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I’ve seen this come up more than once – whites talking about voting for Obama in response to questions about racism. It’s a common enough behavior so that Jordan Peele made fun of it in his brilliant horror movie Get Out.
I’ve also seen a variant of this leveraged to say that Trump’s election has nothing to do with racism. Some Trump voters previously voted for Obama, therefore it is ridiculous to suggest that voting for Trump could be related to racism, the argument goes.
Regarding this cartoon, I always like this structure for a gag cartoon. In my mind, I call it “the mystery explained,” in which a bewildering or impossible-seeming situation developed in the first few panels is clarified in the final panel.
Incidentally, as far as I can recall, this is only the second time I’ve drawn Obama in a cartoon. I’m pretty happy with how he came out. It’s largely because Obama’s in the strip that I didn’t do my usual very limited color palette – I used skin tones I picked up from a photo of Obama, to help make him more recognizable, and between that and the fireworks it just felt like doing a more typical coloring job made sense for this cartoon.
That I so rarely draw major political figures, preferring to focus on social justice issues rather than the daily headlines, is one reason my editorial cartoons aren’t very commercial. So thanks, as always, to everyone supporting the Patreon. :-)
Transcript of Cartoon
The cartoon has four panels.1
The image shows a white woman, looking very pleased, stepping out of a voting booth.
WOMAN: It is done! I, a white person, have voted for Barack Obama!
The woman is surprised by Barack Obama being there. Obama is dressed in his standard dark suit, and looks cheerful.
WOMAN: Gasp! Barack Obama!
OBAMA: Hi, Judy! Thanks for your vote!
A close up on Obama holding up a piece of paper which says “certificate” in large letters at the top. Behind Obama, the voting station has disappeared, and fireworks fill the air.
OBAMA: As the duly-elected spokesman of all Black people, let me present this certificate signifying that nothing you say or do is ever racist!
A new scene shows the same woman, now in a different outfit, talking to three skeptical-looking Black folks.
WOMAN: And then Michelle Obama came out, and she said…