Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fox's Obama obsession: If it walks like racism and talks like racism...

I saw something on YouTube the other day (I've posted it below) that I found disturbing. But luckily, I had the foresight to pull out and leaf through my tattered copy of The Modern American's Guide for Interpreting Other People's Behavior: Women/Minority/Gay Edition™. I carry it with me everywhere I go. It comes in handy in department stores, for instance.

Just a few months ago at Target, I found myself wondering why a security guard seemed to be following me at a distance as I perused the cargo shorts aisle. I started to feel nervous. I kept walking, and the nerves turned to incredulity, the kind where the world sort of slows down and you start to feel detached, like your'e watching something absurd instead of living it. I saw his eyes poke around the corner behind the socks to look at me looking at black boxer briefs. I started to feel my ears burn as the detachment faded into anger. That's when the manual saved me. It was right there on page 92, under "The Target Security Guard." It said "He's not suspicious of you because you're Black/Mixed/Whatever-the-hell-you-are, he's suspicious of you because you're a teen-ager." That would've made sense years ago, when I first bought the manual, but what the hell, I'm not old yet. It could still apply.

Now that was a relief. Life is easier with the manual. People seem much less ridiculous. Sunsets are rosier. The air even smells fresher, somehow.

So when I saw a link that had the words "Fox" and "Obama" in the same sentence, I immediately reached again for that manual. I sure am glad I did. Watch this clip, and then I'll tell you how The Modern American's Guide for Interpreting Other People's Behavior: Women/Minority/Gay Edition™ helped me put it all in perspective:



Now, according to The Modern American's Guide for Interpreting Other People's Behavior: Women/Minority/Gay Edition™, there was absolutely nothing racist about any of this. Here's what it said, right there on page 18,978:

Clip from Fox News' allegedly satirical take-off on The Daily Show: "The 1/2 Hour News Hour"
1. Time index 01:01- Masses of dancing Africans are shown while Fox mentions Barack Obama supporters.
This is not - we repeat, NOT - Fox News intentionally trying to scare White viewers with the thought of hordes of unruly dark people taking over the streets. They probably just couldn't find any other footage on such short notice.

2. Time index 01:14- "BO Magazine"
This is not Fox using racial code words & concepts in an ongoing campaign to help as many of their viewers as possible get back in touch with their inner bigots. This is not - we repeat, NOT - Fox News dredging up the age-old stereotype about Black people smelling bad. That stereotype hasn't been widely used for at least several decades. Several years. Well, at least several months. So it's unreasonable to think anyone at Fox has heard of that stereotype, much less that anyone there would intentionally employ it.

2. Time index 01:37- "Organize Your House - and your Senate"
Fox News is not trying to conjur up the image of a Black housekeeper. In fact, this is more evocative of magazines aimed at housewives. So maybe they're complimenting Barack Obama's wife. Have you ever stopped to think of that?

2. Time index 01:46- "Barack vs. Tiger Woods: Who's More Diverse? "
This is not an example of Fox News mocking the very existence of mixed-race Americans in order to reinforce deep-seeded White resentment. They're actually praising diversity - showing how grateful they are that we live in a country where anyone can marry and raise kids with whomever they want ('long as they're not queer).

2. Time index 02:03- "Don't tell Mama, I'm for Obama"
Nothing to see here.


Thanks for making life more bearable, The Modern American's Guide for Interpreting Other People's Behavior: Women/Minority/Gay Edition™!

8 comments:

The Pete said...

Holy crap, these nuts are desperate to take out Obama. They're playing the race card already. The only thing that could make them even more racist would be if Obama chose Harold Ford for his running mate. Oh, man, Fox News would self destruct!

Hugo Estrada said...

Hmmm. It seems that Fox News can't even make a decent rip off of the Daily Show. They don't get that the point is to make a cartoon of our opponents, not to make a self-parody of themselves, especially the one that stresses their racism.

Rick S. said...

Darrin:
I do not necessarily like Mr. Obama --- I think he was personally responsible for torpedoing the Cegelis campaign in the Illinois primary and saddling us with Ms. Duckworth's failed campaign in the election for representative. Now we're stuck with Roskam. I suppose you have to step on a lot of toes in local politics ...

However, I would rather vote for Mr. Obama than for Ms. Clinton.

And there is no way I would vote for a Republican, even if it was McCain.

But ... how old are you? Have you thought about running for president? I'd rather vote for a professional smartass than for a superstar politician.

But hey, that's just a silly white guy's opinion. ;-)

Thanks for calling Fox to task on this. Keep it up.

Zach said...

Of course, Fox fans are going to get all defensive when someone brings up racism. We're not supposed to point that out these days, we're supposed to pretend racism went away decades ago.

I think we need to tell it like it is, even if it makes Fox fans roll their eyes.

Hugo Estrada said...

Zach,
Is is politically incorrect to bring up the racism of conservatives. ;)

K.C. said...

You're right, it's become politically incorrect to point out racist conservatives. People are afraid to call them for what they are, because the conservatives will just act all indignant and offended.

This Fox News skit was obviously racist, no sense pussyfooting around it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was... wow, I would be offended, if I didn't feel so terribly sorry for the cast of that program. It's obviously a Daily Show knock-off, and the jokes were so bad, even the laugh-track sounded strained.
One thing though, the crowds of blacks in the first two shots were blatantly racist, as was the Barack v Tiger, and the "Don't Tell Mama" was, well, you get the idea. But, just to give Fox some credit, I don't think the writers were capable of seeing any deeper into the BO thing then "lol, lol his initials stand for Body Odor, lol, rofl!!1!1!"
Whatever, let's just hope that murdoch doesn't keep this crap on, simply to be stubborn.

Anonymous said...

Racism is a peculiar thing. I don't believe that people who exhibit racism are always doing it because of a formulated set of 'racist' values. It's more of an attempt to "get at others who might be in a weaker position than me because I feel threatened by life" type of reaction, for people who find it difficult to adapt to change. That skit was racist, but it's really just a small wave in the sea of change ... please excuse the rhetoric, but i hope you get my meaning.