Blatant Disrespect of President Obama: Racism Or Double Standard?

October 19, 2010
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Colorado Billboard
Colorado Billboard depicting President Obama as a terrorist, ganster, Mexican bandit, and a gay man.

It would be easy to say that the continual display of disrespect for President Barack Obama is the ultimate example that racism in this country is alive and well. No doubt, a case could be made that indeed the perpetrators and those who condone such acts are indeed racists.

What else can we conclude about the recent billboard in western Colorado that depicts President Barack Obama, in living color, as a terrorist, a gangster, a gay man, and a Mexican bandit? This, in the wake of the billboard where the Tea Party portrays him as a socialist along with Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx, certainly begs the question. Although the Colorado billboard was taken down, it was seen by not only our nation but the world at large before that happened.

Will we ever forget the congressman from South Carolina who felt comfortable calling President Obama a liar, out loud in a full house of Congress, for all the country and world to hear and see? A historical show of disrespect, not only for the man, but even worse the Office of President and the Halls of Congress.

All of these acts are unprecedented. Did you see such displays during the presidency of Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush? Did you see billboards depicting their factual transgressions — Richard Nixon as a bandit complicit in the planning of the Watergate break-in, Bill Clinton being in a compromising position with another woman, or George Bush dancing on a bar in a drunken stupor?

Has President Barack Obama been a gangster, terrorist, a Mexican bandit? Oh, and a gay gangster, terrorist, and bandit at that?

altEvery real and respectful American should be screaming: ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH. Not to do so reflects badly on all of us. I hate to think what some of our global neighbors must be thinking.

Such blatant demagoguery and derogatory acts are the ultimate show of disrespect for the office of the President of the United States of America. It is un-American. It reflects more negatively on the perpetrators and those who condone it than it does on President Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, there are those who simply cannot get over the fact that America has a black man as president. They are either unwilling or incapable of extending President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt that he is a qualified and able leader. Just as good, even better than many of his white predecessors.

History will be the ultimate judge of President Barack Obama. But history will judge our actions or the lack thereof as well.

What do you think?


I agree with this article because I also feel like not everyone yet accepts that America has a black president. They say that they aren’t racist but just that he doesn’t have the abilities to do his job correctly and to satisfy the nation. This is a lie. They are judging him for his color, they are assuming he doesn’t have the capability and knowledge to be a good president. They are not giving equal opportunity for everyone just because in the past, all presidents were white men and they see this as the norm and the only way things should be. But enough is enough for talking down on our new president because it makes out nation look really bad at that we are weak as a country.

I don't think anyone has the complete efficacy to be president; because nobody is perfect. No person, from any race, can please all the people. Politicans have agenda; they suffer from greed and pride just like the rest of us. So Obama is not exempt from criticism.
Concerning this specific article, I certainly don't think racist billboards do anyone any justice. He should recieve respect and dignity. However, as president the inevitable burden is criticism from differing political ideologies.

I think this article leads a very good point. Why do we think we have such a right to be so disrespectful to our President? I think it's because racism still exists strongly in this country. Previous Presidents have never been so disrespected before, but then a black President comes along and people have no respect for him by creating these pictures. I think people don't always realize when they are crossing the line. I can only imagine what Obama thinks when he sees garbage like this. I think people need to accept him as our President and treat him with the utmost respect.

Submitted by KMSCSUSM on

As I believe in free speech and freedom to voice our concerns with what a President of the United States does I think it is completely wrong and unjust to compare any President of the U.S. with Hitler. Come on, did we see that kind of display with Bush or Clinton? The article is right in that, also have you seen the bumper stickers asking if we are statisfied with Obama? I didn't see anything like that with the other presidents. I think Obama is held to a higher standard just because he is black and most people think just because we have a black president everything will be fixed. But, how is he going to change anything when we still have the closed minded individuals sitting in Senate and holding other offices of state. Change takes one person at a time and until we start standing up to people who are creating this nation of money hoarders, racist, politians nothing will change. Obama can't do it by himself, we have to help. But that's like preaching to the choir here because most of us are already aware of this.

I just wish to clarify the comment that we did not see this display with George Bush. We certainly did.

However, it is easy to blame criticism of a black leader on racism. This is why legitimate concerns voiced by these type of Tea Partiers have been painted as racists.

I will not be so naive as to say that all Tea Partiers are not racists. In the umbrella that the movement covers there are a miniscule fringe of people who oppose the president based solely upon race. Sadly, the consensus of the movement is based upon those provacative few who bring racist posters or wear racist t-shirts (which are many times plants by certain liberal organizations).

Racists are hardly the majority of the movement.

In regards to the billboard, it can be construed as disrespectful. However, it does not strike me as hurled based upon race. Rather I find it to be poorly executed commentary on the President's policies on illegal immigration and the War on Terror.

I will not dispute the Chicago strong-arming that has manifested itself in Obama's administration. The gangster costume is apt in my .

George W. Bush was put through the ringer. His intelligence, his family, and his character were ripped apart on a daily basis. I have no doubt that President Obama loves his country but so too did George W. Bush. Where were the Liberals when GWB faced this kind of abuse. While I am not saying it is right, I have a hard time feeling sorry for Obama. Sarah Palin is just as big of a patriot as Obama and she has taken a beating. She is bashed on her intelligence and motives. Her daughters and grandson have been criticized as well. Her grandson has down syndrome and is made fun of by popular cartoons. Letterman basically called her daughter promiscuous. If you want to make this all about race, because that is what this site is all about. These ads are not about his race, they're about his POLICIES. He is a radical, there is no way around it. Let's stop whining and complaining. Focus on the issues and if you have so much of a problem with these ads, CRITICIZE THE DEMOCRATS. They are more hateful and subversive than the Tea Party. It's so typical for Liberals to do one thing and then cry foul when it happens to them. Grow up and realize that you ran on the fact that he was black. Don't all of a sudden say race doesn't matter because it helped you win in the first place.

Everything that you say about the tendency to put our leaders down and find fault with them, including making them the focus of our jokes, has most Americans upset with the press and television commentators. I was disappointed to sense your racist tone on a site created to address racism and find your comment polarizing, --what we really need to do is focus on negative perceptions of others together. If we can't do it, how do we expect our congress to do it?

Sarah Palin was never our president, and her actions certaintly never demanded any respect. Second, George Bush was yes made fun of horribly. He was called a drunk(even though he has been sober for years), he is often looked upon as an idiot(despite the fact that he is actually quite bright). HOWEVER one must look at who was saying these things. Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report should and can not be blamed for what they have said about him. They are the ones that have made fun of the president. They are professional satirists. THEY MAKE FUN OF LEADERS. The tea party on the other hand is a political movement, the congressman is a politician. These people should not be acting in the way that they have been acting recently. Its one thing if a normal citizen or comedy tv show makes fun of a president, its another if a political party calls the president a nazi, communist.

I totally agree with the article I also think that although these cartoons can be satiric they are an obvious example that racism is part of our everyday lives. Although past presidents of the United States have been protagonists of satiric cartoons we can clearly see that race matters. Race is the first thing we see when we meet someone. The fact that we have a black president now does not mean that opportunities are equal for everyone; it only makes color blindness stronger. Now a lot of people can hide racism by saying "come on, racism? We have a black president" this phrase has become the easy way out to deny that racism is present today!

I think it comes down to respect for our president no matter who he is. No president has been perfect, but as a country we voted each one of them into office and I think that we should respect them as an authority figure. I do not think it is fair to judge President Obama's race. I think that we should be looking at him as a man and what he has accomplished so far. When we do look at his downfalls and think that is important to do so respectfully and not spitefully.

I find it extremely disturbing to see what some of our fellow americans deem as acceptable behavior. We will always have people coming in and out of our lives that we do not see eye to eye with. Although many americans do not have the same perspectives, views, or stand points, this does not mean we can walk around and slander and accuse our president of such horrible things, like the billboard. I feel embarrassed for the people who did things like that, and who continue to do disrespectful acts. As a nation, we should support one another, regardless of the circumstance. I understand that is far easier said than done, but I also feel that we have fallen short of putting forth effort and trying. Personally, I do not completely agree with all that President Obama stands for and believes. But I also do not know enough about his campaigns, his daily strive, and his ultimate goals in his presidency. Therefore, I would never walk around putting him down and disregarding his genuine care for our country. I feel that if other americans who are in my position and aren't 100% pro-Obama would try to handle their dislike with a little more class and respect, things would go a lot smoother and efficiently in this country.

I do agree with what is said about how the disrespect of the leader of our country being wrong. As stated in others replies, we voted him in. Some people voted because he as black, some voted because they thought he could do well, and some voted because they didn't want to vote for the other guy. But the disrespect is uncalled for. People did speak ill of past presidents and what they may had done within their time of office. But when caught and judged, the issue did not carry out as long as it has with Obama. I dont only think that people talk ill of him because of his race. It seems there are more people wanting him out of office instead of in. Some of these people are people that had voted for him. If there was to be a re election today, i feel he would not be in office any longer. And again its not because of his race (solely). Its also because of his actions in the government. As seen in the article there was the billboard that was depicted as him being gay, a bandit, a gangster, and a terrorist. Yes it was def. uncalled for. But some people have their own ways of showing disapproval. It shouldn't go as far as that. But when certain people feel powerless with something they wish to control, they go to extreme measures to voice their opinion. All in all, i dont think peoples actions should be judged by mere perception of racism, but by what people think of the actions taken through their leaders. If they feel their voices aren't being heard, they will do what they can to make it seen.

You should always respect your president. I cant believe that people are so outraged that we have a black president. get over it.

I believe that regardless of your beliefs you should be respectful to our president. I think that the blatant disrespect of president Obama is absolutely awful!!! Many Americans feel that the mear fact that he has black skin gives them the right to call out liar in front of a full house of congress or to throw bricks into democrats offices, this is outrageous. Did Americans scream out liar to President Bush when we discovered the reasons we entered war were false.? An actual valid lie NO we did not! Why? Because we respect him although we disagree with him. The whole tea party movement is in my opinion a covert racist movement and got created because of Obama winning presidency. I had never heard about or seen the two billboards discussed but seeing them made my stomach turn, I can't believe that these billboards were up in our country. The billboard that says Obama is a Mexican, gangster, gay, terrorist and bandit is wrong on so many levels I feel like they just use every negative aspect to try to get the most amount of people against him. The other billboard that relates Obama to Hitler is outrageous me, being Jewish I am offended, Obama is nothing like Hitler!! And I don't really understand the whole issue with socialist policies to be honest I agree with them. People ( republicans/ tea par tiers) need to accept the fact that the majority voted for Obama and want his progressive policies!

I agree that the billboard, etc. are blatant disrespect of both President Obama and the office of the president. However, I think it is incorrect to say the entirety of this behavior is all due to race. A small percentage is most likely due to race alone, and this is a shame. The majority of it is, unfortunately, to me, how the United States treats its' presidents. If we look back at President George W. Bush's inaugural motorcade, I remember eggs and other items being thrown at his car. It was his first day in office. And it was disgusting. He was mocked and disrespected for eight years.

My hope is that the American people will treat President Obama with the respect he and our other president's deserve.

By looking at the billboard depicting Obama next to Hitler and Karl Marx shows us that this isnt a show of racism its a show of disrespect. America is known for electing a president and then completely disrespecting them when they dont do exactly what we want them too. All of our presidents have been depicted in some form of a cartoon or billboard that shows some form of disapproval. No matter what we do there will always be this disrespect and disapproval. Not everyone is going to like our president. The only reason that people are saying that these critics are racist is because our president is African American. This goes back to the debate over what is seen as racist.

Although I do think that the depiction of Obama as a gangster, Mexican, and gay man is just disgusting, there has always been negative attitudes toward our presidents.I know that when Bush was president people made fun of him all the time, look at Saturday night live and the skit they made with the stammering southern guy who doesn't know what he has to talk about. And now people freely make fun of him and his policies all the time.
So I don't think that those horrible campaign signs are anything but negative campaigning. It is wrong because it is making fun of other people not just Obama. But in campaigns the two people campaigning always portray their opponents negatively with horrible campaign tactics.

I agree with this article. I feel that we should respect our president even if you voted for him or not. He was still elected president of our country. Americans as have to realize that everybody president has their own agenda to complete as well, it does not matter you race or ethnicity. I feel that these billboards are judging him by his color and they are assuming he doesn't have the capability and knowledge to a good president when in fact we as a society were they ones who put him in office. This does happen to be the first black president but honestly what does that have to do with anything. The color of your skin has NOTHING to do with your political believes or capabilities of running this country.

This article has been the most interesting of all. I defiantly feel that racism has no boundary and can hit anyone and all classes. Barack Obama being the President of the United States should have and be respected to the upmost fulfillment, but because he is black whites feel the need to disrespect him and place him under visions that he’s a gangster or terrorist. I wonder why Bill Clinton and George W. Bush didn’t receive this type of treatment. Maybe because they’re white. Racism is not only a giant factor in our society, but it’s a contemporary factor that not only affects lower classes but as well as the President of the United States. I feel that whites want to maintain the power they have over minorities, and if it takes making fun of Barack Obama, then that action will be engaged.

Submitted by gates010 on

I agree one hundred percent with this article, at the end of the day our president needs to be respected. People may say that every president was disliked or that George W. Bush went through so much on a daily basis or that Sarah Palin has endured so much but honestly has any of them had a billboard up like this before? Has any president been called a liar in Congress? The only thing that seems to be different about Obama is that he is black and not white. It just happens that all these things that have never happened to all the other presidents (that still no one has liked) seemed to start when the president is black. No matter what the race is he is our president, he should be treated with respect regardless if we agree with his decisions or not. He is the top boss, most people can say they don’t like their boss but they still treat them with respect, why can’t we show that same respect to our president?

The continued racism that President Barack Obama has seen throughout his term has merely been of symbolic hate toward the president. I do believe that racism is still alive and well in our country, but these people initiating in the acts of portraying Obama as a gangster or a gay are simply wanting attention; and society is giving it to them. Every President has had their share of obscure political cartoons and atrocious acts toward them, and because Obama is black, that’s the way they attack him. If today’s president was Indian, I strongly feel that Indian racist comments would be alive and well on their way. The people who create the racist pictures of Obama want their drawings to reach the media and get the attention of everyone. Didn’t we learn in elementary school that when people are picking on us walk away? Why can’t we leave this situation alone? Doesn’t anyone think that the racist will stop? Or some to think about it, the racism will never stop. Could whites be trying to keep their white supremacy toward all minorities by disrespecting the highest figure in our country? That doesn’t seem as such a far fetch idea either.

I get a kick out of the billboard with Obama, Hitler, Marx with words like Change and socialism. Although racism may be involved in the creation of offensive posters like the ones above I am betting that people fear the change that Obama brings more than his skin. A more appropriate poster for change would have been The Manifesto (Marx), Mein Kampf (Hitler), and The Declaration of Independence (by America). Racism is not something the will ever go away as long as there are people who look different or come from another culture it will persist luckily we get to live in a world that is growing together more by the day due to technological advances allowing us to make contact we would other wise not be able to do. I just hope the next time a minority gets in to the presidential office things will cool down. Right now the nation is so polarized on opinions of Obama it is no wonder his supporters and others call it racism.

People have and probably always will disrespect our leaders. The last president to be truly loved by all and to have total and utter respect by all citizens was probably George Washington(he was after all elected unanimously). Is this blatant disrespect of leaders right? no. of course not. There have leaders throughout US history that have taken the critism and others that have seemingly cracked. Ulysses Grant was horribly badgered because of the fact that his administration was one of the most corrupt ever, despite the fact that Grant was never actually the one being corrupt. Grant would not run for re-election because of this. Others like Andrew Jackson almost seemed to thrive off of his opposition and even shot and killed a man in a duel for disrepecting his wife. In recent history people seem to think that this new wave of insulting the presidents(whether its making fun of Reagan for not paying attention in cabinet meetings, or making fun of clinton for having affairs) is a new occurance while in fact this has been happening for over two hundred years, and of course in certain cases it was worse then others. The attacks on obama are undoubtly crossing the line in many aspects however I do not believe them all to be racist. I think many are just brought on by the deep polarization of the two political parties and the fact that he was a president that promised change. However I am not blind and so i see that there is some and perhaps even alot of racism towards the fact that he is a black man(such as how people say he is muslim despite the fact that he is not). I believe that people should let up on the critisism, just like how the should have let up during President Bush's terms. Overall I think America should just be happy that Obama isn't sucha hot head like Jackson because who knows what Jackson would have done by now.

I was shocked to see these billboards blatantly disrespecting their own president. After seeing this, it is fair to say that there is still a great amount of racial issues left in this country. It looks as though it has gotten worse as a result of Barack Obama entering in to office. I feel as though the South Carolina Congressman calling Obama a liar in the middle of the House of Congress would not have done so if it was another white president. This article aslo showed that with no other president was he depicted in a bad way on billboards in the United States. It is just plain wrong to put your president next to hitler and marx as if they are all for the same "change"

I can't say that people should not express their feelings of disagreement toward the President because that is a benefit of living in a democracy. However, that is not to say I condone the blatantly racist undertone of many of the tea party opposition. It is one thing to disagree with policy, but another to just disrespect the person in office due to race. Most of the tea party criticism is ignorant rambling that has no root in any sort of fact.
Criticism is one thing racism is another.

Reading this article really made me think long and hard about our nation not having enough respect. Respect for people of different religion, color, socioeconomic status, and in this case, political views. If some people in our nation cannot even respect President Obama, the man who is our leader, the man that we should all look up to and have respect for. He is our leader, he represents us, and some people cannot even give him the respect he deserves. This billboard makes me sick in the stomach. I try and relate it to not respecting our parents, or grandparents. Its a rough comparison, but I was raised to always respect my parents no matter what the issue, and if I cannot handle it that I can see myself to the door. Even if there are Republicans out there who do not agree with his political agenda, they do not need to stoop so low to make a billboard disrespecting him in more ways than one. We have open discussion in class about race, and it seems no matter how hard we try there is always going to be racism. White priviledge, sexism, ageism, the list goes on and it all boils down to disrespect. I can only imagine a place where we are all one.

Submitted by Haskarzoi on

This article discusses about the continuous act that disrespects President Obama. Since the elections that I can recall, I remember different types of cartoons that portrayed President Obama and usually looking at the cartoons, I always saw cartoons that made fun of the presidents but not their racial or ethnic group; however, for President Obama all the posters or cartoons are regarding the fact that he is African-American which is extremely upsetting that people are ignorant enough that they cannot come up with anything else but President Obama’s race to criticize. One point in the article that completely surprised me is when the author talks about the cartoons that portrays President Obama as gangster (gay), terrorist, or a Mexican bandit such acts show me that our generation and society are extremely ignorant and need to make a change in order to stop such “ignorant acts” and in certain ways it shows that many people are so uneducated that they are doing such acts. And it was sad when the author compared President Obama’s cartoons to other Presidents such as when Bill Clinton was a president, there were only his banners of women regarding his affair, and they had President Bush dancing on a bar in a drunken stupor and it is just ironic to notice the difference between the other presidents banners/cartoons compared to President Obama which clearly show the obvious racism in our nation.

The history of the United States has been changed forever because an African American has been elected as president. The people of America show their thanks by not only being blatantly rude and disrespectful to President Obama, but give our nation a terrible reputation to the rest of the world. How can we call ourselves a role model for other nations that are trying to become more like us if we continue to let racism be an issue? I witnessed one of the worst instances of disapproval for our president when he came to visit my university. There were so many angry people. It was very upseting. There's a difference between disagreeing with the president and outright opposing him which a truly un-American thing to do. We need to take a hard look at how this affects people world-wide and start making smarter decisions that will produce positive affects in our current political arena.

Submitted by SBUAMICO-9 on

I agree that people should express how they feel, but to a certain point. I feel that when what someone is saying or doing starts controversy then it shouldn't be said just for the simple fact that the speaker most likely intentionally did it (In this situation for example.)