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Harambe Isn’t The Perfect Meme—It’s A Racist One

The internet joke capitalizes on a history of using gorillas as avatars for black people

Last week, The Atlantic ran a piece titled, “How Harambe Became the Perfect Meme.” The subtitle read: “The slain gorilla signifies nothing — except maybe our increasingly weird post-everything world.” But it doesn’t take much reflection to realize that what the gorilla and the jokes surrounding his death signify is much pernicious. Nowhere in The Atlantic article is race even invoked to explain the meme’s staying power.

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