Black woman voices fury over young daughter's racist birthday card

Black woman shares her fury after her young daughter was called a ‘gorilla’ by a friend in a racist handmade birthday card, which also featured a drawing of an ape on the inside

  • Shavonya Poole, 34, from Florida, took to TikTok last week to share a throwback video of her eldest child, Zuri, reading the card out loud at her birthday party 
  • There were drawings of what appeared to be gorillas on the front and inside of the homemade card, where the child wrote: ‘Happy birthday, Zuri. Gorillas rock!’
  • Poole said she still couldn’t figure out why ‘these racist people’ sent their daughter to her child’s party, explaining that Zuri didn’t get that it was a slur  
  • In a follow-up video, the mother of three shared that the party took place two years ago, and she didn’t confront the parents because of her temper
  • Instead, Poole said she talked to Zuri about racism and immediately ended her friendship with the other girl 
  • A black mother has opened up about how she is still reeling after her daughter was called a ‘gorilla’ in a racist birthday card she received from a friend a few years ago. 

    Shavonya Poole, 34, from Florida, took to TikTok last week to share a throwback video of her eldest child, Zuri, reading the card out loud while surrounded by her friends. 

    There were drawings of what appeared to be gorillas on the front and inside of the homemade card, where the child wrote: ‘Happy birthday, Zuri. Gorillas rock!’ 

    ‘I’m still trying to figure out why these racist people sent their daughter to my kid’s party?’ Poole captioned the footage, which featured the card from all angles. 

    Scroll down for video  

    Shavonya Poole, 34, from Florida, revealed on TikTok that her daughter Zuri had received a racist birthday card from a friend who called her a 'gorilla'

    Shavonya Poole, 34, from Florida, revealed on TikTok that her daughter Zuri had received a racist birthday card from a friend who called her a ‘gorilla’ 

    There were drawings of what appeared to be gorillas on the front and inside of the homemade card, where the child wrote: 'Happy birthday, Zuri. Gorillas rock!'

    There were drawings of what appeared to be gorillas on the front and inside of the homemade card, where the child wrote: ‘Happy birthday, Zuri. Gorillas rock!’

    The mother, who also has two younger children, explained that Zuri didn’t realize the birthday message contained a racial slur.   

    ‘Did you hear the little girl laughing?’ she asked. ‘My baby didn’t get it.’

    Poole noted that gorillas had nothing to do with her daughter’s birthday celebration in any way, making it clear the drawings and message were racially motivated. 

    ‘Like for real though, gorillas rock that wasn’t even her birthday theme,’ she wrote. ‘What’s sad is these same people invited my daughter to their house for a sleepover. You think I sent her…hell nawl.’

    The mom admitted that she isn’t even entirely sure if it was a child who had drawn the gorillas on the card.  

    Poole said she still couldn't figure out why 'these racist people' sent their daughter to her child's party, explaining that Zuri didn't get that it was a slur

    Poole said she still couldn’t figure out why ‘these racist people’ sent their daughter to her child’s party, explaining that Zuri didn’t get that it was a slur

    Poole noted that gorillas had nothing to do with her daughter's birthday celebration in any way, making it clear the drawings and message were racially motivated

    Poole noted that gorillas had nothing to do with her daughter's birthday celebration in any way, making it clear the drawings and message were racially motivated

    Poole noted that gorillas had nothing to do with her daughter’s birthday celebration in any way, making it clear the drawings and message were racially motivated

    ‘Who even drew this? Was it the kid, the mom, the dad, or a sibling?’ she wondered. ‘It’s people like this that keep racism alive in this day and age.’

    The video has been viewed more than 256,000 times, and many people shared Poole’s outrage over the racist card.

    ‘Wow I would have called that [child’s] parents so damn quick,’ one person commented, while another added: ‘The way my anger set up I would’ve been in jail.’

    Poole agreed, saying that’s why she ‘left it alone’ and opted to be the ‘bigger person’ in the situation by not confronting the child’s parents. 

    A number of viewers were also convinced that the child’s parents had a hand in making the card. 

    Poole admitted that she isn't even entirely sure if it was Zuri's friend or one of her family members who had drawn the gorillas on the card

    Poole admitted that she isn’t even entirely sure if it was Zuri’s friend or one of her family members who had drawn the gorillas on the card

    The video has been viewed more than 256,000 times, and many people shared Poole's outrage over the racist card

    The video has been viewed more than 256,000 times, and many people shared Poole’s outrage over the racist card

    ‘That child didn’t write that on there without the parent influence,’ one TikToker wrote. ‘I would’ve been so angry. How do you even explain that kind of hate?’

    ‘I wonder if the little girl giving it realized what it meant,’ someone else asked. ‘[I] think maybe the parents came up with the card idea.’ 

    Poole said her daughter ‘got introduced to racism at an early age,’ and she had to have a ‘talk to her about it’ because she ‘didn’t get it.’ 

    There is a long racist history of the dehumanization of black people by comparisons to gorillas and apes, a depiction that was used to promote slavery and colonization.  

    A study from over a decade ago found that many Americans subconsciously associate black people with apes. 

    In a follow-up video, the mother of three explained that the party took place two years ago, and she didn't confront the parents because of her temper

    In a follow-up video, the mother of three explained that the party took place two years ago, and she didn’t confront the parents because of her temper

    Instead, Poole said she talked to Zuri about racism and immediately ended her friendship with the other girl

    Instead, Poole said she talked to Zuri about racism and immediately ended her friendship with the other girl

    The research also showed that ‘society is more likely to condone violence against black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human.’  

    In a follow-up video, Poole explained that her daughter had received the card two years ago, but she has never been able to forget about it. 

    ‘If you read the caption, you would have seen that I said I’m still trying to figure out why these racist people sent their kids to my party. Because that’s what I’m trying to do,’ she said. ‘I’m still trying to figure out two years later why they did that.’

    The mother of three also had a message for commenters who insisted she should have confronted the child’s family.  

    ‘One thing about me, I don’t let people control me, baby. If I let people control me in situations like that, I would have been in jail many times,’ she said. ‘My anger level and my temper, the way they’re set up, the best thing I could have [done] was kept my mouth closed and ended their friendship.’ 

    ‘What I did was best for me and my family,’ she explained, adding: ‘You don’t always have to react the way people expect you to.’