The Obamas, Islamophobia & an old motiff











Above is the latest cover of The New Yorker, which has a satirical cover, as they describe it of Sen. Barack Obama in a robe and turban with his wife, Michelle, in a “blow-out” afro, army pants and a machine gun with the American flag burning and a picture of bin Laden on the side.

This “satire” obviously is not funny and is tinged with many political overtones.  Besides playing into the Obama-Muslim myth, in which polls state that 10% of Americans believe that he is a Muslim (I recently heard that it has climbed to 15%) and that most Americans would not vote for a Muslim to be President, it also plays on the old  militant “Angry Black Woman” motiff.  

The depiction of Mrs. Obama is an old play of what scared many whites in the 60’s, the militant black, who is “out to get whitey” ala the depictions of Angela Davis when she was a member of the Black Panther Party.  This cover is a not so subtle challenge to Obama’s persona of being a “post-racial candidate.”  How can he be “post-racial” if his wife is the second coming of Sister Souljah, right? 

Also, could this “satire” also imply to some that Americans need to be fearful of a “Black” – Muslim alliance that could “change” or overtake the American way of life?

This cover is more than distasteful; it is loaded with several messages that invoke old and current prejudices within our society.  This publication has the freedom of speech to print such things.  I suppose that they also have the freedom to invoke fear as well.


2 thoughts on “The Obamas, Islamophobia & an old motiff

  1. I think the point of this satirical cover is to generate a discussion before the election on these issues earlier rather than later. I have serious concerns that when these associations of Obama being Muslim arise they seek to distance him from being Muslim as much as possible instead of confronting Islamaphobia head-on. This is what is disappointing.
    Even the recent remarks of Jesse Jackson (who seems slightly jealous since Obama is not shackled by the civil rights “group” and therefore not beholden to them like he is) have some context given that Obama lacks legitimacy in reaching across all social classes of blacks.
    I guess what I truly wonder and caution us is that Obama in office alone is not necessarily good for us as a community if he does not represent us anymore than McCain. The historical fact that he is biracial and therefore considered the first black President does not seemingly benefit us as neither did Condi Rice being Sec. of State has not “truly” been beneficial. I want to see more meat from these people on our plates as Muslims, and if I cannot what is the point of supporting either one.

  2. I wish and hope that Obama will muster some courage and silence his critics by saying, “so what if I were a Muslim”?

    For those who are well informed, it is not surprising to see the New Yorker resort to this cunning means to further instill fear in the minds of people.

    The depiction of Michelle with a gun on her back is sick. But it also demonstrates the desperation in the camp of those who dislike Obama.

    I think this is only a sign of what might be more worse to come. And thus far, Obama has only handled such critics very well.

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