Assassinating the Quadroon Messiah

The “Calaca Obama” cartoon seen below is frightening on several levels.  First, “calaca” is a colloquial term for “skeleton” in Spanish.  Calacas — human skulls representing joyous dead figures in “Day of the Dead” celebrations — are supposed to suggest that even the dead deserve a celebration of their lives. Next, we need to understand in Guatamala, “calaca” means death and there is no mistaking graves for happiness in that cultural context.  Finally, for those who have no idea what a “calaca” is — we all recognize a skull is not a living soul and so we must wonder what insidious semiotic is being spent on us in the name of Barack Obama.  Halloween is tomorrow in the USA, but do we really want to be making disconnected, editorial cartoon, attributions of death against Barack Obama any time during the year?


Hanging political figures in effigy is a protected right of free speech, but when you hang a Black man in effigy, the history of the event, and the hatred of action is too embedded in our nasty national conscience to go unnoticed and unattributed.  Obama was recently hanged in effigy on two American university campuses:  George Fox University in Oregon a month ago, and at the University of Kentucky last night.

I heard a caller on the radio the other day call Obama a “Quadroon” — a “one-quarter Black” child of Mulatto and White parents — when we know his mother was a White woman from Kansas and his father was a Black man from Kenya. 

What’s the point of calling Obama a “Quardroon” instead of “Mulatto” or just “Black?”  Is it an attempt to try to further label him as foreign and different and “all mixed up” so we can’t trust where his true loyalties are hidden?

The power of Barack Obama is that he is every one of us. 

Barack has the magnitude and grace and intelligence that many of us are lacking in our daily lives — and for some people that innate elegance is dangerous because it is appealing and unconditionally loving.

Because of death threats against him, Obama asked for Secret Service protection earlier in his presidential campaign than any other contender for the office in the history of America — and his request was granted, because the Secret Service knows Obama’s kindness is a threat to the angry-ugly and the furiously malformed.

Killing Obama has been fodder for artists and bloggers and even legitimate newspapers — and I wonder now if that sort of willy-nilly wondering about assassinating Barack Obama leads the unstable among us to act out their darkest wishes — or does confronting the dark side bring light to disinfect infected thoughts?

In Denver, at his outdoor convention rally, two men were arrested for plotting to kill Obama with a sniper rifle.

During Obama’s debate with John McCain at the University of Mississippi, the KKK declared they would be attending the debate — but not in costume — so people would have to guess their true identities in the audience.  

This week, two Skinheads were arrested for plotting to assassinate Obama and chop off the heads of 14 Black children — all while wearing white top hats and matching white tuxedos.



Should we be discussing the possible assassination of Barack Obama?

Or is that topic so verboten, and in such bad taste, that it should never sustain appropriate inquiry and analysis into the evil in us all?

18 comments

  • While we must take every threat to Senator (and hopefully future President) Obama seriously, we at the same time cannot spend every moment of every day wringing our hands in fear. There’s only so much we can do to prevent it, and to some extent we should leave most of it to the professionals, so to speak.
    It certainly merits discussion. More discussion time might be dedicated, perhaps, to voting machines automatically flipping votes from one side to the other – mysteriously, always from democrat to republican and never the other way around.

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  • Firstly thank you for the lessons in culture and history – that cartoon carries a horrible message.
    I love the photo montage of Barack – and what you have to say about his appeal. It reminds me of the closing lines from V for Vendetta …..
    Finch: Who was he?
    Evey Hammond: He was Edmond Dantés… and he was my father. And my mother… my brother… my friend. He was you… and me. He was all of us.
    I think we should be discussing this – I think the threat of assassination is very real – the seeds have already been planted since Obama first set his feet on this path. Pushing it aside, ignoring it and putting our heads in the sand will do nothing to prevent it happening.

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  • I think it does deserve some expression, Gordon, because those who seek to do harm need to be unknown and to live in the dark. Confronting them and their evil deeds can serve as a warning for the rest of us about what is and is not acceptable in a society of comity.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    Hi David,
    I wonder, why “killing” is the only option when people don’t like a leader?
    Why there is something called “vote” and all? Everyone has an opportunity to follow the civilized way of expressing their opinion – why abuse it?

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  • Hi Nicola!
    When I saw that editorial cartoon in my Inbox this morning — it just sent a shudder through me. Why cartoon something like that unless you’re sending an insidious message about how you want Obama viewed?
    I love the ending of “V for Vendetta!” Wonderful! Conservatives have lived hard and ripe for 8 years by demonizing and degrading the “others” — anyone that dares to disagree with their hard line — and most of America is done with that governing-by-hatred and we’re ready to move on to something nicer and smarter. That’s Obama’s appeal. He’s fresh. He’s ready. He wants to fight for us.
    I agree the seeds of his assassination are out there and growing and if he is elected — I fear the plots against him with grow even deeper underground. I would not want to be a Secret Service guy on Obama detail because behind every bush and nugget you must be wholly aware of the threat to him.
    History is made by those who are willing to say, “I’ll go first. Even if it kills me.” We’ve seen Martin Luther King, Jr. say that and Abraham Lincoln before him and the Kennedys after all. We need a first Black President — and Barack volunteered to go first even though it places him and his family in jeopardy — and for that alone, we must thank him and admire him to our forever ends.

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  • That’s a good question, Katha. I guess the killing comes when you were outvoted by the majority and you want to change the decision and you’re too impatient to wait for the democratic process to play out. So you pick up a gun and “solve” the problem yourself.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    Yes David,it shows sheer desperation. Wish people understand a problem can’t be solved by killing one leader because someone else will stand up – that’s what the history says.
    I wish Obama luck!

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  • We hope that someone will stand up, Katha, but I’m not sure we ever really recovered as a nation from the killings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. No one was left to stand in their stead. The hope was killed only to be filled with desperation and longing. Political assassins know taking out the hope of the dream of a people by removing the instigator from the earth forever meets every ugly end they have and that’s why what they do has such an awful, evil, resonance throughout history.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    You are right David, haven’t thought about from that particular angle – probably because of over optimism.
    http://www.crema-research.ch/papers/2007-08.pdf
    India has witnessed many and still couldn’t recover from the loss – I agree with you.

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  • I think it’s alright for the discussions to take place, David. In openly confronting – in so many ways – what has happened tragically so many times in ancient world as well as recent American history it may just prevent it from happening. I’d be a little concerned about the discussions if something like that had never happened before.

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  • Wowser, Katha! Now that’s a killer link! What a great research topic. It certainly sheds light on today’s issue and I thank you for sharing it!

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  • Excellent insight, Dananjay. You’re right that we’re discussing something that others aren’t already thinking. I’m always in favor of discussion over ignoring when it comes to vital political matters, but there are always those that will argue we’re giving the assassins ideas when we already know they can invent death just fine without us.

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  • “History is made by those who are willing to say, “I’ll go first. Even if it kills me.” We’ve seen Martin Luther King, Jr. say that and Abraham Lincoln before him and the Kennedys after all. We need a first Black President — and Barack volunteered to go first even though it places him and his family in jeopardy — and for that alone, we must thank him and admire him to our forever ends.”
    The Martin Luther King comparison is the most chilling – there is definitely a touch of his charisma about Barack Obama and I similar amount of hope that he brings.
    Another article you wrote came to mind as well – today – the one about how many drops of black blood – Trumping the Droplet.
    Needless to say I am rooting for Obama – and I will be racking the results as they come in.

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  • I agree there are men like MLK and JFK and BHO that come along one in two generations. We need to cherish them while they are alive and hope they will have a long life of service ahead of them.
    The truly rotten seem to live a long time while the angelic ones, those touched beyond mere morality, are never with us for very long. I wonder why?
    Here’s the “Trumping the Droplet” article:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/03/29/trumping-the-droplet/
    Janna still thinks the election will be stolen from Obama — and after Gore 2000 and Kerry 2004 — who can blame her for thinking that way? That sort of inchoate, Supreme Court supported, thievery against the American people only rots out democracy from the inside as empires crumble to dust.
    Obama has warned us all against high expectations. Every day he says established power will not willingly give up that power and that is why we are all required to vote to puncture any sort of foolishness that might be lurking out there to upset a close election. Only an overwhelming tide will defeat the incumbent power.

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  • Whereas I suspect Janna is right – I sincerely hope she is wrong – not only does your country need Obama – the world does.

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  • I agree, Nicola! The world will be better with Obama leading the USA.

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