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Posts Tagged ‘White House’

Sticks and stones may break my bones...(Pic: AP)

Senator Jake Knotts seems to enjoy labeling people in a most distasteful way.

The  South Carolina state senator called a Republican gubernatorial candidate of Indian descent a “raghead”, on a political talk show. Then he went on to refer to Obama:

“We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.”

He later apologized, saying that his slurs were meant as a joke. Well, not many people are buying his explanation. Seanna Adcox of AP (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37518532/ns/us_news/) writes:

“Joke or not, his comments echoed some of the racially tinged attacks on Obama by far-right ideologues who question his U.S. citizenship or his Christianity, by noting his father was Kenyan and he lived as a boy in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.

“”Raghead” is a derogatory term used for people of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, or for Muslims, deriving from stereotypes about turbans and other national headwear.”

Knotts...lambasted for his remarks. (Pic:AP)

Sometimes, the mind boggles at the way some public officials conduct themselves. A holder of public office is expected to act with a certain decorum, and intelligence in public life.

Knotts’ defenders said that the senator is known for speaking his mind. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to speak your mind, or criticize, on policies and actions. But for a public official to call others, especially the President, by a racial slur is a new low.

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Michelle Obama...loves the brooch (Pic: Sipa)

The first year of the Obama presidency might bring mixed reviews for Obama’s performance as a President. One thing though has remained fairly constant: Michelle Obama has remained a popular First Lady.

She seems to be a genuine, warm person. Her style has been closely watched, and undoubtedly, she has brought back the brooch as a desirable fashion accessory.

There is an endearing, old world kind of charm about brooches, and it is even more fascinating that it has been given a new lease of life by a barrier-breaking woman like Michelle.

So, here are a few illustrations of how the brooch has given an extra dash  to the First Lady’s outfits.

Pic: Huffington Post

Pic: AFP/Getty Images

Pic: AP

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white-house1Los Alamitos, California, is a small city not too far away from where I live. It’s the usual quiet, peaceful suburban city. But in the last few days, it has found itself in the national news, and not for good reasons.

The mayor of the city, Dean Grose, sent out an email from his personal account that showed a picture of the White House with a watermelon garden imposed as the White House lawn. The picture comes with the heading: “No Easter Egg hunt this year.”

City volunteer and local businesswoman, Keyanus Price, who is African-American, received the email, and was appalled and offended by it. It has since been talked about in the papers, CNN and other news outlets. Grose has sent out an apology, saying that he did not intend to be offensive.

There are many people who understand the connotations of watermelon with blacks in American history, and maybe there are some who don’t. The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia of Ferris State University, whose mission is to promote racial tolerance by helping people understand the historical and contemporary expressions of intolerance, gives an excellent explanation of this symbolism:

“The Jim Crow Museum itself has hundreds of images of African Americans — usually with very dark skin, blood red grinning lips and raggedy clothes — eating watermelons. These images on postcards, sheet music, ashtrays, and souvenirs are visual expressions of the stereotype of Blacks as ignorant, mindless buffoons…

“It became part of the image perpetuated by a white culture bent upon bolstering the myth of superiority by depicting the inferior race as lazy, simple-minded pickaninnies interested only in such mindless pleasures as a slice of sweet watermelon.”

Here’s the link for the full article: http://www.ferris.edu/JIMCROW/question/may08/

It was reported in the Los Angeles Times that Grose said:  “he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

He said he and Price are friends and serve together on a community youth board.

“Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn’t see this in the same light that she did,” Grose said. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t sent to offend her personally — or anyone — from the standpoint of the African American race.”

I find his explanation rather hard to believe. If he is unaware of the racial connotation of watermelon and blacks, then why did the “joke” depicted only watermelons in the White House lawn. Why not strawberries, squash or a mixed fruit garden? C’mon mayor, people are smarter than that.

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malia

(Photo from Huffington Post)

I’m not exactly a Bush fan , but I have to say that the Bush family have been gracious in helping The Obamas in their transition to their life in the White House.

The Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna, wrote a letter to Malia and Sasha Obama, advising them how to handle their new life in the White House. The letter was published in the Wall Street Journal.

They advise Malia and Sasha to :“Surround yourself with loyal friends… Cherish your animals because sometimes you’ll need the quiet comfort that only animals can provide… enjoy your childhood in such a magical place to live and play.”

The Bush girls wrote about their Dad: We still see him now as we did when we were seven: as our loving daddy. ..So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is.”

One can sense their deep love for their father. Many of us go through the childhood phrases of first thinking that your parents are perfect, and then dealing with the complex emotions when you find out that they have faults, that they are human after all. Imagine how much harder it must have been when your father is scrutinized and criticized in the public view.

The “Today” show requested the Bush girls to read the letter to the viewers, accompanied by images of their life in the White House. I think the result is a moving piece. The video is shared below.

It is said that Malia and Sasha are just as popular as their parents. Thus, the important issue is how will we balance our fascination with them, while giving them space and privacy to grow up as normally as possible. Good luck, sugar and spice, and everything nice…to the Obama girls.

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