Modern-day lynching
Published Feb 28, 2008 9:27 PM
Yet another “casual” reference to lynching has been made in the media, directed this time at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s spouse, Michelle Obama.

In response to remarks made by Michelle Obama, in which she said she was really proud of the United States for the first time, right-wing bigot Bill O’Reilly of Fox News said: “I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that’s how she really feels ... We’ll track it down.”

Later, O’Reilly made a paltry apology: “I’m sorry if my statement offended anybody. That, of course, was not the intention. Context is everything.”

Context. Let’s look at the context of yet another media pundit evoking the historic lynching of a Black person—and this time, not even receiving a slap on the wrist for it. Let’s look at the current context of nooses appearing throughout the country, at the state-sponsored lynchings of Black people in the streets by cops and on death row by the courts. It’s a wonder Michelle Obama is proud at all.

In that context, it was easy to predict that if Barack Obama’s presidential bid gained momentum, the racist attacks would follow. About a week later, a photo of Obama in the traditional garb of his native Kenya—a “silly” photo, according to the Washington Post (Feb. 26)—was distributed. A photo that should have suggested pride was now meant to suggest “terrorism.”

Anti-racist forces—whether they support Obama’s run for president or not—will have to remain vigilant against these types of attacks, and be prepared to come to his defense against racism.

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