Out Out Damn Monkeys

Posted on 2 July 2018 Monday

“Historians of genocide often argue that dehumanization is a necessary precondition for culturally and/or state-sanctioned violence…

A growing literature demonstrates that individuals tend to associate out-groups and out-group members with nonhuman animals more than they do members of their in-group…

More to the point, research by Goff and colleagues supports the hypothesized link between dehumanization and sanctioned violence… In this research, White participants who were subliminally exposed to images of apes before watching a video of police beating a Black man were more likely to endorse that beating, despite the extremity of the violence. Participants did not, however, endorse the same beating when the suspect was White or when they had not been primed with the ape image. In a follow-up study, Goff et al. coded newspaper articles about death-eligible criminal cases in Philadelphia for ape-related metaphors. They found that the frequency of ape-related imagery predicted whether or not criminals were executed by the state. Of importance, in neither study was racial prejudice (explicit or implicit) a significant predictor. That is, dehumanization uniquely predicted violence and its endorsement.”

source: “The Essence of Innocence : Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children” https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-a0035663.pdf

While at ALA last week, I did take a small bit of time to look for monkey books. I did not do an exhaustive search; the set up of the exhibit hall this year made it a challenge.

I visited 3 publisher’s booths looking for them and found monkey or ape books at two of them.

On 3 July (tomorrow) Simon and Schuster releases a new series, Mr. Monkey, authored and illustrated by Jeff Mack. On display were both books that debut this month: Mr. Monkey Bakes a Cake and Mr. Monkey Visits A School. The first set of images are from Mr. Monkey Visits a School. The level of violence and baffonery in the books only amplifies how disturbing these books are.

And these, are from Mr. Monkey Bakes A Cake.


Random House displayed Grumpy Monkey written by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang.

Just as the conference was beginning, Elisa Gall provided reaction she has as a White reader to my coverage of monkeys and apes in picture books (btw, there are monkey and ape references in YA, too] on Reading While White. http://readingwhilewhite.blogspot.com/2018/06/knowing-better-doing-better.html

What are your thoughts and comments about anthropomorphic monkeys, apes and gorillas?

“…dehumanization uniquely predicted violence and its endorsement.”








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