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The Post-Racial President? [updated 03/18]

About a month ago, Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States raised some eyebrows (and heckles) when he said that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to issues of race. The phrase “national conversation on race” has been repeated ad nauseam since Barack Obama delivered what many hailed as a “historic” speech in the wake of the controversy surrounding his then-pastor, the bilious race huckster, Jeramiah Wright.

Apparently they didn’t get the message in Portland. The Oregonian is reporting that an 11-year old boy, Dru Lechert-Kelly, was banned from performing a skit in which he was to wear a mask of President Obama and sing a song. It seems that “some of the parents” in the audience were indignant at the sight of a white boy wearing a mask of the President that he bought at a costume shop. The principal of the school said that the skit was “inappropriate and potentially offensive”.

One is reminded of the “offense” taken by certain members of the ASUO Senate when Commentator Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella recited the President’s inaugural address during his Senate run. I think Dru Lechert-Kelly’s parents have it about right:

“I understand the history of black face and how African Americans were caricatured by it,” Lechert said. “However, we now have a popular biracial president who is admired by white and nonwhite people. At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?”

Both Don Surber and the Oregonian point out that Obama himself wore just such a mask during an appearance on Saturday Night Live. There’s a picture of Obama holding said mask toward the bottom of Surbur’s post.

Maybe Holder was right about all that “nation of cowards” stuff. Only I think the “cowards” are the very people who fancy themselves the most “progressive” on racial issues.

So much for the “post-racial President”, then.

(via Instapundit)


[Update 03/17]

Blue Oregon has a related post about some high schoolers being banned from putting on a performance of Steve Martin’s play Picasso at the Lapin Agile because of outrage over profanity and sexual references. When they were disallowed from performing the play at the High School, the Eastern Oregon University College Democrats stepped in to pay for the students to put on the play at the University campus. Then Steve Martin himself offered to fund the whole thing.

All the manufactured “outrage” and feigned “offense” on both sides of the ideological spectrum is getting really old. Unfortunately, it works.

[Update 3/18]

Via Protein Wisdom, the greivance train rolls on. Thankfully, I’m fairly sure that any effort to re-brand St. Patrick’s Day (because celebrating saints is like… exclusionary, and stuff…) as “Shamrock Day” is destined for utter failure.

  1. C.T. Behemoth says:

    People are just too sensitive to the issue.

    Yes, it is an important issue in the US and its history is a troubled one. That being said, clinging to all of the little fears of the ‘other’ or of offending the ‘other’ only perpetuates the situation and keeps people from getting past such things. Racism isn’t gone, but if people could take a step back and start acting more like their ‘diversity’ rhetoric…things would progress a lot more smoothly.

    I am white, but I spent 8 of my formative years growing up in a situation where I was the target of racism. Violence and hatred was a daily part of my life for most of the first year I lived on the Navajo Reservation. Does that mean that I hate Navajos or would be offended of Navajos making fun of white people or if they dared to wear a mask of Bill Clinton in a play? No. I didn’t mind when Russel Means gave a ‘speech’ that was, let’s say…unfriendly to white folk, at one of our assemblies and I was the only white kid in the audience either.

    Anyway, I actually think that people will often insulate themselves from the place that they find themselves in and, in doing so, will see ‘racism’ where there is none.

    My point is (yes I know, FINALLY), racism is important to address, but letting it handicap your entire experience only reinforces the notion that color matters. People need to reach out, from either direction, and stop being scared of one another…or of how they might be perceived when, as we see with this play, racism has nothing to do with what’s going on.

    The non C.T.B. take would look something like this:

    Obama Mask = Klan Hood is a very debilitating take on life and interpersonal relationships.

  2. Sean says:

    So does this mean I still can’t listen to rap music very loudly and walk like a gangstar?

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