Served up with a big heaping helping of “we didn’t know it was offensive”:
WASHINGTON – Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.
Values Voter Summit organizers cut off sales of Obama Waffles boxes on Saturday, saying they had not realized the boxes displayed “offensive material.” The summit and the exhibit hall where the boxes were sold had been open since Thursday afternoon.
The box was meant as political satire, said Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, two writers from Franklin, Tenn., who created the mix. They sold it for $10 a box from a rented booth at the summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council.
ETA – One wonders about this particular imaging of Obama… as others have said, it echoes the tradition of using African American stereotypes in advertising campaigns. This particular image on the imaginary product – waffles – is of course intended to bring to mind the image of Aunt Jemima, America’s favorite mammy cooking up a comforting meal to care for her white charges. How is it that this particular image conveys the idea of waffling? Well, it does not.
This is not mere satire schtick intended to bring to mind actual analysis of issues – as issues related to the campaign and the office of the presidency are not mentioned at all. The picture of the front – Mammy. The picture on the top flap – Obama, the likely Muslim. The two images package a message – not only is he not “man” enough to be president, but he is not ‘Christian’ enough (as though that is a valid qualification) and of course the intimation is that he is not ‘American’ enough, either.
There is no argument to be made for satire here. The Family Research Council apparently agrees, having issued a press release tonight refuting the ‘product.’
We strongly condemn the tone and content of materials that were exhibited by one of the vendors at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit. The materials represent an attempt at parody that crosses the line into coarseness and bias.
The exhibitor contacted our reviewer just days before the Summit by email and described material that sounded like it was devoted to political flip-flops on policy issues. When the content of the materials was brought to the attention of FRC Action senior officials today, they were removed and the exhibit was dismantled by the vendor at our insistence. It is our responsibility to fully vet materials that are offered at any event we cosponsor, but we are deeply dismayed that this vendor violated the spirit, message and tone of our event in such an offensive manner.