Friday, September 18, 2009

Acting White: America’s Final 'Race' Exam

You have just entered your last final exam on the last day of your graduate studies. The proctor hands you a blue booklet with but a single essay question on the cover. Answer correctly and you will graduate with honors, with a good job. Incorrectly, and you get to repeat the year at a cost of $50K, plus all the humiliation you can imagine.

Question: In no more than three regular sentences, describe why those who vehemently disagree with President Obama are not exhibiting racism in their characterization of him as a witch-doctor.

Bonus One: In one sentence, explain why Obama claims this depiction is not racist.

Bonus Two: In one sentence, explain why Jimmy Carter thinks this depiction is racist.

You may begin. Eyes straight ahead. Good luck.

WARNING: ALL FAILING RESPONSES WILL BE DELETED.

James C. Collier

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9 comments:

Marcus said...

Sir, I agree with your general rule,
Every racist is a fool,
But looking at things on a case by case basis,
Shows us that not every fool is a racist.

Yeah, I changed the words to my favorite poem just for you.

Anonymous said...

Q:

Obama is African, and it is therefore reasonable to associate him with the image of an African - just as it was reasonable (and certainly not "racist") to illustrate Bush (or any other white figure) as Hitler or Stalin or a plantation owner - in order to make a statement about his policy or character.

B1:

Obama would say this is not racist because he is playing the "good cop" while the left-media and Congresspeople (and don't forget Ol' Jimmy!) "bad cops" chant "racist! Racist! RACIST!"

B2:

Jimmy Carter would say this is racist because he thinks blacks are wilting violets who must be shielded from all criticism and parody.

Dennis Mangan said...

Actually, everything in the photo except for the face appears to be from New Guinea.

J.M.Perkins said...

Teabaggers are often fond of the policies of Ronald Reagen. One of Reagan's biggest policies was the use of 'voodoo' economics. So, Obama as witch doctor is used by anticonformist teabaggers who actually approve of Obama's health plan and wish to link it with a long lineage of fancifull wordplay to describe very complicated policies which will actually save the nation.

Obama says it is not racist because he understands the reasoning as cited above.

Carter says it is racist because the attack rabbit piloting the UFO told him so.

/parody

Sorry that my first comment is so snarky, but I've been meaning to comment for a long time. I really enjoy your blog and find your writing to be eloquent, relevant and thought provoking. Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work.



Question: In no more than three regular sentences, describe why those who vehemently disagree with President Obama are not exhibiting racism in their characterization of him as a witch-doctor.

Bonus One: In one sentence, explain why Obama claims this depiction is not racist.

Bonus Two: In one sentence, explain why Jimmy Carter thinks this depiction is racist.

You may begin. Eyes straight ahead. Good luck.

WARNING: ALL FAILING RESPONSES WILL BE DELETED.

James C. Collier

Anonymous said...

Question: In no more than three regular sentences, describe why those who vehemently disagree with President Obama are not exhibiting racism in their characterization of him as a witch-doctor.

Those that are using this picture may well be exhibiting racism are at least sarcasm or parody but no one can be sure of the motives as health care and witch "doctor" could be a link.
Also please make sure you say those that use the picture and not "those who vehemently disagree" because you don't separate the groups and your statement could easily be taken as ALL that disagree use this picture.
NOT true.
Very few people actually hate because of skin color which is true racism but quite a few do take exception to the actions of some people and those people can be identified by their skin color.

Bonus One: In one sentence, explain why Obama claims this depiction is not racist.

Because he isn't falling into the race card trap because he knows it won't help him with the folks that do just disagree with his policies and those folks are a majority over the others.

Bonus Two: In one sentence, explain why Jimmy Carter thinks this depiction is racist.

He thinks EVERYTHING is racist.
His one sided opinion shouldn't count for squat.

Anonymous said...

A1: President Obama is relying on unscientific, untested principles that have been handed down, generation to generation as the basis of his healthcare reform: preventative healthcare, socialist healthcare practices, the use of arbitrary death panels, all of these are akin to the sort of cures that witch doctors provide, and the intellectual processes engaged by witch doctors and their communities and patients. Portraying Obama as a witchdoctor this is not racist, merely a metaphor reminding us of the cargo cult "science" behind his plan.

A2: Obama claims this depiction is not racist because this is not a fight he wants to fight right now.

A3: Carter claims this depiction is racist, because he has lived in the south and seen a pattern of similar attacks which his experience has taught him, is variably racist.

A4: My own point of view: of course it's racist. If you were to describe the complaints against the bankers, against Goldman Sacks against Lehman, against the head of AIG, against Madoff, etc., by referencing Shylock, well you and I might exchange some words about that.

A5: Not every attack on Obama or Obamacare is racist, nor is it at all clear that the majority, or even a significant minority are, we should neither dismiss all complaints as racist nor ignore that some are.

How did I do?

Anonymous said...

politics

Kazure said...

Q1: By using a poorly edited image of a vague cultural stereotype, the "artist" is actually sarcastically referencing the socialistic acceptance of Darwinian theory of evolution, which as all know, planted the seeds for the systematic attempted annihilation of certain "racial" types in Nazi Germany. So, you see, this image is an intelligent commentary on the evils of Socialism, not universal healthcare. Brilliant!

B1: President Obama does not want to fuel that fire.

B2: Jimmy Carter is from the South, where images like this are indeed racist.

Anonymous said...

Answer: It's not racist, simply because it doesn't pass the first criterion for racism: could it not be done to a white President with the same effect? The idea behind the image is that Obama's health care plan is so bad the lucky people who now have health care will be forced to resort to black magic to cure what ails them, and characterizes President Obama as Witch-Doctor-In-Chief. This could easily be done to a white, Asian, or Hispanic figure as well. It wasn't racist when George HW Bush called Reagan's trickle down theory "voodoo economics" even though the implied criticism of the policy was the same.

Obama doesn't call it racism because he knows the race card has been overplayed. Similar to the boy who cried wolf, blacks have often called out as racist or discriminatory behavior that was, at worst, questionable to the point where it no longer has the same weight and makes the person making the declamation look like a whiner. When you're stalled on pretty much all of your policy initiatives, you need to avoid looking like you're just plain incapable.

Bonus 2: Jimmy Carter said it's racist because it is racist. Did you actually believe any of that crap? Oh, sure, you might be able to imagine a world where this sort of thing could happen to a white guy and/or not be racially motivated, but come on. You don't go around associating a president with superstitious religious traditions from Africa, unless, you know, he's obviously of African ancestry.