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 Hussein Obama 

200826May

Leo directed my attention to the attached video clip forwarded to him by a (indo-muslim) friend in the USA. The clip (originally posted at www.livesteez.com?) shows pro-Hillary democrats trying to argue why they would rather vote for McCain than support Obama.

While Leo highlighted the discursive contortions people go through to thinly veil their racism, I was struck by a couple of other aspects.

  1. The politics of the clip that, of course, is of unclear origin and motiviation: Is this an anti-Hillary clip, trying to denounce her supporters of racism? A McCain (Hillary) spot trying to circulate racist sentiments? Without a siding commentary or a reliable source, the clip's possible political allegeances seem inappropriately elusive.
  2. I was most struck by one woman's assertion that Barack Obama was muslim. In a way, I feel that her statement reveals how far smear campains can go, how diffuse racism can be, how incredibly dumb people are.
    Tied into this, of course, is the question how one is to make sense of this stupidity. Of course, the video is not a representative sample of comments, it's a "worst of" and cut to contain the most ludicrous and offending remarks. Also, from a European (and, possibly, coastal-American intellectual) perspective, the statement's abysmal stupidity fits stereotypes of white trash, southern rural rednecks. Yet, I remember a TV format popular in Germany in the 90s [example?] that mostly worked by ridiculing people who, with a TV camera in their face, made the most hillarious statements...

 

I guess it was inevitable that race would be a central issue in the campaign. And after the long nominating process it is clear that the issue brought out the best and the worst of this country. Barack Obama's speech on race will definitely be remembered as a milestone in US politics as will be the day when Barack Obama will officially accept the nomination of the Democratic Party, that day—historic in its own right—will be the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights march in Washington DC.

But there was also the bad: For one, there are the racist views of some voters broadcasted on national TV as your entry has illustrated (for more see: www.thedailyshow.com). Then there was the Jeremiah Wright controversy, that would obviously not have been so dynamic if Mr. Wright and Mr. Obama were white. Frank Rich of the NYT rightly claims in his op-ed piece "The All-White Elephant in the Room" from May 4, that black and white politicians are not judged by the same yardstick.

It is this challenging combination that triggered my curiousity in American Studies originally and that still does so today.

PS: By the way, the "Obama is a muslim" perception seems to be quite spread. I have talked to people myself, who believe this to be true and they were not from small-town Kansas.

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