obama waffles: racism, values, visual rhetoric, and election 2008

Joan Lowy of the Associated Press reports that “[a]ctivists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.” The forum in question is the Values Voter Summit.

The creators claim they are attempting to play on what they see as Obama’s tendency to waffle on different issues. But, the images—with their accentuated features (huge floppy ears, gigantic white teeth, and dark lips) and depiction of Obama as a Muslim—suggest a racism founded on fear while simultaneously attempting to emasculate Obama by placing him in a position held by Aunt Jemima, thereby castrating his virility (Martin Kevorkian explores fear of black male virility in Color Monitors: The Black Face of Technology in America). They also harken back to a time when racist depictions of African Americans was the norm (taken in a thrift shop in San Marcos, TX):

Aunt Jemina Ad taken by Bill Wolff

The Obama Waffles web site advances the racist conceit of Michele Obama as “domineering, militant, black woman,” reversing the depiction of Aunt Jemima:

These images also recall the accents in the manipulated Time magazine OJ Simpson cover:

Update 9/16/08:

Via Crooks and Liars, The Brooklyn Comedy Company on Obama Waffles and racism against Obama:

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