In re: Its 3am. Reading into this a bit too much?

You probably know about the White House phone call ad that Hillary Clinton put out prior to winning the Ohio and phone.jpgTexas primaries. Many people have been debating the ad (I thought the one on Real Time with Bill Maher was pretty good). Anyway, most people will agree that it is a negative ad (on Obama’s inexperience) and also pretty big in the direction of fear mongering, something Democrats I would have hoped would leave for the Republicans to be champions of. (See In re: Overblown on the issue of fear). Anyway back to the ad (oh you can watch it on YouTube if you missed it).

While I would have preferred to see candidates make ads that have a bit more substance, a bit less negative and a lot less fear, I don’t see at all the argument put forth by Orlando Patterson in the NY Times Op Ed “The Red Phone in Black and White“. The argument is that the ad is racist and harkens back to images such as ‘D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan. This is absurd in my opinion (and many comments on the NY Times site). The author, professor of sociology at Harvard, Orlando Patterson is probably used to looking at everything through racial glasses as that is probably his area of study (his recent book is “The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America’s ‘Racial’ Crisis.”)

Now I won’t deny that we still have racial problems in this country and I am all for being open and honest about the flaws we have had and still have with issues of race in America but I feel that while at Harvard studying our problems he should lay off whatever it was he was taking when he came up with article. Does the author think that following the ad we suddenly realized he was black and that the 12 states he won in a row didn’t realize that? (He is also wrong that the ad wasn’t shown in Ohio, but only in Texas – so not sure how much work was put into this piece)

when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.” (The Red Phone in Black and White)

Update: The Clinton campaign has responded and said that Patterson has apparently not watched the ad closely enough and that one of the children in the ad is black (kinda a dark shadow makes it tough to tell) but considering how every family in a commercial these days is multi ethnic its not surprising that the Clinton campaign showing multiple families would have sought complete diversity (next time Hilliary make sure they are blacker is apparently the new complaint)

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