Since then Sen. Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2008, he and his wife Michelle have endured racist taunts and commentary. As his presidency comes to a close, let’s take a look at some of the most racist political cartoons directed at him over the last eight years.
- Since slavery began, blacks have been depicted as lazy and shiftless. In this cartoon featured on painconomics.com, Obama is seen with is legs up eating of all things, fried chicken–another racist trope.
- This cartoon plays upon the racist stereotype of Black women as hyper-masculine and unattractive. By putting this gross caricature next to his ultra feminine depiction of Melania Trump, it is even worse. Ben Garrison is no stranger to controversy, but he scraped the bottom of the barrel with this one.
3. The New Yorker cover with Michelle Obama “fist-bumping” her husband makes the hall of fame. Where to begin? Is it Michelle sporting a gun and an afro? Or is it the attire of Barack Obama? Either way, the magazine was under fire after this July 2008 edition.
4. This one lacks originality. It is a scathing criticism of war policy by the Brazilian cartoonist Latuff, but depicts our Commander in Chief with slave dialect. Really?
5. Monkeys, apes, gorillas, we’ve seen them all at this point. This one is by Iranian Holocaust denier Maziar Bijani.6. This cartoon by Dutch cartoonist Hajo de Reiger appeared first in the student newspaper for the University of New Mexico. It generated a lot of outrage on this side of the pond. The illustrator said he was unaware of the racially tinged imagery associated with having Obama taking on the posture of The Lion King’s Rafiki, a baboon.
7. Blacks have been associated with watermelon throughout their history in the U.S. It almost always has a negative connotation and has been used in myriad cartoons since the Obama family entered the White House. This one, which appeared in the Boston Herald was considered particularly offensive. Long time cartoonist, Jerry Holbert, denied any racist intentions but given the widespread knowledge of using watermelon as some kind of (delicious?) slur against blacks, it seems kind of hard to believe.
Featured image by Hajo de Reiger