Apr 052010

From Protein Wisdom via Racialicious comes this charming glimpse into the American political discourse:

Despite the poster’s disclaimers (“I made it a cartoon and not a photoshop and the “woman” is green. Deal, people.”), this image hits hard on one of the biggest hot buttons in the American unconscious: a black man raping a white woman. In this particular case, the scenario appears to be one of acquaintance rape. The setting appears to be the Statue of Liberty’s bedroom, and the Obama-caricature refers to “consent.” The implication seems to be seduction that became rape, that Obama is violating America by trickery and lies, but outright violence is the end result.

This goes into the tradition of war propaganda, harem fantasies based on the Greek-Turkish war, the Nazi-exploitation genre, les femmes tondues of post-WWII France, etc. : the analogy of political deviance with sexual deviance. In this case, Obama’s policies with interracial, black-male-on-white-female rape. Just because it happens a lot doesn’t mean it is a good part of political discourse.

Collective sexual fantasies accumulate around public figures, particularly political figures. Back in 2008, much was made of Obama’s youth, handsomeness and charisma, compared to McCain’s age and less telegenic personality. (Of course, even more was made about Sarah Palin’s body and sexuality, but that’s another post.)

Anyway, this cartoon goes right to the American hindbrain, the same tangled mass of race, gender and class that makes interracial porn so popular. I’d go so far to say that for every white person who gets his or her dander up about the thought of Obama symbolically raping the Statue of Liberty, there’s a white guy jacking off to the fantasy of some big black stud having rough sex with his wife. That’s the American collective anxiety, the same way that back in the 1820s Englishmen thought about Turks invading Greece.

As a side note, writing from Canada, I’m truly astonished at the vehemence of resistance to Obama’s policies, particularly universal healthcare, and to Obama as a person.

  One Response to “The use of deviant sexuality in political discourse”

  1. I will be glad when Obama’s out of office, because I am tired of the sickening attacks he has endured. It is because he is “Black” and/or “Muslim”. It is a disgrace how many Americans feel that they can treat a person this way, not to mention that he is our legal President. I know I shouldn’t be, but I have been shocked at how much racism and religious hate still exists in America.

    To my fellow Americans: Grow up and join the modern age!!!

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