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.

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