It’s 2014 and, sadly, racism continues to be alive and well around the world.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are at the center of another racist attack. The culprit this time is the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, which marked Obama’s recent visit to the Netherlands to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I with a picture of the first couple with ape mouths.
The publication took it a step further by posting another photo of the president with the following caption: First black president of the USA starts selling weed.”
De Morgen ran the photos alongside a story that was supposed to be a “satirical” take on Obama’s strained relationship with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
“Vladimir Putin is the president of Russia. He sent us this attachment at our request, and chose to send pictures instead of text ‘because he doesn’t have a lot of time’,” the article reportedly stated.
Needless to say, DeMorgan’s stab at humor generated mixed reaction among readers. TheGrio noted that while some De Morgen defended the newspaper, there were others who made no secret of their opposition to the story. Among the crtics was Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe, who shared his thoughts on the DeMorgen article on Twitter with the following tweet:
chika unigwe @chikaunigwe Follow – so photo of the Obama’s as chimps in De Morgen of today is the paper’s attempt at satire. I forgot to laugh #racist
The negative feedback ultimately caused De Morgen to apologize for the offensive image of the first couple and admit they showed ”bad taste” by publishing it.
“When you consider the fragment apart from its context, which is a properly worked out satirical section, then you don’t see the joke but just a picture evoking sheer racism,” the newspaper said. “We wrongly assumed that racism is no longer accepted, and that in this way it could be the subject of a joke.”