Residents of a town in Texas are up in arms over a case of political correctness run amok. And it involves a “racist” gorilla statue.
In February, the city of Corsicana, Texas, about 45 minutes south of Dallas, removed a gorilla statue from a local playground. The statue, nicknamed “Dobby” by residents, had sat inside of a metal cage on a park playground for decades. It was a favorite of local kids, but the city removed it after it received a complaint that the statue was offensive.
The logic in the complaint went something like this: a statue of a black gorilla in a cage is a symbol of racism. Corsicana is a largely white community, and there have been some racially-tinged incidents over the years. After someone complained to the city, city leaders – without informing residents – had the statue removed in the middle of the night.
Residents were outraged, and not just because the statue was gone. They were upset that triggered residents could get such a ridiculous response from the city without the input of everyone else, and they weren’t going to stand for it.
Many pointed out that if you were looking for the true racist, look to the individual who thought a gorilla statue represented black people.
Here was Dobby in happier times.
The City of Corsicana recently removed the gorilla statue from its cage in Community Park after its was reported as ‘offensive.’
Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow addressed the removal in a letter sent Tuesday evening to the Daily Sun and posted on the City’s website.
“The City of Corsicana has recently made the decision to remove a display in Community Park,” the letter stated. “It was determined to be potentially racially insensitive. This was brought to our attention by a few citizens. The circumstances were evaluated and determined to be valid. It was not possible to leave the gorilla without the cage due to safety reasons. The statue was top heavy and was caged initially to protect the children. The cage will be left and turned into a climbing feature. The City will look at replacing the display in the future.”
Local residents pounced on the “Save Dobby” movement, creating a makeshift memorial with flowers and stuffed animals for their lost friend. Catholic candles with the Virgin Mary were lit, and a few folks even left beer. A few angry individuals lashed out with graffiti on nearby walls, with the phrase “Bring Ape Home.”
An additional letter from Mayor Denbow was sent to the Corsicana Daily Sun Wednesday afternoon which stated:
“The City of Corsicana recently made the decision to remove a display in Community Park. The reason for the decision was two-fold: recognizing that the display was offensive to some of our citizens and a concern regarding the safety of the exhibits. It is the City’s goal to depict all the animals in Community Park in a free environment that is safe for children. Other animals will be added to the display including a free-standing gorilla and a tiger. As budget permits, additional recreational options will be added.”
A candlelight vigil was planned for Wednesday night at the site as a “show of solidarity and a statement that the people of Corsicana will no longer back down and look the other way while those in power get to do whatever they please,” according to the event organizers Facebook post.
The gorilla has been nicknamed Dobby and the Facebook page “In memory of Dobby” was created to pay tribute to the removed statue.
Longtime Corsicana resident Betty Lambert commented on the statue’s removal Wednesday in a letter to the editor.
“My grand nieces love Community Park,” Lambert stated. “When they came to visit me (until they grew up) the park was always their favorite stop. The gorilla cage was a favorite. They called him King Kong. I can understand that this display could be construed as a racial point of contention by some. The gorilla is a black ape confined in a unbreakable cage. I am sympathetic to the idea that it could be thought of as a metaphor for the institution of slavery. And now that it is pointed out to me, I see it. I support the removal of the gorilla on the grounds that it could offend members of our community. At no time did I ever think of it as anything other than King Kong.”
The protests seemed to work – the city backed down and agreed to bring Dobby back.
After much outrage and threats to unseat local politicians, the city relented.
Wednesday afternoon Pct. 4 City Councilman Jeff Smith posted an update on his Facebook page.
“Update on the gorilla,” Smith stated. “He will be placed back in the park as soon as weather permits!”
The Corsicana Daily Sun reported the removal on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon which prompted mostly outrage from readers and at press time drew over 1,300 comments and over 570 shares. A petition was created on the website change.org and the hashtag #GorillaGate2018 has been attached to the incident.