The Sly Use of America’s Racial Bogeyman Stereotype

You may remember a TV commercial that the Republican National Party ran in Tennessee two Corkeryears ago, supporting Republican Bob Corker (photo below, right), who is white, in his senate race against Democrat Harold Ford Jr. (photo below, left), a black Memphis congressman. In thForde ad, a blond white woman (photo below, right) said, “I met Harold at the Playboy party.” She looked into the camera, held her hand like a telephone and said, “Harold, call me.” And then, she winked suggestively.


To their undying shame, some white voters were influenced by this nasty invocation of an ancient American myth – the notion that black males are lurking in the bushes ready to pounce on white females. Partly as a result, FordWhite woman lost the close election. Now, John McCain (yes, the “war hero”) has raised the specter of the same old bogeyman.

A recent McCain commercial shows Barack Obama, morphing into the images of two blond sex symbols – Britney Spears (photo below, left) and Paris Hilton (photo below, right).


To deny that this is a deliberately racist ploy is to be either naive or dishonest. Anyone familiar with the history of racism in America would see the ad for what it is: an attempt to inspire fear and hatred of an ancient stereotype – the dangerously virile black American male.Paris

With his white hair and almost transparent skin, McCain is the antithesis of that image.

Sadly, some voters might find McCain reassuring as they shrink from the prospect of a tall, young black man becoming leader of the free world.