Friday, October 15, 2010

Satirical Racism in Colorado

A Colorado billboard is making national headlines for its “satirical” nature, showing the President as a terrorist, a mobster, illegal immigrant and a gay man.

The controversial billboard is displayed off the state's I-70 B highway and according to local news station KJC8, the owner of the billboard wants to remain anonymous.



The artist who designed it however, Paul Snover, had no problem speaking out and told the news station,
"To not put my name on it would be saying that I'm embarrassed or afraid, or ashamed of what I've done…and, I'm not."
Snover says it's supposed to be satirical and shows what many people believe are the President's four faces. (source)
If people actually believe that those are Obama's four faces, they are racist as well as homophobic. I think what continues to bother me is that there are various issues on which the president can and rightfully should be critiqued, but to descend to this level means that these people are not really interested in change, but in maintaining the hegemony of dominant bodies. The very fact that the owner of the billboard chose to remain anonymous, means that ze knows what ze is doing, is problematic on many levels.  It is absolutely cowardly to put such hate into the world and then not claim it. Snover, the artist, had a different reaction to his work because he is an  unabashed bigot. This billboard is not only a shameful marker of Snover's beliefs, but that of society.  There is no pressure on people like Snover to reconsider their actions or beliefs, because society condones the messages he sent out using his artwork.  Of course the Brooks Brothers bigots think as long as the avoid saying slurs, that they don't share the same prejudices as Snover et al., but in truth, thesse isms are systemic and this is why Snover had no fear revealing his identity. We don't discipline for bigotry, we support and promote it.


I find it interesting that the Democrats were called rats, because it symbolizes a perceived betrayal.  Power structures are meant to support and maintain the social dominance of specific bodies and though  Obama's government did pass a health care revision, essentially the way in which power is controlled and manifested has not changed.  In fact, substantive change is not possible because though they fear Obama's race, he has always been a centrist.  Their fear is only based on suspicion of change, which means should we ever really get serious about challenging oppression and hierarchy, the resistance and hatred will be multiplied.


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