going right for it; it wouldbe a travesty to let this remarkable leader go. This entire “news story” boilsdown to one or two people trying to find something to take offense too. Feelfree to ask any of Dixon’s Staff or students what they think of him. The vastmajority have extremely positive comments.

 

Mr. Teach
Mr. Teach

Def not true. I work in the district!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Yeah, but none of that matters anymore.

School board trustees want to control the cash cow that public schools are.Control gives them power in the community and influence.It also gives them the ability to enrich themselves at the taxpayers' expense.

This whole fuss is about publicity for Ms. Wheeler.  If it nets her a few more votes come election time, she will have succeeded bc BOT elections usually have such low turn-out anyway.

Excellence and education are probably not Ms. Wheeler's priorities, otherwise she would have spoken directly to the school's well-respected principal in private.  

When it comes to throwing excellent principals or teachers under the bus in order to generate a few votes so you can stay on top of all that cash, all bets are off.

And when DeSoto ISD becomes more about the money and elections than education, DeSoto ISD will go the way of DISD.

Ms. Wheeler:  public servant or self-serving?

kay2the2nd
kay2the2nd

Hmmmmmmmmm, let's see... De Soto school? Aren't they the ones that hired the former Atlanta Public Schools Deputy Superintendent had been cited in one of the largest test cheating investigations in the nation? The words "De Soto school board trustee" do NOT instill confidence. 

Wake up America
Wake up America

Is everyone oblivious to the fact a teacher was sent this video, by an Administrator? Are leaders to demean their staff? What do the scores his school look like? Does he truly have time to be sending video's? Many of you know as well I do, in past years African Americans have been associated negatively with apes. Don't act like you dont get this. It isn't merely about dancing or the Irish dance. If that were the case, "Why not choose people doing the dance?" Hmmm, yeah I thought so. I agree with the board member......Ms. Wheeler. The video is totally insensitive to the teacher and the students. Honestly, this isn't the monkeys dancing that were offensive, it is the negative comments written underneath the video, which apparently ALL of you missed or failed to read. This is about the teacher, NOT Ms. Wheeler, who obviously was equally offended because she sent an in house video to external sources. Education is about teaching children NOT posting what you find funny to your staff. There is NO room to make humorour jokes about anyones race or religion. We are all created wit differences and they should be appreciated. May God help this country.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

So you get offended everytime you see a monkey on tv? The Careerbuilder ads with all the monkeys and the white dude putting up with their monkeying around, that's racist?

Or a chihuahua saying "yo quiero taco bell?"

You must be really boring to work with, because, according to you, there's no time to joke.  Am I right? Instead of asking a question about what their scores look like, how about looking it up? You're inferring that this person is just not doing their job, when apparently the scores at that school are the highest in the district.

I guess I don't know as much as you do about apes, other than the fact that africans have hunted them to the point of extinction. That's where my association stops. What animal represents white people? Asian people? Germans? Arabs? Russian?

RTGolden
RTGolden

From the DMN article:"[West Middle School principal Kevin] Dixon said he first discovered the video in an online school leadership newsletter he received that featured the short clip. His email to his staff said that assistant principal Audrey Barnes, who is black, would lead the school in an Irish dance to celebrate the beginning of spring break."

Judge for yourselves, now that you're armed with the minor details Patrick left out....

Paul
Paul

To quote Groucho Marx, or Sigmund Freud for that matter, "Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar."

Personally, I want to know where PETA stands on this ad.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Racist or not, it does speak to the principal's judgment.  If you're a supervisor, don't email jokes, videos, pics, or anything non-business to your staff.  At best, they'll think you're a dork and lose respect.  At worst...

mm
mm

Yes, he essentially called the African-American assistant principal a dancing chimp.  I'm sure he didn't mean it that way, and it should probably be dismissed with a quick apology.  

But this blog post either intentionally missed that point to work up some righteous indignation, or the writer is a brainless dick.

Joeb91
Joeb91

Wow i must be totally lost but i had to watch this twice to make sure i wasn't missing anything.   I don't see anything at all i would say is racist.   It's a parody of the "riverdance" done by a bunch of chimp's!!!   if Dixon's email contained a remark that is regarded as racist then his email is racist and not the video above.

Ket354
Ket354

You're not missing anything. The video is not racist, the context in which it was presented may very well be racist. but this post just ignopres the actual issue and focuses on the distraction. More of a Fox news story than a DO story.

Ket354
Ket354

I heard this on the Ticket this morning and I think you've buried the lead a bit. I'm not paying for DMN (even if they hired one decent writer) but my recollection fromthis morning was that the email referenced the black adminitrator and said that she would be leading the dance. Open the attachment and a bunch of monkeys are dancing. In that context it is in poor taste.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

See, now you've got it wrong. This is like in elementary school when the teacher tells one student about an event, and by the time you get to the end of the line 15 students later, the event turns out completely different.

den
den

I don't have it wrong at all.  And my comment wasn't based on the previous comment post.  It was based on looking into the actual news story.

den
den

I'm glad you commented on this.  At first I thought Wheeler was being a little ridiculous.  Didn't realize that the email specifically referred to the schools assistant principal (who is black) as one of the monkeys.  

Seems like everyone agrees that it was meant as a joke, albiet one made in incredibly poor taste.  

Albert
Albert

Every time I see Obama, I think of a snake. Am I racist?

Albert
Albert

I just can't help it, every time I see a chimp, I think of George W. Bush, much like when I see Santorum, I think of the frothy mixture of semen and feces.

I gotta swear off liberal media.

Albert
Albert

Why do monkeys get such a bad rap?

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

If Sandra Wheeler immediately thought of black people when she saw a clip of dancing monkeys wouldn't that make her the racist one?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Wheeler needs to get a fucking life.If anything, the chimps should be criticizing her for being a race-baiting, self-interested, publicity-seeking pain-in-the-ass.Now, I think I need to go watch Every Which Way But Loose, or is that a racist movie?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I love people who get all up in arms about absolutely nothing..Sandra Wheeler and her idiot cronies needs to be less focused on a funny youtube clip and instead making sure the transplanted DISD thugs that have entered Desoto over the past several years learn how to properly form a sentence and can count to 10..Then she can worry about how dancing chimps affect her on a socio-racial level..

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