Waymon Hudson

Caption This: Obama's Mini-Me

Filed By Waymon Hudson | February 20, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment
Tags: Barack Obama

I thought our readers would have a good time coming up with some captions for this photo. Have at it, Projectors!

obamas-mini-me-17426-1266251347-4.jpg


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The pic is absolutely cute.

I'm just feeling too ornery today to do much in the way of humor.

I know, Toni! It's so cute that it's hard to be snarky. LOL

I agree --- this picture is so sweet ...

... and I think that maybe we should pass on it for a different reason also. I am totally confident that Waymon nor anyone else here are Bilerico wants to give any impression of the slightest racism ... yet I wonder if we would react the same way to a picture of a white president picking up a little white boy. Maybe yes? Maybe no? So much depends on the slightest details in the photograph ...

Can't imagine how this picture could be insulting to African-Americans, but attaching the notion of a "mini-me" to it leaves me just a bit uncomfortable.

Or maybe I am just imagining things --- wouldn't be the first time, but on the other hand I don't feel like ignoring my intuition, either.

Wait- the original "mini-me" was from Austin Powers and was a tiny version that dressed identically to the larger version of Mike Meyers character and whom he picked up and carried around- just like in the picture here. It's a fun pop culture reference, nothing racial about it. I do the same thing if it was a picture of me picking up a kid with a fauxhawk or Hilary Clinton picking up a little girl with a bob and a pants suit.

Wow, Mattel did a great job.

Maybe Obama is reaching out to straight the poor kid's tie and bring it back up to the "uncomfortable" spot at the top of his shirt?

@AJ - Yeah, I didn't take anything racial out of it. "Mini-me" is famous as a smaller version (identical) to the taller, older person.

Oh yeah, guys, I'm familiar with Austen Powers and mini-me ... like I said, maybe I'm just imagining things.

To be fair to A.J AND to Waymon -

I think all sides of the issues are relevant here. Waymon and others are right - the original mini-me was, indeed, white. But I think the discomfort that A.J expressed (and A.J can correct me if I'm putting words in his mouth here) is a worthwhile reminder of the racial traces that such images can still bear in the U.S. Which is to say, it's not a racist image but I think those of us who might flinch at first (and I'll admit to that myself) are reflecting our own anxiety about *how* such images can sometimes circulate in other contexts - which is to say, we're anticipating the ways in which an image of a small Black child dressed almost identically as an adult Black man, who happens to the President in a country where racism and racist representations are not unheard of, has a kind of ministrel-ish genealogy.

Does this mean the image is racist? No. Does this mean it's not cute? Um, no (I, for one, am taken by the kid's confidence and his "So, YOU'RE the President? I dress sharper than you!" look). But I also understand where A.J is coming from just as I understand that no one who posts that image here or discusses it is being racist.

It's a brief and perhaps transitory moment, that sense of feeling that something might not sit right, but it can serve as a reminder that race and representation in the U.S are still loaded with unconscious histories. It's best to be aware of that unconscious, even as we all like the image for itself. It doesn't mean that *everyone needs* to be super-conscious of such - just that we've all got a long way to go before those cultural residues become something else.

Good gosh, did I just become a peace-maker of sorts? (not that there was a fight here :-))