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Jelani on Obama and cartoons:

I don't think that we can or should rally the troops around Obama every time a cartoonist goes off his meds and his editor trips over the boundary between edge and outrage. The reality is that all Presidents are subject to unfair criticism -- though Obama is the first for whom that criticism has taken on a racial hue. Carter and Clinton were both ridiculed as backwater hicks (how often did we see references to Clinton's libido paired with images of his down-home roots?)

Reagan's advancing years brought with them a harvest of Alzheimer's jokes: Did you hear that Ronnie announced he has Alzheimer's... Again? Lincoln was ridiculed in Northern newspapers and depicted as (irony of ironies) part Negro and Andrew Jackson's wife was assailed as a bigamist in the newspapers of the day...

...All of us, but especially we black folk, are going to have to develop thicker skin and a shrewder sense of when we go Al Sharpton on some fool and when we offer the empty-heads only the tinny echo of their own isolated voices.

As a commenter said in an earlier thread, we need to stop stepping over dollars to pick up nickels.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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