By Amanda Awanjo
There has been a long lasting history of ups and downs when it comes to the media coverage of political heads. From one news article single handedly bringing down a President, to one skit making sure one candidate could never be taken seriously, the media has its foot embedded deep into the mind of our culture. In America we believe what we see; television coverage and internet pop ups reign supreme and people are always seeking out information for themselves during their free times. On November 4, 2008 the first African-American was elected into the presidential office. My white math teacher at the time told me to accept a race war. The day after Barack Obama was elected, none of my white friends at schools talked to me. For a “post-racism” society, we do seem to be having serious problems in being free from prejudice.
Since his election, as with any president, the media coverage surrounding Obama and his family has been extensive and all encompassing. Everything is observed and blasted across the internet, from the color of his tie to the legislation he supports. The coverage rarely consist only facts. No president before Obama has been so openly disrespected. He has been called “the anti-Christ” by a conservative radio talk show host, “cancerous” by Glenn Beck, “a reverse racist” (again) by Glenn Beck (that’s likely considering his mother was white along with his grandparents, all of whom he talks about with utmost adoration), “a communist”, and “not a real American” by the “birthers.” Such disrespect is unheard of, but then again so is the notion of an intelligent, charismatic, and respected black man holding office over a country where the dominant culture is white. Obama has also been depicted as a chimp and a coon in political cartoons by unrepentant artists. The general cry from these people is that in our world racism is a thing of the past, the new generations and desegregated schools have completely erased racial tensions. The chimp and the coon were symbols created to display to a world blacks after and during the Civil War needed and enjoyed white rule. They were created to classify all blacks as uneducated, lazy, amoral, and completely inferior to their white counterparts. The chimp and coon being resurrected to describe the president of our country, is at least twenty five jumps back in the game towards racial equality, in fact we are back at square one. It takes hate and ignorance reminiscence of George Wallace to draw those images.
To say that the color of his skin in no way affects his media coverage is to be blind to the reality staring back at you from the Fox News television station. If our nation was truly “post-racist” and over the whole race issue, then Bill O’Reilly’s question, “Can a Black Man live in the White House?” would have never been asked because it would not matter that he is black, it would only matter that he is a man ready for the hefty undertaking of the presidency. The utopian idea of “post-racism” is unachievable and ridiculous. Being an African-American, I don’t want to live in a world where everyone tries to not be racist by denying my unique culture is any different from their own and, I, in order to not be racist must do the same. I want to live in a world where the differences in cultures are celebrated by all, where one dominant culture does not reign over the standards of beauty, intelligence, and morality. That is not what my utopia looks like.