Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fear of a Black Planet

This mailer is being sent out by the GOP in Virgina. This screenshot is from the envelope's back side. Standard-issue dog-whistle politics, conflating the image of a black man with "evil." Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Now here's where it really gets interesting. When I saw this, I assumed it must be Barack Obama. I think that's what a lot of us would think, and that's not by accident. It's very deliberate. Look a little closer, and you'll see that something isn't right. This isn't Obama at all, but someone else....

Jazz From Hell (big props for the Frank Zappa reference) posted a comparison photo of the GOP mailer with Usama bin Laden. Look familiar? They match up perfectly. Now the dirty trick takes on an added dimension. This photo of UBL was deliberately darkened to look African. The infamous OJ Simpson cover photo on Time springs to mind, and it's an ancient play at American racism. Fear of a Black Planet.

This also plays into the hands of the far right, by deliberately confusing UBL with Barack Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Osama. That sort of thing. The "Obama is a Muslim" meme is also part of this, as is the none-too-subtle racism of joining any and all Middle Eastern-looking people as terrorists. "Obama Bin Lyin" signs have appeared at McCain-Palin rallies, just as right-wing talk radio has played the "Obama the Muslim Terrorist" meme for ages. Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, and ACORN all play to this story, all a terrible throwback to the era of George Wallace and Jim Crow. And we're seeing the attacks coming from every level of the Republican Party apparatus.

Again, I remind you that this was not the work of some fringe group or some local loser. This was the Virginia Republican Party. This is the GOP strategy for winning in 2008: Fear of a Black Planet. It's literally all they have left. And the fires will continue to be stoked by far right elements in this country, and it will not end on November 4. This is going to become a serious and growing problem in America, especially as the economy sours. There are going to be scapegoats, and there is going to be violence.

P.S. I should note that I'm sticking pretty much exclusively with Rush Limbaugh quotes for examples of racism from the right. This is purely out of convenience for myself; if I were to document a cross-section from talk radio, Fox News, and the like....well, I'd be posting links forever. But Limbaugh remains the giant of the Republican talk radio world, and as such, he deserves the attention.

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