Racist Obama Book Display (Photo)
SUMMARY: Circulating via email, a photo taken of a window of the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Coral Gables, Florida featuring a display of Barack Obama books into which a book named 'Monkeys' has been inserted.
Description: Emailed image
Circulating since: Feb. 2009
Status: Authentic / See details below
Email example contributed by Laurence W., Feb. 21, 2009:
FW: Barnes & Noble - Racism???
Subject: Racism still exists obviously
Click to Enlarge
Image source: Unattributed, circulating via email
Official statement from Barnes & Noble, Inc.:
Comments: The photo is authentic, Barnes & Noble acknowledges that the offensive display did, in fact, appear in a window of its Coral Gables, Florida location, and a public apology has been issued.
The racist implications of inserting a book entitled Monkeys in a display devoted to Barack Obama are clear and undeniable. According to company statements, however, the incident does not reflect the attitudes of Barnes & Noble, its management, or its employees. It is believed that a customer surreptitiously replaced one of the books in the display with the offending title.
"Barnes and Noble would certainly not do something like this,” spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating told the NAACP's TheDefendersOnline website. “We put up a display to honor President Obama. Once we discovered this, four days later, it was immediately removed.”
Barnes & Noble would like to publicly apologize for what happened in our Coral Gables, Florida store. We believe that a customer played a cruel joke and placed an inappropriate title in the front window of our store, where we were featuring books written by or about President Obama. We want to assure our customers that the book placed by someone other than our booksellers was never intended to be included in our display and was removed as soon as we became aware of the situation. We are looking into it and are taking the steps necessary so that it does not happen again. From time to time customers will move titles from one area of the store to another. In this particular case, we do not condone whatever message may have been intended with the placement of this title in our Presidential display. It certainly was not part of our merchandising and we regret that we didn’t see the placement of this title immediately.
Mary Ellen Keating, Spokesperson
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Sources and further reading:
Another 'Cruel Joke' About President Obama
The Defenders Online, 27 February 2009
Barnes & Noble Store Window Features Obama Alongside Monkey Book
BlackPower.com, 27 February 2009
Last updated: 02/28/09