September 17th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Obama as witch doctor: Racist or satirical?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/17/obama.witchdoctor.teaparty/art.obama.protest.sign.cnn.jpg caption="A Tea Party rally protester holds a sign with President Obama depicted as a witch doctor."]

Ashley Fantz

Posters portraying President Obama as a witch doctor may be racist, organizers of Tea Party protests say, but they reflect anger about where he is leading the country.

The posters, showing Obama wearing a feather headdress and a bone through his nose, have recently popped up in e-mails, on Web sites and at Tea Party protests.

The image has stoked debate and cast attention on the rallies, which have drawn people Tea Party organizers describe as on the fringe and not representative of the overall movement. Their general viewpoint, leaders say, is that there's been too much federal government intervention, particularly concerning health care and taxes.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. bryanwilliams

    Of course it's racist. The person holding the sign is hiding behind it, because he doesn't want to be held accountable for having the sign. He knows it's wrong.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  2. Ann-Virginia

    Racism at its fimest.The right has perfected it & is not afraid to use racism,potraying the President as Hitler,the Joker,a tribal witchdoctor & no telling what else.When they get called on it they cry that the Dems are playing the"race card"or they try to avert the focus to healthcare,which they didn't want to talk about until Carter called it or they say that people made derogatory statements about Bush.Sure people called Bush names,but the overwhelming volumn of hate driven comments from the right,even as far back as the campaign,(people shouting terriorist & kill him at Sara Palin's stump speeches)and now esclilating to the outrageous comments from conservative radio,the hatefilled signs at tea party rallies & the comments from congressmen saying they hope he meets his waterloo & saying "you lie" on the floor of congress is more than enough evidence to call it what it is,racism,plain & simple on the part of some sick conservatives.How can anyone with this much hatred in their heart live with themselves?So sad for America that we still have bigotry.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  3. efordball

    I don't. Have problem with freedom of speach but as a blackman in the south its some words and images you just don't use.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  4. matthew, queens, ny

    That sign is racist. But does that mean the concerns of the vast majority is. At anti-war demonstrations and anti-globalization demonstrations we have seen ugly signs there too. We have seen windows broken and other acts of vandalism at these demonstrations. Yet we heard how they were not representative of the majority. We are a democracy. Therefore we the people have a say in how our government acts according to our wishes. Elections settle who our leaders are. However, that does not mean we give up our right to speak out; if we feel our leaders are heading in a wrong direction. It is a messy business, but let us not forget (on this date that our Constitution was ratified) that free speech and the right of assembly must be protected. Sometimes that means accepting some people will say and do some ugly things.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  5. Austin

    I think that a lot of people at the demonstrations use the forums as a way to express their disdain for having an African American President. Fortunately, these people are the minority. However, others on the right (Rush L.) use these people to fuel the racial division in this country. It's 2009 people. There is a black president, we will have a woman president, a hispanic president, etc, so I think the racists people will continue to be very unhappy as time progresses. America is a country for all people. Whites should not be left out of this equation, by the way. Race should be left out of the equation.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Earl

    Racist. No doubt.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  7. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    Racist or satirical? Or disrespect?

    September 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  8. Nancy NC

    Yes, it is sad to see that racism is part of the problem. The optimistic side of me hopes that it is only a very small fraction of the protesting crowd who use this tactic to denegrade OUR President because he is of African-American/White descent, and the vast majoirty just have opposite views and concerns. These type of people will always be racist! Ignore them, for now, and lets get on with the business of moving our country forward and helping the President to help us in our dire time of need.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  9. Lampe

    SgtMom: I totally agree with you. If this was a picture of GWB, dressed up as a monkey, there would be nothing said. And, yes this has been a Party of White Men (Republican), so why are you all not screaming to the top of your lungs about women not be included? What difference does it make if it is a Party, of White Men, or a Party of mixed races, if they all think they know what is GOOD for us, and try to cram in down our throats? Yes! there are Racist on both sides of this issue, but calling everyone that's against Obama a Raccist, is downright STUPID!

    September 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  10. pearl

    as a democrat I really enjoy seeing some people perform in this way, as long as they keep showing their true colors it confirms my belief. I get medicare but don't mess with that government program, what in the world is not a government? The rich republicians just sit back and laugh, let the lower and poor middle class whites handle this fight for them. When will these people wake up, it is divide and conconqure and money has only one color! Demcrats gave us every intitlements that benefit poor people and middle class you are the class at target, if they bring you down you'll be in our boat.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  11. Conserve' in USA

    No new taxes for those under $250,000. Working across the aisle on bipartism. Transparent administration. How much of these have come true? The government has blown it starting in Nov. 2007.

    They're still letting organizatios go unchecked. Look at ACORN! How long is the country going to let this go on? The government just keeps on spending and spending. How long is America going to let this go on?

    September 17, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  12. Alice, AR

    Absolutely racist!! The Republican Party and right wing movement is NOT fooling anyone. There absolutely is racism within this group. I voted for Mr. McCain and my family leans to the right. I hear all the racist jokes and get the racist emails.

    I don't agree with what is going on within the Republican Party. If this party was the party of the people, why is it mostly white males? You can't represent all the people without being more diverse. The Republican Party has the appearance of being a bunch of white guys that think they know what is best for everyone.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    Yes as much as it pains me to say so, it is racist. I'm afraid we are in for a very long term of "racist" taunts, protests, propaganda, etc. and since CNN covers these kind of news pretty faithfully it will be a big item on CNN for as long as it lasts – 4 years/8 years? I'm really tired of it all – he won and we have a chance to focus not on his race or background but on how we can work with him to get the type of country going forward that helps us the most when it is needed. We are going to miss that last chance though as we try to analyze what is racist and what is not.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  14. mike tn

    little of both!!!!! ha ha

    September 17, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  15. SgtMom

    How often was Bush portrayed as 'the chimp' , but everyone went nuts when Obama was portrayed as one?

    I could easily see this same picture with Bush's face in the same situation – no one would say a word about racism.

    It's equal opportunity insulting going on – and 'racism' to use the word 'racism' to further his agenda.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Kim

    Off the top and absurd !

    September 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  17. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Absolutely ridiculous. What is the point being made? What purpose does this serve to legitimately protest whatever these people are protesting? A witch doctor. Methinks the far, far right has gone off the deep edge never to return. And really, people, whether you like the president or his policies, he has two young daughters who at some point are going to be exposed to your nonsense about their dad. They deserve better than your ignorance and hatred.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  18. Patty

    Is it even necessary to ask this question. Of course it's racist. It's ugly, disturbing and unfortunately we are going to see more of it in the days to come.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:06 pm |