Monday, July 14, 2008

It's Not Called Racism Anymore, It's Called Irony

image I came across this image at ERRPort-77.  More commentary can be found at the America Blog. Every time I think that I cannot possibly be more offended, about the racism that has been used to attack the Obamas, something new comes along.

In homage to the obviously "terrorist fist bump" the New Yorker has decided to prey upon the ignorance of others and perpetuate stereotypes that are not only harmful to the Obamas, but to all POC.  According to the Huffington Post, Barry Blitt the artist who drew this depiction responded to criticism by saying, "I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is."

Does this excuse seem familiar to you? It should, it  is quite similar to the excuse given by the DailyKos for its portrayal of Michelle Obama being lynched. Depicting racial imagery to "fight" racism is not acceptable.   This is not the work of an ally.  I have looked at the other depictions drawn by this artist in search of the same kind of "irony," and surprisingly enough, none that I viewed relied on racism to illustrate a point. Blacks seem to keep winning the lottery on events like this. Who needs 40 acres and a mule when we are all so equal now?

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.

The depiction of Barack alone would be enough to draw my ire, but just to make sure an opportunity is not missed to completely reduce blacks, Michelle is included in this tasteless cartoon. From head to toe her depiction is that of an angry, irrational black woman. Notice the gravity defying afro synonymous with rebellion in the eyes of many. The afro symbolizes black pride but used in this context it is meant to be an indication of a black counter culture revolution, and therefore anti white.  A person that critiques white privilege of course views all whites as racist.  What would an angry black woman be without a gun, because ya know all black women are mad at the world. WOC are on a mission of destruction guided by hate. That the anger might possibly be justified is deemed ridiculous, after all she is a member of an elite class. Gotta keep your eyes on those uppity Negroes.

Daily POC must listen to the platitudes of whites that tell us that they don't see colour, or difference.  This is supposed to imply that difference is manufactured, and not nearly as prevalent as POC proclaim it to be.  We are enjoying the benefits of living in a post-racial society, while almost everywhere we look blacks continue to be marginalized, and 'othered'.  I for one am not fooled. The white sheets may have been donated to charity but those that now wear the dark suits are equally as dangerous to our progression as a people. Just because someone is not screaming white power, and nigger does not mean that their actions do not have a negative racial overtone.  Mr.Blitt, blacks need your kind of help, like we need an injection of deadly influenza.


Brown Shoes said...

It boggles my mind how people can fail to see how some things just aren't appropriate, but plenty of white people apparently are eager to somehow prove that racism is just so yesterday!

Drowsey Monkey said...

hmmm...maybe they thought the more over the top they were about it the more ridiculous it made other people seem? lol ... to be honest I dunno. Kinda hard to fathom what they were thinking to be honest.

Verchiel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Verchiel said...

In much agreement, Renee.

Thanks for the hattip


cooper said...

Satire uses race, ethnicity, and stereotypes , not just of POC. It is the basis of satire. I personally am offended by satire which uses the racist, sexist stereotypes as a base for their parodies anyway, though some things are funny it often saddens me that we have come to the point where nothing offends us.

That having been said, I've seen this and read so much about this tonight that I am exhausted by the rhetoric. I was going to post on it, but there is way too much attention being given to it as is.

This satire is the myths that wingnuts are circulating about him and that is what it was intended to be.

It was clearly meant to be satire, but given the small intellectual readership of the New Yorker and the fact that it will be passed around cyberspace like mad and interpreted by idiots to be taken literally, it was a bad move. I'm not really sure I see it as racist. Caricature by nature emphasis characteristics of race, ethnicity, and culture. I admit however to not being African American and not being in the shoes of those is offends most.

They have done some pretty sharp satire in the past of a variety of individuals and groups, and though this is in pretty poor taste at such a time I'm not sure they can be called out for this one.

Unless of course they did it on purpose, being angry over the FISA vote as most progressive are, or were encouraged by angry Hilary supported said to be prevalent at the New Yorker.

This is just some of the stuff going around, and frankly whether is this or that I believe the attention being paid to this, and all this kind of stuff during the pre election is not going to do any good to anyone who wants to elect Obama president.

I don't want to say suck it up because frankly POC have sucked up too much for too long.I probably would beat the shit out of anyone who asked me to suck it up if I had to put up with half the shit POC have had to put up with over the last 200 year, but I just have to say that at this point in time any of us play into the rampage on this will be doing Obama no good at all.

I may wake up with a whole different viewpoint. I'm still thinking on this.

I just think making an issue of this at this time is a small bruise on the brain in the midst of major brain surgery. If you leave it alone it will be ok for now, may even disappear, but if you start playing with it you can cause it to bleed and then it could kill you.

heartsandflowers said...

I emailed the cartoonist and replied to me. I told him he needs to learn the definition of satire and how portraying every racist thought process in a cartoon only confirms that process it does not critique it. I also told him he is not that naive. He will have more scrutiny of his work from now and I assured him any future employers should be contained to the likes of the National Review and other inflammatory and racist publications lest they want a boycott. He says he doesn't agree with the criticism he's received - big surprise!! What person who employs racist tactics ever wants to be called on it?

C.L. Jones said...

I think we all knew whenever a person of color became a major political figure, especially in the form of candidate for the president of the united states, that the racism would be hitting the black community from all angles. I wonder where Al sharpton and jesse are in situations like this?

Sandalstraps said...

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.

DiosaNegra1967 said...

"...make me wanna holler and throw up my hands..."

Sweet Machine said...

In the case of racist attacks on the Obamas, there can simply be no "over-the-top."

That's exactly it. This cover is basically indistinguishable from actual racist propaganda except for the words "The New Yorker" at the top.

(Over here from Shakesville, hi!)

combatmedicc said...

It's about time to get off the racism wagon. Face it, it's a poor excuse when things don't go your way.

The cover of the "New Yorker" told it like it is.

A man with strong ties to the Muslim religion, a woman who just now is proud to be an American.

If it walks like a duck: if it quacks like a duck; then it myst be a duck.

Renee said...

People like combatmedicc are the perfect example of why this cartoon fails as satire

combatmedicc said...


This is the definition of "satire":

In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement.[1] Although satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humor in itself so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit.

The key words in the above definition are: follies, shortcomings and disapproves.

Again, the cartoon (although not politically correct) says it like it is.



Renee said...

@combatmedic you don't even understand what the cartoon was trying to portray as ironic. The idea is that the people who believe the falsehoods depicted are idiots...

combatmedicc said...


Now you resort to name calling. Typical strategy for someone who can't or won't face the truth.

The cartoon depicts the truth, and if you want further proof, use google or any other search engine and type in "Barack Obama, Muslim Religion" and/or "Michelle Obama, Princeton University".

And by the way, the "bump" they do is an overtly racist jesture started in Vietnam. I was there..........

One final comment about your calling me an idiot, I may be, but in your case and old axiom really pertains to you and those who think like you:


Renee said...

Really the fact that I believe that he is not a Muslim nor did he attend a Madrass and you talk to me about a wasted mind....oh dear oxygen thieves abound today.

combatmedicc said...


I mean this sincerely.

I am a 63 year old, permanently disabled Vietnam Veteran and I love this country with all my heart. I know in my heart that you do too.

At least we are voicing our opinions and it's ok to disagree.

Never in history has there been such an important election which can change our world.
Unfortunately, I do not see any Knights in Shining Armor on the horizon.

The threat of terrorism is very real, and so many Americans just stick their heads in the sand. 9/11 was just the tip of the iceberg, and the worst is yet to come.

I have only a few short years left, but I care about my children, my grandchildren and you, your family and friends.

Thanks for a very stimulating and enlightening discussion and God Bless You.