[Watch] Racist or Nah? Treatment of Parents in Gorilla-Gate Reeks of a Double Standard

[Watch] Racist or Nah? Treatment of Parents in Gorilla-Gate Reeks of a Double Standard

Why are people concerned with the father's "criminal past" and not about the zoo's small barrier?

Published June 2nd

The story of Harambe the gorilla has captured the Nation's attention since 3-year-old Isiah Dickerson fell into the Cincinnati Zoo's enclosure, resulting in the death of the gorilla to ensure the safety of the child.

Now that some of the dust has begun to settle, people are beginning to point fingers. Sadly, some news sources have elected to blame the parents, pointing to the father's troubled past which has some calling racism. Others are wondering if the zoo its self is to blame, as the barrier is easily surmountable, leaving some to wonder why the zoo is facing no legal recourse. 

The way that the child's parents, Michelle Gregg, 32, and Deonne Dickerson, 36, have been treated since their race was revealed has been surprising, to say the least.

FOX News has covered the story by blaming the father, and bringing up his criminal record to display that it is the parents' and not the zoo's fault, adding that "protestors and animal lovers have been standing outside of the zoo calling for the parents to be prosecuted.

This is not the first time that a child has fallen into a gorilla exhibit, as ABC News reported that a similar incident occurred in 1996 at the Illinois Zoo. At the time, "The boy suffered a broken hand and cuts to his face and spent four days at the hospital. He and his mother were never identified," which points to a stark difference in how the white child and his mother were treated by the public, with much more sympathy than Isiah's parents.

Another question many are asking is how the zoo is not being held responsible. As DailyMail reported, the barrier that separates zoo-goers from 15-foot drop into the gorilla exhibit was only 3-feet tall before the recent additions. While some are questioning if the barrier, or lack there of, is to blame. But zoo director, Thane Maynard, said, "We all need to work to make sure our families are safe. Do you know any three-year-olds? They can climb over anything." He added, "Any of us could climb over barriers if we chose...it someone wants to get in, they can." But Animal activists, angry over the death of the critically endangered ape, have elected to hold the zoo responsible. 

Michael Budkie, from the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said, "If this enclosure had been constructed adequately a three-year-old child could not have penetrated it." Adding, "This wasn't someone who came in with grappling hooks and ropes. You tell me. If a three-year-old child can get through the barrier is that a safe barrier?"

These questions are now being highlighted as police have investigated the actions of the boy's family and not the safety of the zoo, though it was recently revealed that law enforcement did not recommend pursuing charges against Gregg.

Amongst the controversy, it is important to remember that the young boy left the enclosure with minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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