Reflection on Obama’s presidency reveals ongoing racism
By NATALIE FURMAN
A quick Google search of “Obama + Racism” readily reveals the rampant racism directed toward the President and his family. The images section is filled with photos depicting Obama as a monkey titled Commander in Chimp, his face on the front of a food stamp, all meant to target stereotypical ideas of Democrats and African Americans alike. Obviously, one must not look too far to see how deeply rooted racism is in our modern America.
Not only have average citizens ostracized President Barack Obama, as he was recently called out by business magnate, TV personality and 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump as whom to blame for the 2015 Baltimore riots.
“Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!” reads a tweet crafted by Trump in April, 2015, blatantly calling attention to President Obama’s race and directly correlating it to the actions of African-Americans in the Baltimore riots.
The expectation of President Obama ending racism in the United States is ludicrous. Racism in America is institutional and embedded in policing and political policy. The issues that ignited the riots are severely overlooked, especially since there were 6,052 likes of Trump’s ridiculous tweet, marking it as a promotion of white privilege and denial.
The president is not alone in this, however, as racially fueled criticism of his family has also risen. For, in March, 2014, a photo-shopped image of Barack and Michelle Obama was published in a Belgium newspaper.
The photo depicts them both as monkeys with elongated jaws and noses, stretched to resemble the facial structure of a chimpanzee. It does not come as a shock that this newspaper, De Morgan, came under fire for the racist picture depicting the president and his wife as apes. De Morgan attempted to defend this photo by insisting that it was a joke.
Not only is this photo blatantly disrespectful to the presidential couple, but it should never be considered a joke. This stereotypical depiction of African-Americans is not only racist but also injurious to social growth and awareness.
In March, Michelle Obama took to the stage of a New Jersey event, Black Girls Rock, an award ceremony for talented young black women. At the end of the ceremony the first lady shouted, “black girls rock!” the slogan and name of the organization holding the event. An article on msn.com reporting the event featured a comment section where many expressed their negative attitudes towards the First Lady, calling her racist.
One commenter referred to Michelle Obama as “Moochelle,” implying that she is a “mooch” and referring to the stereotype that African-Americans mooch off of the government. The individual continued to ask, “Can you grasp that complex idea?” patronizing Mrs. Obama while maintaining the racist view that white intelligence is superior to black intelligence.
Another commenter takes racism to a more overt level, saying, “Perhaps Mrs. Obama could encourage black women to use more contraception to keep the unbelievable number of illegitimate births in the black community to a minimum, less rock and more common sense might be appropriate here.”
This comment is clearly a reference to the black stereotype that African-American women do not use contraceptives and birth too many children. These horrid views of African- Americans are the reason why Michelle Obama had to make the statement that she did as a leading role model for black girls and women.
As the first African-American family in the White House, the Obamas faced extreme adversity at the hands of racism. While some believe that the United States has rid itself of racism, it is quite obvious that this is not the case. In fact, the Obama family has been subjected to insurmountable ridicule and scrutiny fueled by racism. If Hilary Clinton makes it on to the 2016 ballot the nation should prepare to face another form of prejudice: sexism.