President Obama Illustrated as an Ape

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Jamilah Lemieux, the news and lifestyle editor for, addresses New York magazine's abhorrent depiction of President Barack Obama as a knuckle-dragging primate. She says not only is it racially insensitive, but it is also emblematic of white privilege.

… Dan Amira, an associate editor for New York Magazine, published "Obama Gay Marriage Evolution: Day 468". The title is not misleading: it's a quick aggregated piece about the president's developing stance on marriage equality, which has changed a bit since he entered office 468 days ago. Amira, like many of us, is ready for Barry O to slap a rainbow flag across the White House doors, give a middle finger to conservative opponents and finally make marriage (or at least civil partnership) an option for all Americans. Maybe in his second term. 


Yet it isn't Amira's thoughts on Obama's politics that are drawing ire. It's the image used to accompany the story (pictured above): a riff on the classic Darwin's evolution of man chart that depicts President Obama as a knuckle-dragging primate that becomes a bipedal man carrying a rainbow flag. Get it? Evolution used to illustrate … evolution. They so clever at the New York Magazine! If this were 8th grade, someone would receive a gold star in the column marked "creativity." But the lack of a "racial sensitivity" grading scale would likely prevent Amira and his illustrator from receiving the critique they deserve. Perhaps it's that lack of learning early on that is the problem. 

Read Jamilah Lemieux's entire blog entry at

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