This presidential election is bringing out the best in us Americans, and the worst in us, too.
I'd love to wax poetic on voter turnout, political giving, activist and grassroots involvement, politics of hope, young people engaged in the political process, and the very real possibility that - despite the persistence of institutional and even often virulent racism - a "black" (actually biracial - the need to label Sen. Barack Obama, whose mother was white, monolithically black is another evidence of the persistence of racism, a conscious or unconscious adoption of the "one drop rule") person could actually be elected president. I really would. Honestly I'm a "glass-half-full" kind of guy, who would love to accentuate the positive. Who would love to spend all my time talking up everything that it going right.
As I often say, there's always a "but."
But, right now I'm simply too pissed. That's because I just caught a glimpse of the cover of the newest edition of The New Yorker at kos:
Like most of the early commenters on the post at kos, I thought this had to be a joke. Some kind of Internet prank. The blogospere pulling my leg.
Well it turns out to be a joke, alright. Just not the funny kind. The New Yorker's idea of a joke. An attempt to satirize paranoid right-wing caricatures of the Obamas. But in aping the worst sort of racist attacks, this may only lend some credence to them.
At best this is in poor taste. At worst, it will only feed into the racism that has thus far been all too common this election cycle
Update: 7-14-08, 9:11 am
I'm coming to this party a little late. Here's what rikyrah has to say at Jack and Jill Politics:
It’s unreal to me that nearly all the BS coming against Obama during this campaign season….HAS COME FROM SO-CALLED FRIENDLY SOURCES.
This isn’t the NATIONAL REVIEW.
This is THE NEW YORKER.
What bothers me?
I dunno. Take your pic.
Bin Laden above the fireplace
The American Flag in the fireplace.
Obama in ‘Muslim’ Garb.
Michelle - with an Angela Davis Afro, and a Black Panther Machine gun.
Good lord, how many goddamn Obama smears can be placed in one picture frame?
I can hear the clicks now(copying and pasting of the picture), being sent in emails, all across the country.
And here's what Renee has to say at Womanist Musings:
Who does Blitt think that he will convince with this little cartoon? Those that already believe that Barack Huesein Obama is a terrorist are not going to be swayed by seeing him dressed up in Middle Eastern style clothing ...Nope, they are going to say ah ha told ya, the New Yorker even agrees with me. It does not matter what commentary goes around the image, it is the image that will resonate in the mind of others. Look he's different, he's not white, he can't be a real American, and to make sure that is what people take away from this image the flag is burning in the fireplace. Blacks are American enough to be over represented in the military, but certainly not American enough to hold any real power in society.
Here's the comment I left at Womanist Musings, which I think is better than anything I wrote on this for my own blog:
For satire to work, it has to be an over-the-top caricature of the position it is lampooning. In the case of racist attacks on the Obamas, there can simply be no "over-the-top." Satire here is impossible, because of the extreme depth of the irrational fear-fueled racist hatred slung at them daily.
There's simply no comic material here, so any joke is bound not only to fail, not only, in fact, to backfire, but even to further fan the flames of fear and hatred. And Lord knows they don't need any fanning.
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