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When racism meets stupidity

By Scott Tibbs, October 23, 2008

Take a look at the image below:

The image was included in a newsletter "sent to about 200 members and associates" of the Chaffey Community Republican Women in California. Obviously, satire has a long history in American politics. Even Barack Obama himself joked that he has the ears of MAD Magazine mascot "Alfred E. Newman", and we can expect to see plenty of caricatures of Obama over the next four years should he become President.

There is, however, a line between sarcasm and outright racism. This image in the newsletter not only crosses that line, but is deep into the "racism" territory. Obviously, it was politically stupid. Republicans have enough trouble politically with blacks (generally, 90% of the black vote goes to Democrats) without doing outrageously stupid things like this. At a time when some Obama supporters are reaching for anything they can use to label Republicans as "racists", how could the Chaffey Community Republican Women be so mind-numbingly stupid?

But more than being politically stupid, appealing to racism is sinful. Early last month, I addressed Scripture's condemnation of racism, pointing out that Jesus was very clear in His condemnation of racism. And whether the people who sent the newsletter want to admit it or not, it is common knowledge that the watermelon and fried chicken are commonly used as racist imagery. The author might have thought the image was a harmless joke, but I can assure you that the Lord does not take rebellion against His teachings lightly.

Diane Fedele apologized for the image, an apology I hope was sincere. Nonetheless, her statement is a weak apology. (Fedele said "I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt.") The issue is not that people were offended by the image, the issue is that the image itself played into racist stereotypes. As I said last month, there are a lot of good reasons to vote against Obama that have absolutely nothing to do with his skin pigmentation. Instead of these childish stunts, Republicans should focus on those.