Orangutan remark is trending in today’s news and puts racism into another light on foreign soil. Allegedly, an Italian senator referred to the country’s first African cabinet minister as an ape, citing a July 15 Fox2Now news report.
As the United States grapples with the George Zimmerman verdict in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Europe has a social issue to contend with, one about intolerance for non-Italian-born politicians.
Reportedly, Roberto Calderoli, an Italian senator, made a shocking comparison of Cecile Kyenge and an ape.
Calderoli attended a political rally over the weekend, where he uttered the racist orangutan remark.
He was quoted as saying, “I love animals — bears and wolves, as everyone knows — but when I see the pictures of Kyenge, I cannot but think of, even if I’m not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan,” he was quoted as saying.
Fox wrote: “He also is quoted as saying that Kyenge’s success has encouraged illegal immigration to Italy and that she should be a minister “in her own country.”
The toxic comments caused uproar, mostly along racial and political lines.
Ironically, Kyenge responded diplomatically and said the senator should focus more on his duty to his constituency and responsibility in leadership instead of making racist comments.
Calderoli and others blame immigrants for the current economic and crime crisis in Italy and say minister Kyenge should focus on her own country.
Not only has the new cabinet member been compared to an ape; the politician has been called “Congolese monkey,” “Zulu” and “the black anti-Italian.”
Likely caving in to pressure from critics of his offensive remarks, Calderoli made an attempt at apology.
“If I’ve offended her. I apologize. It was a joke, a comment in a joking way. There was nothing particularly against her. It was just my impression. … It is all very well that she be a minister, but in her own country. Given that this government needs to govern Italy, I hope that it is done by Italians.”
Following online and public petitions for Calderoli’s resignation over the orangutan remark, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said the talk is “unacceptable beyond any limit.”
He is now pressuring the anti-immigration Northern League party to close the chapter in this tense matter immediately.
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