The Obama Game: Step Right Up and Take Your President Down

A New Jersey boardwalk game that's played by knocking down an effigy of President Obama is causing quite the stir today.

The game, which was in Seaside Heights, an area made famous last year by MTV's Jersey Shore, featured a mannequin of Barack Obama with exaggerated features and significantly darkened skin. It has been taken down following the controversy.

The game allowed players to also take aim at other "villains" like Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

Normally, something like this wouldn't bother me, since I generally feel that free speech (even speech I disagree with) matters, but I feel the discourse about Obama is certainly more disrespectful -- and more racist --  than anything I have seen before. But even more, it's violent and frightening and seems far more sinister than anything I ever heard about politicians before him.

Some examples:



  1. The Facebook page "praying" for Obama's death. "Dear Lord, This Year You Took My Favorite Actor, Patrick Swayzie [sic]. You Took My Favorite Actress, Farah [sic] Fawcett. You Took My Favorite Singer, Michael Jackson. I Just Wanted To Let You Know, My Favorite President is Barack Obama. Amen." Ugh.
  2. 30 Death Threats a Day. According to The Huffington Post: "Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before."
  3. African Witch Doctor controversy. Tea Party activists distributed an image of Obama criticizing his health care reform with him dressed as an African Witch Doctor.
  4. Controversial cover of The New Yorker. The New Yorker published a cover with an image of a turbaned Obama wearing Islamic dress in the Oval Office next to his wife, who was sporting an afro and carrying ammo. It was satire, true. But a whole lotta people did not get the joke and thought it was real. You might say they are not looking at The New Yorker anyway, but I am not so sure.
  5. Michelle Obama compared to gorilla. Rusty DePass, a former chairman of the South Carolina Election Commission, posted a picture of a gorilla that escaped from the zoo with the caption: "I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors -- probably harmless."

Nice guy, that one.

It is fine to criticize the President, but these racist effigies (like the one in Seaside Heights with its exaggerated features) are not critical of his policies. They are racist. They are stupid. And we, as a country, are better than that.

What do you think of this game?


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