JK, woman fired for calling Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” gets her job back

For a distressingly large contingent of people, racism is fine as long as you don’t get caught. These are the ones who go through the usual apologetic motions in public and then go right back to their racist ways ASAP. And that, folks, is why the woman fired for calling Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” has her job back.

The week after the election, Pamela Taylor, director of the Clay County Development Corporation in West Virginia, made the following post on Facebook: “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a [sic] Ape in heels.” Because, you know, a black woman can’t be classy, beautiful, or dignified. Guess Vogue, InStyle, Essence, Glamour, New York Magazine, and the many other publications that put Obama on the cover didn’t get the memo. Taylor was fired as a result of the post and we rejoiced, for racism had gotten its just deserts.

Except it hadn’t. Taylor got her job back and is scheduled to return to work on Dec. 23, suggesting that it’s more important for the Clay County Development Corporation to present a momentarily acceptable media image than to address underlying racism from its director. Well, unless she managed to stop being racist in under a month.

Michelle Obama 2
CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Of course, we and FLOTUS know that’s some bullshit.

Since the corporation is partially government funded, any cracks in its public image can jeopardize its finances. An official from West Virginia’s state bureau has warned the Clay County Development Corporation that evidence of discrimination could put its funding at risk.

While it’s tempting to just point and laugh, a loss of funding would have serious consequences for the most disenfranchised residents of an already poverty-stricken area, where about 25 percent of people live below the poverty line. The Clay County Development Corporation provides services and financial assistance to economically disadvantaged and elderly people — the kind of services its user base often requires in order to not die.

Considering its purpose is to help people who may be marginalized by poverty, poor health, ageism, and ableism, as well as other related prejudices, it can’t afford to even tolerate mindsets that assume the inherent superiority of one group of people over another. If the organization writes off blatant racism as acceptable by re-hiring Taylor, this raises the question of what other types of discrimination are acceptable.