I stand by my position that Jon Favreau's photo with a lifesize cutout of Sen. Hillary Clinton which was posted on Facebook created a problem for President-elect Barack Obama.
Now the Republicans have a problem thanks to a song titled Barack the Magic Negro distributed by former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman, who ran Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. This song echoes many familiar racist themes. It has been defended by some people because it was done in "fun" and is a parody.
I reject that defense because what people do in fun reveals important aspects of what they believe for real.
This song also creates a problem for those Democrats who dismissed the backlash against Favreau because Favreau didn't grope a real woman and who described what Favreau and another Obama staff member were doing was just having "fun."
Fun is either a valid defense or it isn't. Those who try to have it both ways are communicating something important and real about themselves.
Same goes for the "no real person was harmed" because the offending actions involved music or a prop substitute of a real person.
As for the real problem echoed in Favreau's photo, after that photo was published the US National Crime Victimization Survey was released with an estimate that there were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in 2007 -- and this survey only counted crimes against those age 12 and above.
Violence against women and violence against people of color are rooted in the attitudes held by the violent and their peers. "Fun" is often where people reveal attitudes which contribute to violence and discrimination.
Many of these non-fun attitudes are rooted in long-standing beliefs that many people have never examined. Saltsman, Favreau and their defenders can choose to learn from the backlash from these types of "fun" or they can refuse to learn.
Those who refuse to learn will not get my respect or my trust even if I agree with them on other issues.
Labels: Violence Against Women