This is funny!
A comparison between dire wingnut warnings about their children being snatched away in the night by the forces of truth and light…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Sesame Street and President Barack Obama have two things in common when it comes to managing public discourse. In the 1960s, the popular television show was accused of promoting socialism because it taught children how to share. Now, the president is being called a communist for encouraging students to stay in school.
These are just two examples of how seemingly innocuous rhetoric can metamorphose into a controversy of national proportions. While commentators railed the debate as “silly,” some experts say the issue is an articulation of racial fears.
African-American political expert Ronald Walters says race and politics are the two issues behind the contention.
“I’ve never seen something like this when a president wanted to speak to children and there was any kind of noticeable opposition,” Walters says. “With an African-American president there are going to be some firsts.”
The back-to-school address had school districts around the country asking — for the first time for many—whether to allow students to hear their country’s leader speak. In some states, like Texas, schools opted out completely from airing the speech or interrupting the school day for the live webcast.
“You wouldn’t have this if [former President Bill] Clinton wanted to talk to school children even though at that time we were an ideologically divided country,” Walters says.
Historically, former presidents like Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — all of whom made similar speeches—are viewed as father-like figures and putting Obama in that role makes some Americans nervous. That’s because, Walters says, Obama is perceived as an outsider to the mainstream white culture.
University of Maryland professor Sheri Parks says whereas Reagan was like a grandfather to the nation; Obama represents a younger, cooler father figure that collides with stereotypical “bogeyman” archetypes of the young black male.