You Gotta Love Racist New York Liberals

…Yeah, I said it, and I meant it too. The New Yorker staffers and editors who thought it was acceptable to run the cover of Barack-and-Michelle-Obama-as-Muslim-and/or-black-nationalist-militants are racists. And assholes. Their liberalism does not acquit them. The fact that most of them will probably vote for Obama in November doesn’t acquit them. The fact that they think themselves hip and urbane, and oh-so-pithy and oh-so-ironic, and oh-so satirical doesn’t make a bit of difference. What they have done, irrespective of their intent, is to further the right-wing white racial frame that has been placed on the Obama candidacy from the outset. By trafficking in stereotypes, presumably to poke fun at them, the New Yorker has reinforced imagery that is guaranteed to push certain buttons with many voters, and not “irony buttons” (I mean most Americans can’t even define the term, which is why folks thought that Alanis Morrissette song was so good, even though every example of irony she mentioned wasn’t an example of irony at all), but bigotry ones. Intent does not matter with this kind of thing: impact is what counts, and the impact will be to reinforce white fears about the Obamas. White folks don’t tend to appreciate irony when the joke is on us, you see.

But for those who choose to defend the New Yorker on this cartoon, (and who think it’s legit satire, because it “obviously” pokes fun at the whole right-wing “Obama is a muslim” conspiracy B.S….), here’s why no such defense is possible….

Let’s think about some other examples of satire, which, theoretically, the New Yorker could have turned into covers, where they could have poked fun at stupid conspiracy thinking and obviously absurd bigotry…

Can anyone on here imagine the New Yorker, or any other mainstream outlet doing a “satire” where they poke fun at the asinine conspiracy theories about Jews and 9/11 (like “4000 Jews stayed home from work that day because they got tipped off by the Mossad”)? Can you imagine them satirizing the loons who say that shit by doing a cover with a bunch of rabbis, calling each other on the phone reminding other “members of the tribe” (as we occasionally call ourselves, for those who don’t know) to stay home? Or perhaps a rabbi pushing down on a TNT charge, and bringing the WTC down? Of course not. They would never do this, and with good reason.

Likewise, whack jobs have been spinning conspiracy yarns for centuries about Jews baking matzo using the blood of gentiles, etc., but never would any media outlet think it was ok to make fun of such stupidity by showing Jewish men in kippahs snacking on flatbread made from the plasma of someone named Mikey O’Malley (for lack of a more authentic gentile name).

They would never ’satirize’ Holocaust denial, for example, by showing a cover with Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz, playing cards, or shuffleboard, as a way to show the absurdity and venality of those who claim there was no mass murder of Jews and that Auschwitz was “actually a pretty nice place, with an orchestra, for entertainment,” (a claim David Duke made several years ago, for example).

Even if it were an election season, and a Jewish candidate were in the race (as was the case for Lieberman as VP in 2000), there is simply no way that the New Yorker would have done a cover with Lieberman playing the role of a puppeteer, and say, pulling the strings of an Al Gore marionette, with, let’s say, an Israeli flag flapping in the background, as a way to satirize the buffoons who said things about how Joe L. was just a Zionist Manchurian candidate, brainwashed in shul to “destroy all goyim,” as one Nazi froot loop swore to me was true eight years ago.

Bottom line: hip white liberals don’t take chances at offending Jewish folks the way we will black folks or Muslims. And the reasons are simple:

1. Jews are a dangerous target to offend because we have more economic clout than folks of color and can punish anti-Semitic acts in ways that folks of color often can’t when the acts are racist, and,

2. Jewish suffering and pain is taken more seriously than the pain and suffering of other groups, and garners more sympathy, in large measure because it is the suffering of a people who are now thought of as white (wasn’t always the case but it is now by most folks). This is why no one ever worries that Holocaust Studies programs that focus on the Shoah (and it alone) will encourage Jews to develop a “victim mentality,” or cause us to “shirk personal responsibility for our community,” while Af-Am studies or Ethnic Studies programs that discuss the oppression of folks of color, and their struggles to overcome that oppression and define themselves in history, are met with constant cries of “PC” and concern that indeed, folks of color are being encouraged to think of themselves as permanent victims in such classes. Jewish pain counts, it seems, while black and brown pain does not. Jewish pain can be blamed on others (nasty Germans, for example), while black and brown pain is very much our shame in the U.S….so we can’t face it, or care the same way, or worry about offending folks of color, while we would never think of risking such offense with Jewish folks, for the most part.

Those of us who are Jewish should speak up and demand that the same standard of care be taken with other groups as is taken with us. What would be unacceptable when done to us, must be unacceptable when done to others.

And those of us who are Southern should probably use examples like this to point out that Northern racism, while perhaps more veiled and “hip” than that which comes from our part of the country, isn’t any more acceptable for it.

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