Culture

Clemson University Bans ‘Any Reference to Harambe’ from Dorm Spaces Because of ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Racism’

What a terrible thing to do to this gorilla.

A Clemson University administrator has demanded that any and all references to Harambe be removed from the public spaces in its dormitories because of concerns about “rape culture” and “racism.”

“Due to an incident that happened earlier this week, we are no longer allowing any reference to Harambe (or any other spelling) to be displayed on doors, halls, billboards, or windows,” an administrator stated in an e-mail to resident assistants, a screenshot of which was leaked to Campus Reform. “Essentially, Harambe should not be displayed in a public place or a place that is viewed by the public.”

“If residents are asking why they have to take them down you can share that there was a report from an individual about a meme being offensive and bias [sic] in nature and as a result all Harambe references are no longer allowed within our community.”

In an e-mail responding to a student’s question about the policy that obtained by Campus Reform, Graduate Community Director Brooks Artis explained that “there have been reports that he and the incident surrounding his death have been used to add to the rape culture as well as being a form of racism.”

Now, the exact content of the “offensive” meme isn’t explicitly stated. Using context clues, however, I’d guess that — as with a similar controversy at the University of Massachusetts earlier this month — all of this stemmed from a student writing or posting something that said “d**** out for Harambe” somewhere. If you’re not familiar with “d**** out for Harambe,” it is a phrase that has become a popular joke/meme since Harambe’s death, and the reason that you’re not familiar is because it has not had an impact on our society whatsoever. That’s right: The phrase “d**** out for Harambe” has actually not resulted in a bunch of flashers running around terrorizing people in the name of a dead gorilla. If that were happening — if students did have to worry that they might encounter a band of sexual deviants with their “d**** out for Harambe” every time they left their dorm rooms — then I absolutely would concede that Clemson had a point. But as it stands, people are just saying and writing “d**** out for Harambe” because they think it’s funny to say and write “d**** out for Harambe,” and that’s actually something that we here in normal-people-land call “not that serious.” Crude? Sure. Worthy of this kind of action? Only if you’re an insane person.

I’m not saying that the school is not allowed to ban the word “d***” from its public spaces. It is, after all, considered a “bad word,” and that would be something that I could understand. But in any case, how does one offensive meme (be it “d**** out for Harambe” or anything else) justify banning all references to Harambe? What a horrible thing to do to this gorilla. First he dies a tragic death, and now we are treating all references to him like hate speech just because of one report about one meme? It really is sickening.

I’ve never been dead, so please excuse my alive-splaining, but I do know for a fact that if I were dead, I would want my face and name publicly displayed in as many places as possible. Make no mistake: If Dead Kat ever found out that her name and likeness were being banned from the public square because one person made an offensive meme about her, you could bet your ass that she would be back with a vengeance to haunt the living hell out of whomever made that decision — and I guess we should just all be grateful that Harambe seems to be a far more merciful primate than I am.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online

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