New Yorker's Lynch Job: "Hard-Working" Whites' Revenge

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[The Black Star News Editorial: Elections 2003]


How did Senator Hillary Clinton slow down Senator Barack Obama's inexorable march to the Democratic Party's presidential candidate nomination?

By introducing race-baiting and Islamo-phobia into the race. Later in the race, the candidate and her acolytes, including Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell made outright race-based appeals, stirring up the specter of the Black boogeyman, to scare white voters into abandoning Senator Obama.

Some voters quoted in The New York Times in the weeks before the Pennsylvania primary told the newspaper that they did not believe a Black man was ready to be president of the United States. Ironically, in each case, the reporters –perhaps they understood what the people quoted meant—never asked the follow up question: Why not?

Taking advantage of the race-fears that she and her acolytes generated, Senator Clinton then spoke about her alleged base of solid supporters, heading into other primaries, including West Virginia's: She said her faithful backers were "white Americans," "hard working white Americans."

Fortunately this isn't the 1960s. The majority of white voters repudiated Clinton's obnoxious tactics. The better candidate, who introduced dynamism to American politics and promised change, prevailed.

Now there is a campaign by some in the old establishment, possibly including disgruntled Clinton supporters, to undermine Senator Obama and pre-determine the outcome of the general election. There is no better evidence of this assault than the depiction of the candidate and his wife on the current cover of The New Yorker magazine.

The cover shows the Senator in a turban, giving his wife Michelle who sports an Afro and an Ak-47, a fist bump; presumably they're in The White House. There's also a partially obstructed portrait of Osama bin Laden hanging on the wall. It is a racist and Islamophobic attack of the highest order.  (More than half a century since the days when lynching still occurred, The New Yorker uses the next best method).

This alleged "cartoon," is nothing but a hatchet job against Senator Obama. This same cover will now most likely be used by reactionary Republican operatives –and even disgruntled Clinton supporters such as the one who decried the Democratic Party for electing an "inadequate" Black man as nominee. Bigotry has been emboldened by a so-called mainstream magazine, with a very large circulation.

There is no doubt that malice was involved in commissioning and publishing the "cartoon" on The New Yorker's front cover. Editors of the magazine are well-informed individuals. They have followed the racially charged Democratic primary campaign between Senator Obama and Clinton and the polarization it caused.

So, what justification does the magazine have for the "cartoon"? Where is the satire in stirring up racial fears and hostilities that have held this country back since the initial gains of the Civil Rights March of the 1960s?

Again and again Senator Obama has defied those who yearn for the bad old days when Black folk knew "their place" in these United States.  He endured the Jeremiah Wright incidents; he survived the crude attempts to ghetto-ize him as a possible drug dealer in his youth; and he brushed off whispering and e-mail campaigns, and the photograph showing him in a turban while visiting Kenya, meant to depict him as a secret Muslim, who may harbor a soft-spot for terrorists.

In recent weeks, the candidate has had to defend negative attacks against his wife who has been portrayed as a radical White-people-hating "angry" Black woman.

The New Yorker has brought all these elements together in its despicable and hateful "cartoon." The only thing it proves is that there are still loathsome individuals who exert much power by abusing their control over publications with mass circulation. The New Yorker preaches racial and religious fears.

Voters have done the right thing in the past. Given the opportunity they should do so again.

The New Yorker magazine's readers that agree with our editorial should cancel their sub scri ptions. Every decent-minded person who also finds the depiction of the Obamas loathsome, should pick up the phone and dial (917) 319-9989 or (212) 286-58900 and let The New Yorker magazine's editor David Remnick get the message.


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