Racist float? Why not? Well, a) Bill Clinton’s not black b) it’s not a 4th of July parade, c) the parade is in Germany and d) most important of all, it’s not President Obama.
It was almost a year ago that a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask, and the NAACP demanded that the Secret Service investigate him, and the clown lost his job. It is considered acceptable that in the nation’s capital, five people in big-headed costumes depicting the Mt. Rushmore Presidents (and William Howard Taft) race around a baseball stadium as the crowd laughs at their antics, but any mockery of the current President of the United States will be immediately attacked as “racist.”
Thus an appallingly stupid, tasteless and inappropriate float in a Norfolk, Nebraska Independence Day parade is further straining already damaged race relations in this country, because it depicted a distressed man coming out of an outhouse labelled the “Obama Presidential Library.” The Norfolk Odd Fellows Lodge, which coordinates the annual parade, is defending the float, which was entered as political satire (it even won an award). Others, however, have condemned it as, you guessed it, racist. Here it is:
It isn’t racist. Although many media reports have described the zombie-like figure exiting the outhouse as a representation of the President, it clearly isn’t. Does President Obama use a walker for support? The float’s designer, Dale Remmich, who does use a walker and dresses like the figure on the float, explained that the figure was meant to be Remmich himself, tinged green out of disgust for, among other things, the Veterans Administration fiasco. As for portraying Obama’s future library as an outhouse, that’s not racial imagery, though it is obviously a statement communicating criticism and disrespect. The same imagery would not have puzzled anyone if it had been used to criticize any other recent President; nobody would have looked at the exact same float except with the label “George W. Bush Presidential Library” on the outhouse and said, “I don’t get it. Bush isn’t black.” That’s because it isn’t the design of the float that makes it racist, just as it wasn’t the use of a mask that made the rodeo clown’s act racist, in the eyes of those making the accusation. What makes it racist is the criticism and the mockery, its target. Criticism and mockery of other Presidents went with the territory. Criticism of the first black President is by definition racist. Continue reading
That’s Rep. Stockman on the right, naturally…
I told you the rodeo clown mess was an Ethics Train Wreck!
Heck, it seems like everything is an Ethics Train Wreck or getting close to one these days…the NSA, Egypt, San Diego, the New York Yankees, life…
I need a vacation.
Now Texas Republican rep Steve Stockman has come aboard by making the obnoxious, simple-minded and inherently offensive gesture of inviting the unfairly banned clown to perform his classy act at a Texas rodeo. Undignified, unprofessional, cheap, nasty, and stupid…I’m sure I left out some equally accurate descriptors. This is like George Zimmerman in miniature. Is it really so hard to understand that protesting unfair treatment of someone need not, and in some cases should not, be accompanied by affirmative endorsement…and that’s what the invitation by Stockman is. Is he really so dense that he doesn’t realize that? Or is he really such a hyper-partisan, unstatesmanlike boor that he thinks it’s responsible and appropriate for a member of Congress to express his approval of an entertainer who called the President of the U.S. a clown and invited a crowd to cheer at his metaphorical abuse by a bull, some of whom were undoubtedly motivated by bigotry?
I really don’t care. Stockman’s stunt is ethically objectionable on a grand scale, and either he, the House, Republicans, or preferably all three owe President Obama an apology. One would think a Congressman would understand that there are different standards for the high elected officials responsible for our laws and rodeo clowns. But toward the bottom of the ethical and intellectual barrel we call the Republican Party (God, I certainly hope it’s toward the bottom!), this is apparently untrue.
Rep. Stockman is more clown than statesman.
Facts: Washington Post
I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to write about this.
Unfortunately, the saga of the Obama-mocking rodeo clown has, against my fervent hopes, turned into a full-fledged ethics train wreck. The diagnosis was complete once the Missouri chapter of the NAACP decided to disgrace itself, its parent organization’s mission and its supposed dedication to civil rights by calling for a Secret Service investigation into the incident, which Ken White posted on definitively here.
The Horror: someone mocked the President! And because this President is black, and because his supporters have continually tried to use his pigmentation (which should have no impact whatsoever on how he is treated, respected and judged, which is to say, like every other President) to shield him from unrestrained criticism, opposition, responsibility, accountability and satire, a crude comedy act in a setting where crude comedy is the norm (a rodeo is hardly the Algonquin Round Table) has been turned into a full-fledged exercise in chilling political speech by intimidation. Continue reading