We’ve been told time and time again that we live in a ‘post-racial America.’ Conservatives will tell you that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama proved that Americans are finally past racism. The Supreme Court hopped on board that message by gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 last year. Chief Justice John Roberts stated that while the VRA was necessary to combat the racist attitudes of local and state governments in the past, we have totally moved on and progressed as a society. Heck, we elected a black president twice? What more do you want?
Anyway, while conservatives would like to pull the wool over America’s eyes and state that racism is dead, the reality is that we are not living in an era of post-racism. Besides the repeated attempts by states to restrict voting access, require voter IDs and destroy the franchise for anyone besides Republican-voting white people, we see disgusting displays of racism thrown about on a nearly daily basis. Much if it is directed at our President. Whether it is depicting him in an unflattering light in political cartoons, describing a fist bump with his wife as “terrorist fist jab,” a rodeo clown using an Obama mask in a mocking fashion, a dummy of Obama hung in effigy or Obama figurines used as urinal cakes, the fact remains that racist depictions of our first black President have not subsided. Besides these overt expressions or racism, we have also seen the implied racism at work behind ‘birtherism.’
On the 4th of July, the town of Norfolk, NE held a parade. A number of floats were entered. Some of these floats were sponsored by businesses or local organizations. Others were merely created by local residents who wanted to participate. One such float that was created by a local resident depicted President Obama as a zombie wearing overalls. He was standing in front of his ‘Presidential Library,’ which was actually an outhouse. While there were some residents, specifically a woman who immigrated to the United States from Kenya, who found the float in poor taste and offensive, the majority of the townspeople who attended the parade loved it. In fact, the float was given an Honorable Mention award by the judges of the parade.
The parade’s committee members didn’t see any problem whatsoever with the float. Committee member Rick Konopasek stated that the float was equivalent to a political cartoon. He also suggested that since the majority of the people liked the float, there shouldn’t be a problem. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if a few people thought it was wildly offensive or not appropriate for a parade that is supposed to be celebrating our nation’s birth.
“We don’t feel its right to tell someone what they can and can’t express. This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all..,It’s obvious the majority of the community liked it. So should we deny the 95 percent of those that liked it their rights, just for the 5 percent of people who are upset?”
Parade announcer Wally Sonnenschein told the local news that since the town is very conservative, it is perfectly fine to be completely offensive when depicting the President.
“For the most part, this is a strong conservative community. I really don’t see anything wrong with the Obama float and I’m kind of amazed anyone is complaining.”
So, let me just get this clear. If something only offends a small portion of your population, then you should go ahead and run with it because the rest of the people will really enjoy it, especially at the expense of the minority. Also, if you label yourself as a conservative, then you don’t need to apologize for being offensive and racially insensitive because those are just your values and you are freely expressing them. But none of this is racist. Because, as you all know by now, we are living in a post-racial America.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).