Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is This Offensive?

THE CHICAGO READER, an alternative weekly, ran the above image as their cover of the post-election issue. And as soon as it hit the streets, people freaked out.

"Callers told me we're assuming he'll screw up because he's black," Reader editor Alison True wrote.

Is the image going too far?

And what about the image below, which would have been their cover if John McCain won the election?

22 comments:

J K Hirst said...

I don't think either image is going to far, although I think the McCain image is more comical then the one of Obama. I think that they are just vocalizing the underlying uneasiness with either candidate.

However, I think that what S. Park did last night went too far. Did anyone catch that?

KIERRAY said...

I feel that sense Obama is our first black president, his race could work for and against him.

I know millions and millions of blacks (including me) are looking at him for inspiration, espescially Chicago. So as a pro, him being a black man and succeeding during his term(s) in the white house would ensure many blacks that they can truly achieve anything they dream of and it might even possibly lessen racism against blacks.

As a con, the black community and the rest of the world would be highly dissapointed if the first U.S. black president did a poor job. That would cause him to be scrutinized ten times more than Bush was. He'd be hated worldwide for failing the black community and the rest of America.

I don't really approve of either of the covers. Why focus on the negative anyway after such a historic victory? But it doesn't cause me to claim that The Chicago Reader is a publication being run by a bunch of racist pigs.

courtney schmidt said...

The point was to get people walking down to street to stop and look at the weekly, and both covers do the job. I don't think they meant it to be about color when putting, 'don't screw this up'. I think they meant this guy has a lot of his shoulders, and if he promises change he better deliver.

kyle said...

They are not really offensive, nor are they very necessary. These are some of the thoughts of the American people that they decided to run on their images.

One thing I do not understand is the comment about McCain. OK, the guy is a little older than the average president or man in general. However, he looks to be in good health. I would also imagine that being a president, disregarding his wealth to afford it in general, would have pretty solid healthcare.

Kyle Bagenstose said...

I think the Obama cover was refering to his race. It seems to me that if they were refering to just being a President, and not screwing up, that could have worked equally for both men.

Since McCain's cover picked on his age, I think the "don't screw THIS up" refers to Obama being the first African American President.

However, I don't feel that it is racist, I think it is a reminder of how great of a responsibility this is to Barack Obama. He has the ability to make great progress against racism, and I think everyone is a little afraid of what could happen if he fails.

Najee said...

I feel that as an alternative weekly, they'd be expected to put out something offbeat and abnormal. I don't feel that either cover is offensive, just comical, like the traditional SNL skits that everyone knows and loves.

Marisa said...

I do find it slightly offensive. Yes, he is the first black president and if something goes wrong during his presidency people may hold it against future black runners. It is a thought that people may have but we, as a country, voted him as the next president because we believe that he will do a great job and achieve many things as president.

summergirl said...

I don't think this is offensive. People are being too touchy. The public and the media always criticizes the president. But now, people are going to blame any criticism of him on racism. People need to accept criticism Obama without automatically assuming it's because everyone is racist.

Taj said...

Not really. :) It`s fair to me, man..

Megan McCue Journalism said...

It is so annoying when people blame things on race. The picture is referring to how people treat Obama like he is God and expect him to do miracles and that's all.

Jordan Frias said...

Friend of Shari Dacosta...Jordan Frias from Providence College, RI. I believe that both covers are extremely offensive, especially the Obama cover. Everyone believes that he might slip up and it will affect the possibility of having another minority in office, which I do not agree with. Regardless if he does a good job or not, he does not represent the entire minority race in the United States. I believe that Obama will do a tremendous job in office and no one should doubt him before his term even begins. The McCain one is pretty funny but extremely offensive to him personally and mainly towards all elders.

Irene Kip said...

I think both covers are pretty offensive and negative, especially for a the new president elect. But then again, I think that was the point. Covers with a little edge are bound to catch peoples' eye and sell more. Either way, Obama is about to be scrutinized for every move he makes just as any president has been before him...even more so because of a) his race, and b) the extreme amount of pressure on him to perform some type of miracle at this point so this is only just the beginning of it...

Grace Dickinson said...

I think these pictures are funny! I don't think the Obama picture is actually targeting him because he's black. Basically, due to Bush's screw-ups, and all of Obama's promises for change, he has a lot riding on his shoulders. And if he does mess up, he's going to be looked at as that "inexperienced" president that shouldn't have gotten elected. But personally, if he does all of these promises he says he will, I think he'll be a fine president. It will take time to make these changes, so America can't expect instant change. As for the McCain picture, that was really amusing, that's all I have to say about that.

jessica lista said...

I think these pictures are hilarious. They definetely caught my attention and I think that was the point of publishing covers like these. It made people pick up the paper and read the content. I do feel they are offensive but they do grab the readers attention. I mean... journalists are supposed to make the significant interesting...

Leighanne Heron said...

I don't think the Obama cover had anything to do with race. I think it was asking him not to screw up because he was voted in with the Democratic hope that he could do what he promised and if he screws it up the Republicans are going to say I -told-you-so. I think the McCain one was more of a reference not to die because then Palin would be President. Maybe that's not what the covers meant to put across but that's how I took them. I think they're funny, creative and a good source of conversation and controversy to stir up the media a bit.

ohsodramatic said...

i dont find these pictures funny at all. they are very offensive. but the pictures are catchy.
-viannie

Kirsten Stamn said...

I can see how people might have taken the Obama picture to be a racial statement, but there are two ways to look at it. Knowing that John McCain was also going to get a cover if he won (a cover that I find more offensive than the Obama one) shows that it really had nothing to do with race. I personally think they are hilarious because that is what almost everyone was thinking during the presidential race.

Anonymous said...

there will always be racism until it is no longer brought up

Anonymous said...

The first one with Obama was funny to me... not racial... I think it would have been any canidate elected the next president. If anything, I thinks it's more of a hit to Bush. The one with McCain is over the line. Karma baby... never joke about death.
Nikki Allen
J1111

Jess Listen said...

I think both ads are rather humorous. I think that people have made the campaign strongly based on race that that is what we automatically jump to, its as though we search for reasons to be like, "oh that's racist!", or "they're only saying that because he's black!" Here's what I think. We all know that Obama is black and McCain is old, we can all see that, so stop talking about it!

Jonathan said...

Both of these covers are offensive. Throwing such a statement as "Don't Screw This Up" and "Please Don't Die" have no place in politics or journalism. It is an insult to both Obama and McCain. Obama is a very intelligent man who can hold his own and hinting at the fact that he will "screw things up" is a slap in the face of Obama and his family. Also, hinting that age would have affected McCain's time in office is offensive. There was no need to refernce him as ready to "kick the bucket". His mother is 96 and still going strong so we obviously see that there is longevity in the McCain family. Moral of the story, no place for this in journalism.

Patty Giron said...

Its true. If Borack was white it would say the same thing, There is a new party in office, dont mess it up. There is pressure for Borack because he's representing african americans as well, so sure it could be taken the wrong way.. There is more I want to say but I am not articulate enough at the present moment to do so. The McCain one is hilarious. He's old, so what.