Beyond the hyperbole in this New Yorker cover, something as simple as projecting Michelle Obama's non-straightened, non european style hair, as radical, speaks the shortcomings of race relations in the US. Jimmy Carter may have been the worst president in recent times, but his words recently do hold some weight. Every pundit past the right of center has lambasted Carter. Foremost, just because Michael Steele is black, does not mean racism is gone in modern conservative America. Joe Scarbourough had a field day, with this idea, giggling while suggesting that according to Carter, Michael Steele must be racist for disagreeing with Obama. Joe, there are better ways to prove your not a racist, than to include someone who agrees with you into an argument, just because of his race. Talk about Token.
Jimmy Carter my be off base, but i look at it in this light: In 2004 the issue that was most important to voters and decided the election was not the economy or two wars, but "cultural issues"(gay marriage/ abortion etc.). Culture and ethics are based on identity, and if a political opponent has a different cultural identity, then it is only natural that some values voters will dislike Obama solely for this fact.
This is expected, there are 300 million people in the country and there will be fringe voters everywhere. The problem now is that there has been interaction and reinforcement of these fringe and indeed racist ideas, with media and political Figures.
The Media Matters
In the age of the 24 hour news-network and rampant internet conspiracy theories, the media has a special responsibility to filter out popular, yet baseless beliefs and report critically on substantiated events. The reality is that there is a lot of advocacy journalism that instead of putting to rest fears about Obama being a racial activist, the feed off them to gain viewership and a national voice. Is there any other reason Glenn Beck is on the cover of time. The problem with the media as related to the Obama-race issue is that Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs have validated many peoples' suspicions and enforeced their biases simply by mentioning conspiracies on their credible network platforms. Critics are supposed to pick out what is the best, or has the most truth so that the less informed can gain insight. These guys are doing the exact opposite by playing to what the dissenting portion of the population wants to hear. Here Glenn Beck talk about how Obama, Must hate white culture.
This racial issue can't be over looked, recently Rush Limbaugh has suggest that the Public Option is really an effort at reparations, in effect racially charging the health care reform debate.
Blunt, Not so Subtle: Politics Race and Vote Getting...
Just recently at the voters value summit, congressman Roy Blunt opened with a joke about a money problem in colonial India, and then likened it to the problem faced in washington. Oh thats funny, but who exactly do you think he is comparing to a money, someone who likes bananas?
watch it for yourself: here
Days before the election for the chairmanship of the young republicans, the frontrunner Audra Sigler Shay was called out for seeming to support racist language. She later apologized for "lol"ing at Obama being among other things a "mad coon" and a terrorist. She passed off incident claiming she misread Eric S Piker's Comments, I think she just misjudged facebook as a forum where she could voice her personal opinions without ridicule. Oh, and guess what, event after this gaffe, she was voted in as chairman. See the story here: here
As for fringe protesters, we have all seen them, its not worth the post. I will mention that RI tea party president went on the radio saying all this talk about obama and race was misplaced because he is not african american because he had an African father and white mother. Some needs to tell her that race is a social construct, if you appear black than ipso facto your are. In fact breaking up the african american community into slivers is just another way to marginalize them. I don't particularly care about the race issue, just calling out dumb Rhode Islanders .