I’m sure you have all seen the now (in)famous cover of the most recent New Yorker depicting Barack and Michelle Obama. No matter how you feel about the cover and its intent (and unintended consequences) – you should read the letter below.
From the New Yorker online:
Regardless of the artist’s intent to produce satirical commentary, it is possible that the imagery may reinforce the fears and prejudices that it was meant to critique. But we should look past the noise about whether or not the cover is offensive, a red-herring issue with fairly predictable responses on all sides, to the deeper questions: Why is the label “Muslim” such a powerful and popular weapon against Obama? And what should the Obama camp be doing, instead of denouncing a magazine cover? What needs to be challenged at full volume is the association between a man in Muslim clothing and terrorism, and the underlying assumptions that being Muslim is the same as being un-American, that being Muslim is the same as being violent, that being Muslim is the same as being Osama bin Laden. Let us also remember that, while the issue of the cartoon’s possible offensiveness is worth considering, it pales in comparison with the issues of foreign policy, hate crimes, racial profiling, civil liberties, warrantless surveillance, the economy, gas prices, health care, the environment, and religious intolerance that we all must weigh carefully in the coming months.
National Executive Director
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee