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Race and Bad Taste:
Magazine Draws Ire; Proves Hostile, Racist Stereotypes Alive and Well
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A few bridges constructed to help ease racial tensions in America burned with the latest out of touch, out of tune and very tasteless caricatures of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barak Obama and his wife Michelle.
"This is offensive and demeaning depiction of Barak Obama and his wife," said Dallas pastor and activist Rev. Charles Stovall. "This is in bad taste and sends all the wrong messages. All Americans ought to be offended by this."
The cartoon in the New Yorker magazine was drawn by Barry Blitt and shows Obama and his wife Michelle standing in the White House's Oval Office with an American flag burning in the fireplace under a portrait of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Obama, who seeks to become the first African-American president in U.S. history, is depicted as a Muslim, wearing a robe and turban while his wife is in military fatigues looking like a young Angela Davis carrying a military rifle and ammo strapped to her back.
The couple is also shown giving each other a fist bump, in support of fundamentalist radicalism.
It should be noted that Obama is a Christian and the fist bump is nothing more than a common greeting between the couple.
The New Yorker defended the drawings on the cover as satire and a way to deal with the politics of fear, but the idea has backfired and appears to offend African-Americans and strike more concerns over the hidden messages of racism and hatred that is traveling like a violent undercurrent in the United States.
"This shows the deep racial and cultural biases that still exist in America," Stovall said. "It's not fair to his campaign, but is the worst way to present our image as wee deal with a world and a country that is becoming more diverse morally, culturally, religiously and ethically."
Thomas Muhammad, who is Muslim and board member of the Voting Rights Museum, said the depiction is disrespectful and another way some in the traditional media takes constant slaps and potshots at Islam.
"I take offense to it," he said. "It is using the Obama's to affront Muslims."
Muhammad said the New Yorkers insensitivity is worse than Don Imus comments about the Rutgers University Womens Basketball team. Those comments about the Black women players got Imus suspended from radio for a period of months.
Others raised questions about how other ethnic groups would respond to having one of their own respected leaders lampooned.
"How would Israelis react, if someone took their prime minister and painted a Hitler mustache on him," said Black activist Freddy X. "This defamation is an outrage and must not be tolerated by Blacks or anyone else."
Others want the magazine removed from shelves, but hope New Yorker executives will take action before outrage and protests against the magazine escalate.
"America still has a long way to go on race relations," said Jose Coleman."It is time to be honest and face the facts that it is not over."
CME Leaders Take Action in Carter Case
Another religious scandal has taken on a new twist with a church board’s decision to temporarily remove a Fort Worth pastor from his post.
Bishop Kenneth Wayne Carter has been told he cannot preach until questions about a case against him settled.
The pastor was suspended by the Christian Methodist Episcopal College of Bishops after charges surfaced out of a Tarrant County grand jury last month over an alleged sexual assault involving a Dallas man.
The accuser contends that Carter that he was allegedly assaulted after he went to meet with Carter at his home in Arlington to discuss an employment opportunity.
Carter has said he had a consensual sexual encounter with the man, who he said was the aggressor, according to court records.
According to the church website, The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, or the CME Church as it is commonly called, came into existence as a result of the movement from slavery to freedom.
Forty-one men who exemplified leadership qualities gathered together in Jackson, Tennessee on December 16, 1870.
With the advice and assistance of the white brethren of the M.E. Church South, the Black religious leaders organized the colored branch of Methodism.
During the years following the birth of Methodism, the denomination grew rapidly.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South was an outgrowth of Wesley's Methodism.
Some Blacks, converted to Christianity by slave masters, accepted the Methodist doctrine as it was.
However, with the passage of time, the emancipation of Blacks from slavery created the desire by Blacks to have and control their own church.
This desire led formerly enslaved persons who had been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, to start their own independent religious organization.
The College of Bishops, which shepherds the 800,000-member church, made the decision to suspend Carter with pay during a special meeting last week.
Under the suspension, he is barred from performing official pastoral duties with the church.
According to his biography on the CME website, Carter is bright, well educated and respected for his tenacious pursuit of learning that began in the public schools of Corinth, Mississippi.
He earned the B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi; Master of Music Education from Delta State University; Master of Divinity from Howard University; and the Doctor of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
In 1973, Carter was licensed to preach at the City Road Temple C.M.E. Church in Corinth, Mississippi; ordained Deacon in 1976; and ordained Elder in 1978.
He was admitted into Full connection in 1979. Dr. Carter's first appointment as pastor was Jones Chapel C.M.E. Church in Luka, Mississippi.
During his itinerant ministry, he served congregations in Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, DC and Texas. He also served as presiding elder in the Greenwood-Jackson and Columbus-Meridian Districts in Mississippi.
Before being elected bishop in 2006, Carter served 10 years as pastor at the Carter Metropolitan CME Church in Fort Worth.
He is married to Rosia Hunter Carter, and they share two daughters--Jill Lynette and Stacy Marie.
Before the suspension, Dr. Carter had presided over a district that included Haiti, Ghana, Jamaica, Liberia and Nigeria.
Carter was released on $10,000 bail last week.