Dark Money Group Darkens Obama’s Skin Color in Ad

Vets For a Strong America has gotten a lot of attention for its recent video attacking President Obama for taking too much credit for the Osama bin Laden killing. Here at Mother Jones‘ southern regional headquarters, though, the most exciting part of the video was the fact that they used a headline from one of my posts a few days ago. Booyah! However, even after waiting for a week, I haven’t seen anybody point out the truly most egregious part of the video: darkening the image in an obvious attempt to exploit racial stereotypes that associate dark skin tones with criminal thuggishness. Remember the hue and cry when Time magazine did that to O.J. Simpson in 1994? Remember the hue and cry when Hillary Clinton’s campaign supposedly did that to Obama during the 2008 primary, even though it actually hadn’t? But this time nobody cares. I guess times have changed.

UPDATE: I am — obviously, I think — not personally suggesting that dark skin tones make you a thug. But this is a very well-worn racial stereotype, and photo manipulation like this has an ugly history. I really don’t think there’s a benign explanation for crude Photoshopping like this. I’ve modified the text to make this clear.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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