Sunday, September 14, 2008

Racist waffles?

There has been a flap this week over the debut of "Obama Waffles":
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.
Last week, I was in a radio studio for an interview and while I was waiting, noticed an "Obama Waffles" promotional kit on a desk. My first thought: Ouch.

It seemed obvious to me that the guys who thought this up were thinking of the John Kerry "waffles" jokes from 2004 and had decided to use that as a theme, without considering that black activists view Aunt Jemima as a derogatory stereotype. The Associated Press reports:
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 [Value Voters] summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. . . .
Wearing white chef's aprons, Whitlock and DeMoss were doing a brisk business at noon Saturday selling the waffle mix to people crowded around their booth. Two pyramids of waffle mix boxes stood several feet high on the booth's table.
"It's the ultimate political souvenir," DeMoss told a customer.
Asked if he considered the pictures of Obama on the box to be racial stereotypes, Whitlock said: "We had some people mention that to us, but you think of Newman's Own or Emeril's -- there are tons and tons of personality-branded food products on the market. So we've taken that model and, using political satire, have highlighted his policies, his position changes."
Now, let's look at the accusations of "racist stereotype," shall we?
While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama's politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.
Wait, a minute! Is the cartoon of Obama on the box cover a fair caricature or not? Is it possible to caricature a black man without being accused of "racial stereotype"? (Note to editorial cartoonists: If Obama is elected, you'll have to endure four years of this crap.)

I'm sure that if Hillary had won the Democratic nomination, Whitlock and DeMoss would have marketed "Hillary Waffles" -- and then would have been accused of promoting sexist stereotypes, no doubt.

Think Progress has a video in which they interview Whitlock and DeMoss:

[Embedded video deleted due to technical problems.]

It's pretty obvious that these guys aren't tuned into a politically correct wavelength. Insensitive to the point of cluelessness? Yes. Racist? I don't think so.


  1. You just need to be an equal opportunity offender.
    Some Joe Biden spaghetti, where the box contains exactly one, seemingly endless noodle,
    some Sarah Palin be-lipsticked moose jerky, for when you need to get tough,
    and some John McCain Southeast-Asian meat tenderizer, for when you think good taste is for wimps.

  2. It's only partly the Kerry thing, but also a reference to an occasion a month or so back when somebody tried to ask O! a question at a diner or someplace, and the candidate's reply was a brusque, "May I just eat my waffle?" Or something like that.

  3. I would prefer to have playing this as optional, not playing automatically when I logon.

  4. Obama's "Lipstick" is in the same area of cluelessness: about 97 on a 100-point scale.

  5. They should've used the photo of him from the "let me eat my waffle" incident.

    Cartoons get into dangerous territory.

  6. "Insensitive to the point of cluelessness? Yes. Racist? I don't think so."

    Where do you draw the line between the two? Is it too much to ask that we examine the motivations for our seemingly innocuous "cluelessness" you speak of. And since when did it become fashion to defend the "cluelessness" of these two clear dunderheads.

    Sorry... was "dunderheads" insensitive, or was I really being racist against two waspy morons pedaling some second-rate waffles?

    "Morons." That word seems more sensitive, and perhaps more accurate.