I came across this image at the Cagle Post Cartoons & Commentary. This is not the first such image to prey upon the unspoken fears of black Americans regarding an assassination attempt on Barack Obama.
According to Feministe this image was sent into PostSecret. The blocked out section reads "a matter of time". It is common knowledge that Obama received secret service protection earlier than any other candidate in history. The public has not been made privy to the kinds of threats that have aimed at the Obama family, but we must acknowledge their existence based on the systemic racism in the United States.
Throughout American history it has been proven repeatedly that black lives are cheap. Men less famous and "controversial" than Barack have found themselves dancing at the end of a rope for having the temerity to assert their humanity. Dr. King who preached about equality and judging someone on the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin had his voice silenced by an assassins bullet.
It would be naiveté to assume that these same forces do not also seek to silence Barack. If one truly listens to his platform it is clear that Barack isn't particularly left leaning, in fact he is a centrist. What is problematic about Obama is not his message but the colour of his skin. The same platform run by an Edwards or Kerry would not have aroused the same kind of national ferment.
What is at stake is the traditional right of whiteness to rule. Barack represents a threat to social hierarchy and those so- called fringe elements that scream nigger and kill him, are all to aware that if whiteness becomes socially devalued their ability to express power in situations wherein they are in actuality functioning with very little social power will diminish.
Each advancement of POC have been ferociously fought against by the white majority; from manumission, to civil rights, to the election of Barack, whiteness has continually acted in its best interests. It plays out in the everyday slights faced by POC, whether it be invisibility in representation, or in acts of obvious racism displayed by men like Rush Limbaugh.
Black blood still runs freely and Obama whether we want to confront it or not is a target. He will continue to be a target as long as the US continues to be a racially divided society. The only way to reduce the threat factor is to deal with the social angst that is caused by racism. As difficult as it may be we must soldier on and continue to fight against those that seek to profit on socially constructed difference.
Though whiteness has been offered as a reward in actuality its overvaluation is what is holding under/working/middle class Americans back from achieving real social and economic growth. It blinds them from seeing the ways in which the ruling elite manipulate their hate, and their fear, to ensure that there is a continual class of people to be exploited.
If we see the person next to us as an an enemy instead of a comrade in the struggle, then we will not be inclined to marshal forces to demand our shared human rights. Things like health care and education are not a priority for the ruling bourgeoisie who can afford to pay for elite services, they are the concerns of the proletariat. The myopia of the racists who allow themselves to be engorged with hate to the point of considering acts of violence is terrifying and reductive. Not seeing the benefit of racial solidarity means that they will forever live lives that are stunted, while POC continue to hope for the safety of our leaders.