Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Audacity Of Thick Skin

The more semi and blatantly racist images I see assaulting the Obamas, the more I realize the price of having a Black President. And I'm wondering if Black America has enough Tums and blood pressure meds to make it through 4 years of this. Peep the latest.

This week's New Yorker cover features an image of Michelle and Barack Obama that combines every smeary right-wing stereotype imaginable: An image of Obama in a turban and robes fist-bumping his be-afro'd wife, dressed in the military fatigues of a revolutionary and packing a machine gun and some serious ammo. Oh yes, this quaint little scene takes place in the Oval Office, under a picture of Osama bin Laden above a roaring fireplace, in which burns an American flag.

The illustration, by Barry Blitt,is called "The Politics of Fear" and, according to the NYer press release, "satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign."
You can look at this two ways. The proliferation of such racist images is a sign of the times. Namely, a sign that despite how far we think this country has come in the area of race relations, we've damn sure got a long way to go. I guess I wouldn't have much of a problem with Obama being roasted like this, it comes with the territory. But as the husband of a Black woman, something about the subliminal message of Michelle as a baby mama, an angry shrew, an oversexed blaxploitation heroiene, or worst of all, a lynching victim, just rubs me so many wrong ways.

I mean, seriously, lynching a Black woman? Is that what's hot on the streets right now? Just peep game from Bill O'Reilly.

And this wayward illustration from the DailyKos.

Call me crazy. I understand that spouses are fair game, but isn't there a line of decency to be drawn somewhere?

Barack's not immune himself of course.

On the flipside, part of me thinks Black America is gonna need to grow some thicker skin if this whole Number One Spot thing is gonna pan out like we hope. History seldom comes without some expense. And reality is, residents of 1600 Penn Ave. have been lampooned from the beginning of time. There's Abe Lincoln general fugliness. George Washington's wooden teeth[1]. Dan Quayle's idiocy. Bill Clinton's love of cheeseburgers and easy women. Bush Jr's total and complete lack of competence.

So it should be of little surprise that Obama's going to get mocked for many things of a racial nature, because, well, he's the first brother to make it this far. And what else can they really talk about other than his ears?

I hate stealing other blogger's catchphrases[2] but this time it seems apropos.

It's hard, but it's fair.


Question: Do you think the racial assault on the Obamas is completely uncalled for or simply par for the course? Does Black America need to be a bit less sensitive?

Yikes! Controversial New Yorker Cover Shows Muslim, Flag-Burning, Osama-Loving, Fist-Bumping Obama [HuffPost]

[1] Actually just an urban legend. I already know, don't comment on this.

[2] Heads up Jimi.

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