North Korea, feeling the affects of vast Internet outages over the weekend, blamed the United States for its computer issues, compared President Obama to a monkey and, generally, showed again why it is an isolated country under a racist, enigmatic and unpredictable regime.
Sony initially canceled the release of the film, The Interview, which is partly is about an assassination attempt of North Korea state leader Kim Jong Un, after hackers posted threats of violent reprisals if the film made it to theaters. After Obama criticized Sony for “caving in” to the threats, Sony issued the movie in limited release.
At the same time, Obama promised to retaliate against North Korea for the hacking, and Kim is said to believe the United States was at the heart of its country’s main Internet sites suffering off-and-on disruptions followed by a complete outage of nearly nine hours last week. But China’s Xinhua news agency reported that North Korea’s Internet and 3G mobile networks were paralyzed again on Saturday evening, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
And the insults with racial undertones were fired.
“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unnamed spokesman for the commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
The White House did not respond, almost certainly because it is aware of Kim and his country’s penchant for issuing racist or insulting remarks when under duress.
Seven months ago, in May, the KCNA again addressed President Obama recklessly, saying, to “live with a group of monkeys in the world’s largest African natural zoo.”
Surprisingly, North Korea officials insist that remark had no racist undertones. It was just a part of a “war of words” with the U.S. for decades, rooted in distrust of each other.
North Korea commonly resorts to name-calling and race-baiting when it is challenged or upset. In August U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was called by North Korea officials a “wolf donning the mask of sheep” when he called for peace just as the U.S staged its annual military drills with South Korea. North Korean officials have also called South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute.
But the references to Obama as a monkey are particularly incendiary and, unfortunately, follow a path of American right-wing politics played out on television, social media sites and Internet blogs.
The “monkey” references actually were tested in 2007, when Penn State researchers conducted six separate studies and found that many Americans still link Blacks with apes and monkeys. Many of them were young and supposedly had no knowledge of the vicious stereotyping of Blacks of years past, according to Huffington Post. They titled their findings, “Not Yet Human: Implicit Knowledge, Historical Dehumanization and Contemporary Consequences,” in the February 2008 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, was published by the American Psychological Association.
The researchers found that participants—including those who claim no stated prejudices or knowledge of the historical images—were quicker to associate Blacks with apes than they were to associate whites with apes.
This is evidence that North Korea understands the depth of its insults on the president and others. Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman was a friend of Kim and, under heavy U.S. backlash, visited North Korea several times. But when Rodman vowed to not return to the country, he was labeled as a “monkey.”