WARNING: This post contains inflammatory racist imagery and language collected from various online news sites, blogs, forums, and social networks.
If Obama's 2008 inauguration was supposed to signal some kind of 'post-racial' America, someone forgot to send a memo.
We've all seen or heard our share of racist anti-Obama sentiment. Some of us may be insulated enough that we rarely come in contact with those who would find this stuff amusing. Others, however, are less fortunate, and are reminded regularly that although we have made great strides over the past few hundred years, a deep undercurrent of racism continues in our culture.
Although racism rears its ugly head in many areas of American life from time to time -- in the workplace, in the classroom, in the media, etc. -- nothing brings out racism quite like politics.
Racism has always been a staple in American politics (the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Republicans' "Southern Strategy," Reagan's "welfare queen," Jesse Helms' "Hands" ad, to cite a few examples). We cringe when we recall these (and other) events. We are relieved to have these times behind us.
While the days of lynchings and fire-hoses are behind us, racism is alive and well in 2012. The election of our first African-American president unleashed an incessant stream of racism that continues, and there is no sign of it letting up.
Many on the right think liberals are quick to cry "racism," that we are too sensitive, or that we are misinterpreting the message. "It's okay to hang an effigy of Bush," they say, "but we're not allowed to hang an effigy of Obama?" Or, "It's okay to make George Bush look like a monkey, but when we make Obama look like a monkey, it's racism?"
Yes. It is.
What many fail to understand is that there is not a history of whites being lynched in America. There is not a history of whites being depicted as monkeys. Our words, our statements, and our imagery, carry the baggage of history. To fail to recognize the difference between hanging a white man's effigy and hanging a black man's effigy is to fail to recognize this.
There's a world of difference between a depiction of Hansel and Gretel being put in an oven and a depiction of Elie Wiesel being put in an oven. If you don't appreciate that difference, you are either willfully ignorant or woefully uneducated.
Yes, there are instances where the term 'racism' is thrown around a bit loosely. Yes, some are guilty of being a little too sensitive and crying racism when it is not merited. But the sensitivity would not exist if there were not already a torrent of legitimately racist remarks, depictions, and displays to reference.
I wrestled with the idea of compiling these highly offensive images. Arguably, the perpetuation of these images, even in the context of condemnation, does more damage than good. But the sad truth is that a simple Google search will return each and every one of these images (and then some) -- duplicated countless times in various locations across the web.
This compilation of disturbing and inflammatory images is a stark reminder of the level of hatred that continues nearly a half-century after the civil rights movement. It is to remind us that although we have come a long way, we are still very far from a widespread acceptance of racial equality.
Here are 21 news-making examples (and 14 additional images) of overt racism directed at the President:
1. A San Bernadino Republican group distributed Obama Bucks:
2. A bar owner sells Curious George Obama T-shirts:
3. Manhattan boutique sells "Obama Is My Slave" T-shirts:
4. A man was photographed by Getty Images at a Romney-Ryan rally in Lancaster, Ohio, wearing a "Put The White Back In the White House" T-shirt:
5. A California Tea Party activist e-mailed an image of Barack Obama depicted as a chimpanzee:
6. Online business sells "Don't Re-Nig in 2012" bumper stickers:
7. A N.J. clothing store's window display shows President Barack Obama as a witch doctor:
8. A billboard in Missouri depicts Barack Obama in a turban:
9. Anti-Obama yard signs in Massachusetts:
10. Anti-Obama signs in Pennsylvania:
11. Georgia Bar owner calls Obama "Nigger" on business sign and claims he isn't racist:
12. Racist anti-Obama slogan appears on a $5 bill:
13. Racist sign erected in Wisconsin by guy who claims he's a "big fan" of the President:
14. Billboard appears in Colorado depicting Obama as a suicide bomber, a gangster, a Mexican revolutionary and a homosexual:
15. Sign from a Tea Party rally:
16. The below image featuring Obama in drag eating fried chicken was featured on a John Locke Foundation website:
17. Texas resident lynched an empty chair following Clint Eastwood's empty chair bit at the RNC:
18. Altered Obama yard signs in Texas:
19. Florida pastor Terry Jones hangs Obama effigy outside church (flanked by gay pride flag and Muhammad cartoon):
20. A pair of racist images posted on the Mecklenburg County VA Republican Party Facebook page:
What's truly sad is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. One need only to do a Google search to unearth all kinds of ugliness.
And while the above examples received press from multiple sources, we can't catalog the incessant posting, emailing, and sharing of racist political imagery.
The below are all legitimate images circulating on the Internet, via social networks, online forums, emails, and blogs: