[UPDATE: I have been banned at Little Green Footballs for writing this post. See UPDATE x3 below.]
A Colorado Department of Transportation worker faces discipline for forwarding this photo:
Charles Johnson denounces the “right-wing racism” of the photo.
Just one problem: the worker is a registered Democrat:
According to voting records, the woman is a registered Democrat, although it’s unknown if she voted for Obama.
Reacting to the news of the woman’s party affiliation, Johnson says in comments:
This picture has been around since 2008, and it shows up exclusively on right wing mailing lists and websites. It’s ridiculous to try to deny that this is an example of right wing racism — the message of a black man shining Sarah Palin’s shoes could not possibly be more obvious.
And it doesn’t matter if the woman in this case is registered Democrat or not. This is not something a supporter of Barack Obama would send to anyone.
Ah, but one need not be a right-winger to oppose Obama. Maybe the woman was a Hillary supporter. Maybe she is an ardent Democrat who feels that Obama has been insufficiently pugnacious in responding to Palin’s attacks on his health care plan. Or maybe she’s just an old racist who likes forwarding pictures of black guys shining other people’s shoes.
Whatever her motivation, Johnson ought to update his post to note that the “right-wing racism” he denounces was a picture forwarded by a Democrat. That’s not asking too much, is it?
UPDATE: Charles has updated his post:
Patterico has discovered that the woman who’s in trouble for forwarding the racist image is registered as a Democrat, and he thinks I should update my post to note that — so I am: Charles Johnson Denounces the “Right-Wing Racism” of a Picture Forwarded by … a Democrat.
But unfortunately, it’s a simple fact that this picture did originate from the right wing, regardless of this particular woman’s party affiliation — as I show in the links posted immediately above. I have yet to discover it at a single left wing site, except as part of a post denouncing the racism of the right wing. So the idea that this is somehow a “left wing” image is completely silly.
However, the links he provides demonstrate no such thing. We don’t know where the picture originated from. and Charles’s links don’t begin to answer that question.
Now: the use of the picture by any particular person may or may not be racist, depending on the context. This fellow here uses the picture as part of an array of anti-Obama imagery, including a picture of a black-faced Obama with a gleaming white smile, holding a plate of fried chicken and watermelon, accompanied by a caption reading: “Lawdy! I sho’ loves campainnin’!” Dare I say it? That guy is a racist.
As for the Democrat who forwarded the picture in Colorado . . . I’m not sure what her motivation was. But her status as a registered Democrat cannot be ignored. Charles is right to update his post, and he should have done so before I pressured him to.
Does this mean that no right-wingers have used this image in a racist way? Of course not, as the above link shows. But Charles: until you’re ready to actually prove where the image originated, please don’t claim that you have done so. It’s this kind of overstatement that runs you into trouble.
UPDATE x2: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link. He calls this Photoshop “racist.” I wonder if readers here agree with him. Feel free to discuss that issue in the comments.
UPDATE x3: I have been banned at Little Green Footballs for writing this post. Details here.
UPDATE x4: This has obviously happened to a lot of other people. I’m asking people to tell their own stories about being banned at LGF here.
UPDATE x5: I should note that Prof. Reynolds has updated his post:
UPDATE: Or is it racist? Rush Limbaugh actually was a shoeshine boy. Yeah the racial stereotype is a bit shaky — when I was a kid I knew older brothers of friends who did that; even in Birmingham, Alabama they were white. By the time I was a teenager, of course, shoeshines were on the way out.
Well, as I said above, context is key; the fellow who included it on his web site alongside a “Lawdy! I sho’ loves campainnin’!” Photoshop is clearly a racist, and almost certainly reveled in the racial stereotype on display in the Photoshop.
UPDATE x6: Further updates by Prof. Reynolds:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Boy, bend over backwards to avoid accusing a Democrat of racism and what do you get? Slagged by Charles Johnson. Oh, well. That’s what I get for my generosity, these days . . . .
MORE: I’ve been banned by Cassandra. Man, I can’t catch a break.
STILL MORE: Okay, reader Michael Demmons thinks I’m excusing racism here. Well, my first reaction here was that the pic was racist; I was trying to be fair by noting Maguire’s response. I still think the pic was racist, but now that every criticism of Obama is called racist, I suppose I’ve gotten jaded …
UPDATE x7: I tend to agree with Prof. Reynolds that the Photoshop is racist. Whether the picture was originally Photoshopped by a Republican or a Democrat, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the creation of that image was not rooted in racist stereotypes to some extent.
Nor am I persuaded by the argument that This White Guy or That White Guy was a shoeshine boy. Go back to the link above that I labeled racist, and find the Photoshop of Obama holding fried chicken and watermelon. Lots of white people like those foods, too — but that doesn’t make the image any less obviously racist.