Labels: Barack Obama, Cover scandal, New Yorker, Osama Bin Laden, Oval Office, racist caricature
posted by Rebecca Walker at 10:17 PM
I hate it.
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It has no humour. It's a wrong call.
It makes me feel sad. It is the worst of the New Yorker-- cynical and self-serving.
When I saw the cover of the New Yorker and its caricature depiction of the Obama’s, my eyes just about fell out of my head. So I had to read the Huffington Post’s interview with David Remnick to gain some insight into his reasons for running this controversial cover. As I was reading the interview, I gained a better understanding of Remnick’s intentions. However, I still feel he made a poor decision. On a superficial level, the title of the work (“The Politics of Fear”) does not appear on the cover – and may have illuminated the satirical intent of this depiction. On a deeper level, I am of the impression that the sensitivities surrounding Race and Racism in this country were not taken into consideration when Remnick made his decision. I think for many non-Whites in this country the Obama family symbolizes the uplifting of oppressed minorities throughout our history. And although the satire was aimed to make impotent the prejudices and lies told about the Obama family, the caricature unfortunately was interpreted as a mockery of the symbolism of Barack Obama. For me, this was the most disturbing aspect of this hurtful image, because Barack Obama didn’t base his campaign on being non-White, biracial, or part Black. As a result of this country’s tediously and epically slow advancement on issues such as Racism, Obama’s skin color does symbolize something important to many in this country. He could have played the “Race card” had he wanted to, and an enormous mass of supporters would have stood behind him. However, Barack Obama’s sensitivities to this country’s Racist history, and his decision to not participate in its trappings made his rise to securing the Democratic nomination that much more poignant. It seems the New Yorker didn’t appreciate what the Obama family has come to symbolize for so many in this country.
Actually, at a first glance, I thought that whoever drew it was actually making fun of the people who are spreading those rumors about Obama. To me, it said, "The rumors themselves are ridiculous." Not that those things are true.
The word "ridiculous" was the first thing that came to mind when I first saw the New Yorker magazine cover. Regardless of the message that the satirist intended to convey, it was tasteless, to say the least. I was especially offended by the image of Michelle Obama with a gun slung over her shoulder, thus perpetuating and inflaming the image of the angry black woman. I am even more convinced now that what is missing from the larger societal conversation is an understanding of what it means to be black in this country. What is often seen as “anger” in African-Americans is simply the passion that is inherent within us. That said, one cannot overlook the fact that this passion is fueled by many sources, including our history in and with this country. Our country. And the current experiences which we face daily. Until we can begin an honest and open dialogue across the boundaries of color and ethnicity, we cannot expect to rid ourselves of misconceptions, and little will change. What is not being said is the fact that it is not just Obama’s patriotism that is being questioned, but the patriotism of ALL African-Americans. For more dialogue and creative expressions on the subject of the dual consciousness of African-Americans and African-American patriotism, check out my blog: http://xpatriotmusings.blogspot.com
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