I have heard jungle gyms called by many other names. I have heard them called “play sets,” “swing sets” or even “playground equipment.” Monday, for the first time, I also heard them called “racist.”
A good friend of mine, Chris Bradley, said he was watching CNN when some woman they interviewed took umbrage at the use of the word “jungle gym” because she said that was a racist phrase. The woman said the preferred term for this piece of equipment is “Outdoor Activity Play Set.” I would like to not mince words and say that this woman is an absolute, no-doubt-about-it moron racist.
Which word in the phrase “jungle gym” is the racist one? Is it “jungle” or “gym?” If it is “jungle,” then how am I ever going to discuss the Amazonian rain forest again? Do I have to say, “You know that place with lots of water and vegetation, and really big bugs and animals?” That seems cumbersome and inefficient.
Can I no longer use the phrase, “It was a jungle out there?” Is that a racist comment as well? Am I supposed to say, “It was a hot, steamy, and hard-to-walk-through-without-a-machete place out there?” That is quite a mouthful.
If it is the word “gym,” then how will I ever say where the basketball game took place? Will I say, “The Panthers won the game in the large room with the court and the hoops at either end this evening?” Can I not say, “I am going to work out in the gym any more?” Do I have to say, “I am going to work out in the place with the row machines, stair climbers and sweaty people this evening?”
Chris Bradley said, “Most of us grew up playing on ‘Jungle Gyms.’ I never once thought anything racist. I only thought of monkeys, gorillas, lemurs, etc… playing in the trees. I never once, until today, thought it could ever remotely be considered a race thing.”
I am assuming this lady thought the word “jungle” was the problem. Let us analyze her statement to see what is going on in her closed and underdeveloped mind.
The only way it could be a “race thing” is if you are already a racist. In her mind, I believe this CNN interviewee associated the jungle with these animals, perhaps mainly thinking of monkeys and gorillas. She then extrapolated that to black people. In other words, she is equating monkeys and gorillas with black people. I am going to call a spade a spade when I see one, and say that the racist person here is the lady who made such a ridiculously outlandish comment (oh, I better watch out, the word “spade” might be considered racist!).
This blatantly racist woman was interviewed by CNN for a story about the Kennedy-Dodd bill authorizing President Obama’s new healthcare plan. The bill includes money for cities to improve infrastructure that will encourage people to exercise.
“The Kennedy-Dodd bill will pave sidewalks, build jungle gyms and open grocery stores, but it won’t bring down health care costs or make quality coverage more affordable,” U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) said. “In a time of record debt and deficits, how can Democrats justify the wasteful spending in this bill?” (http://enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsRoom.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=d1547d1a-802a-23ad-40ec-93ef483a62bc)
This part of the bill jibes with Obama’s call to “Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities” by reforming federal transportation grants so cities receive more money to “create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks.” (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/jilliansphar/CJHG
The main thought the female CNN interviewee had about this bill and plan was that she was offended by Enzi’s use of the phrase, “jungle gyms.” She went off on her tirade against a phrase that she believes should readily be perceived by all human beings as racially insensitive and demeaning.
We live in strange times. Four-year-olds are sued for sexual harassment; people steal your identity and wash your checks. And, now, jungle gyms are racist pieces of playground equipment.
That’s all for now. It’s time for me to go play on my Outdoor Activity Play Set Center with the Monkey Bars (aw, dang, I cannot avoid the racism). Type at you later.
edited by Bre Bivens — Thanks to you for your assistance and support!