Unless you have been comatose for the last month, you are undoubtedly aware of the fact that the internet (or rather segments of the media) has engaged in high gear racially bigoted overdrive for the few weeks. Remember the reaction of a colorful (pun intended ) Old Navy ad that featured an interracial family in addition to the news that Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of President and First lady Michelle Obama, had decided to attend Harvard University after a gap year. The ad caused more than a few wild eyed racists to engage in their furtive, resentful, paranoid, juvenile behavior which is often standard fare for many of the men and women who fall into this camp. Not to be outdone, just last week, conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison drew a juvenile, tasteless cartoon image of first lady Michelle Obama referring to her as having no class while praising first lady hopeful Melania Trump as being the epitome of elegance. http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2016/05/racist_michelle_obama_cartoon_is_just_another_example_of_conservatives_blatant.html?wpisrc=topstories. Indeed , the savages are on the racial warpath.
Without skipping a beat, critics of the ad launched into racist, anti-miscegnation invective with many declaring such a photo was encouraging mongrelization, the destruction of the White race and other perversely paranoid fears. It was a sad sight to see/view.
Fortunately, in response to such intolerable behavior, many sane people, including the son of Arizona senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, posted pictures of themselves with either their interracial children, spouses or families. To be sure, there were many individuals who were offended, if not outright, appalled by the antics of such sinister deviant posters and made their feelings known in the comments section of various blogs where such despicable behavior occurred. This was good to see. Human decency often triumphs over intolerance and unenlightened buffoonery. The haters were largely quashed.
The Malia Obama situation was just as troubling. A number of conservative bloggers were making their opinions known in various quarters of conservative media. Nonetheless, at FOX News.com, things became so acerbic that site moderators disabled the comments section of an Associated Press article after readers saturated the post with viciously racist comments. However, addictinginfo.org managed to capture some of the blatantly racist comments beforehand. Examples of such vehemently racist and white supremacist venom were:
*I wonder if she applied as a muDslime..or a foreign student..or just a Ni@@er.
* Hopefully she gets cancer/aids or one of those colored diseases."
*Another academically challenged affirmative-action parasite steals a place from a qualified White or Asian student."
*I'm sure she's being fed a stem of celery with two grain muffins for lunch as accorded by her man-thing mother, Sasquatch.
*Probably staying out for a year so she can help her parents carry out the furniture and dinnerware when they leave the White House,"
* Malia will have her Harvard transcripts buried, just like Chewbacca and the WH Muslim. As for the gap year, my guess is she will get some heavy tutoring to try to match up at Harvard. If she looks like she won't cut it, Malia goes somewhere outside the US to hide her further. Gap year, sure. By the way, ever hear either daughter ever talk? Can they?
*Doesn't have the grades, can't do the work, needs extensive tutoring to have a chance at ANY college, unless Affirmative Action and sealing her transcripts can be arranged (very likely!) Phony Birth Certificate, sealed transcripts from Harvard AND Columbia, 'gap year', see a pattern?"
As hard as it is to imagine, some other comments were even worse. Several posters blatantly and brazenly used the word Nigger in referring to the young lady.
Quite frankly, if we are honest with ourselves, most politically astute people should not have been surprised by the fact that that Malia Obama came under attack by right wing bloggers. The fact is that even as far back when the President first took office in 2009 his entire family, wife and daughters were the subject demeaning racist remarks and cartoons (particularly Barack and Michelle) amplifying and and grossly distorting their physical features. Referring to the first lady and his wife as apes, monkeys, pimps, prostitutes and other demeaning terms.
This is not the first time that Malia has been the target of right wing attacks. In 2011, she was referred to as a "typical street whore" and :ghetto Street trash" for wearing a shirt with a peace sign on it. http://www.womanistmusings.com/malia-called-typical-street-whore-at/. A few years in 2014, Elizabeth Lauten, a former communications director for congressmen for Tennessee state Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher bashed Malia and her younger sister, Sasha who were 16 and 13 at the time, for their outfits (both girls wore miniskirts at the event) and facial expressions at the annual turkey pardoning. Teenage girls wearing miniskirts! Never heard of such a thing! Imagine ! (sarcasm) .
The fact is that the disrespectful comments attributed to Malia Obama questioning her intelligence, her looks, behavior etc... is a larger symptom of the pernicious level of poisonous racism that is still deeply embedded in various pockets of our nation. Right wing media and talk radio feed into such attitudes with their often gross and blatant misrepresentations and depictions of non-Whites, women, gays and lesbians, people of color, immigrants and other groups. Technology has afforded many bigots the opportunity to spew hate filled garbage behind the cloak of anonymity. The fact that right wing trolls, no doubt many of them adults, have/had no apprehension in taking to the internet directing their vile, unhinged and odious attacks toward a teenage girl is nothing short of abominable. Such people are perverse, menacing, immoral, amoral and are arguably suffering from a pitiful degree of racial hatred. They are a disgrace to the human race. Michelle Obama has been so blatantly derided by a segment of unhinged, arguably mentally disturbed critics that it is hardly news anymore.
The good news is that Malia Obama and the first lady are undoubtedly strong enough to disregard such inflammatory commentary from their demented detractors. Both women are beautiful, poised, classy (as is the case with Sasha) women who embody far more beauty, class and intelligence than their pathetic minded critics ever will.
Elwood Watson, Ph.D. is a professor of History, African American Studies and Gender Studies at East Tennessee State University. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book Violence Against Black Bodies (Routledge Press, 2016)