Colorado Springs Republican Raymond Garcia, who’s run for multiple state house seats and is listed as an active candidate on state campaign-finance records, posted a meme on Facebook last month comparing a picture of a group of Black men and children standing on a police car with a photo of a group of monkeys climbing over a car.
“I know I shouldn’t insult monkeys like this….. But.. What the heck.. It’s Monday,” Garcia commented above the image on Facebook.
The meme was posted in early July in the midst of protests and turmoil over the August, 2019, murder of 23-year-old Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora Police. Police in Aurora donned riot gear and used tear gas to subdue protesters at a violin-vigil for McClain last month.
Reached for comment, Garcia adamantly argued his post was not racist, instead choosing to chide liberals for continuing to bring up race as an issue.
“That image was not racist,” Garcia said. “Republicans are not, and have never been, racist. And the Democratic party is the same as it always has been: a bunch of racists. They always have been, they always will be.”
In 2014 and 2016 Garcia lost to state Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver). In 2018 and 2020 Garcia was defeated in the Republican Primary by state Rep. Lois Landgraf of Colorado Springs in another state House race.
The practice of describing Black people as monkeys or apes has its roots in depicting oppressed populations as sub-human to justify their oppression. In the U.S. it was used to justify slavery. Racist comparisons between Black people and monkeys still occur today in sports and in the fashion world.
A politician in Wales posted the same meme that Garcia posted on Facebook in June. Local police launched a hate crime investigation against him and the man resigned from his position.
Calls for Facebook to limit hate speech on the platform have intensified along with the anti-racism protests occurring across the U.S. During the month of July more than 1,000 brands stopped buying advertisements on Facebook in an effort to push the social media giant to crack down on hate speech.
The boycott did not affect Facebook’s ad-revenue for July, but Facebook did say it would hire a civil rights executive. The group that organized the boycott is called #StopHateForProfit and is a coalition of groups like the NAACP, the ADL, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.