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It seems as if many Republicans are confused about how best to properly slander Barack Obama without being racist. They'd like to let the world know they despise the president, but then they're shocked when people take issue with them calling Obama a monkey. Believe it or not, it's possible to insult the president without coming off as a horrible bigot. Here's a handy guide.
Obama in bling
Presenting Obama as if he were possessed of qualities similar to rappers—an affinity for jewelry, a boastful nature—says that you believe all black men act alike, and that the President of the United States is basically 50 Cent by virtue of them both being African American. That's horribly racist.
Racism level: 9
Obama as pimp
Though the metaphor here lends itself well to the more extreme criticisms of Obama—he's "pimping" America's wealthy on a greedy quest for money—the stereotype of black men pimping white women makes this one obviously racist.
Racism level: 8
Obama as a socialist
The good news: Calling Obama a socialist is not inherently racist. The bad news: It is racist to believe that Obama is enacting a socialist wealth-redistribution agenda in order to sate African-American "welfare queens." This one could go either way.
Racism level: 5
Obama as the Joker
Not racist, just a strange comparison.
Racism level: 1
Obama as Sarah Palin's shoeshine boy
Really, really, very racist.
Racism level: 10
Anything in which Obama speaks "jive"
As with the rapper comparison, suggesting that the president speaks slang like Mr. T fails to acknowledge the breadth and depth of the African-American experience. As such, it's racist. Also, you probably need to update your pop-culture references.
Racism level: 6
Obama as a Nazi
Amazingly, this one's not racist. It is wildly insensitive to Jews and the millions of others who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, but it's not racist.
Racism level: 2
Obama likes terrorists
This one is tricky because it all comes down to how you argue it. If you allege that, by dint of his liberal beliefs, Obama is soft on terror, you may not be a racist. But if you believe the president is in cahoots with terrorists because he's spent time abroad, respects Islam, and has the middle name "Hussein," you're very probably a racist.
Racism level: 7
Obama as witch doctor
While we're sure it pained many non-racist conservatives to have to disassociate themselves from witch doctor imagery during the national debate over health-care reform, it was a good choice on their part. Racist conservatives, on the other hand, bandied about this image with relish, wholly neglecting the fact that for centuries black Americans have been portrayed as tribalistic and primitve.
Racism level: 10
Obama with fried chicken or watermelon
One would think this would be obvious, but Diane Fedele, a Republican leader in California, sent out this very "Obama Buck" in 2008, explaining that the watermelon, chicken, and ribs surrounding Obama were "just food to me. It didn't mean anything else." Take notice, Diane: It's not just food, and it means a lot.
Things like this are especially troublesome because they don't seek to address Obama's policies whatsoever. At least calling Obama a socialist is an attack—however poor—on his perceived politics. This is just racists laughing at trite racist jokes.
Racism level: 10
Obama as Robin Hood
If you'd like to slur Obama in the most racially benign way possible, this is probably the route to take. "Socialism" as a scary red flag is nowhere to be found, and many would argue that Robin Hood was a heroic figure. All in all, a good, racially neutral attack image.
Racism level: 0