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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Is this image racist?

11

February

newyork-obama-evolution.jpg(UPDATE: New York magazine has removed the above illustration from its website, saying "This post originally used a variation on an iconic illustration of the evolution of man, known as the ‘March of Progress’ which concluded with an image of President Obama holding a rainbow flag.

The illustration was intended simply as a symbolic representation of the President's self-described “evolution” on gay rights, but has been criticized for its similarity to various racist depictions of the President and
African-Americans in general. While that was not the context of the image, we recognize that images of this nature do carry troubling associations,
and so it's been removed from the post. We apologize for the offense it has caused.)

 In a short blog post decrying President Obama's silence in supporting gay marriage rights, New York magazine used the above illustration to dramatize the chief executive's evolution on the subject.

But did they indulge in a bit of racism as well?

Some commenters on the blog post think so, noting that placing black people's images next to apes echoes a classic stereotype.

Personally, I think it's a jarring image that's in poor taste, but not necessarily racist. The evolution chart is a long-established illustration, and the point of the image doesn't seem to be about insulting his race, but poking at his dicey track record on gay rights.

What do you think?

[Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2012 6:14pm]

    

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