Friday, February 3, 2012

Republican Racism Example #6: "Obama Waffles"

Just before the last presidential election, in September 2008, a vendor at the right-wing Values Voters Summit (sponsored by the anti-gay Family Research Council) sold boxes of "Obama Waffles" in packaging that included (in the words of the website), an"cartoon image of a bug-eyed, toothy, dark-lipped Barack Obama eyeing a plate of waffles. A pat of butter on the waffles is stamped ‘2008.’ On the top flap, the Obama cartoon appears in a turban, next to an arrow printed with the text: ‘Point box toward Mecca for tastier waffles.’" 

The Obama Waffles sold at a 2008 Christian Right summit. (Photo from 

An echo of the segregation-era “Mammy” character who has longed adorned the Aunt Jemima pancake mix boxes, the buffoonish caricature of Obama is thus married to the irrational, bigoted “is a secret Muslim” conspiracy theory.  Describing him as a Muslim serves to make the public feel he is an Arab (a racial outsider) in addition to being "black." The package also featured a “recipe rap” written in crude imitation of black dialect:

“Yo, B-rock here droppin' waffle knowledge/
Spellin' it out, 'cause a graduated college/
 Some say I waffle so fast,/
 Barry's causin' whiplash
Just doin' my part, made wafflin' a fine art/
 For a waffle wit style,
like Chicago's Magnificent Mile
Spray whipped cream around the edge/
 Shake it first like Sister Sledge/

The say wit me,
I can be as waffly as I wanna be!
 (That goes out to my Ludacris posse)”

The segregation-era inspiration for the "Obama Waffles" box.  (Photo from

Alerted to the racist contents of the booth  (labeled as “political satire"), the FRC left the display open until the conference was almost over.  The “Obama Waffle” creators, W. Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, are high-placed figures in the pro-Republican Christian Right.  DeMoss has cro-authored four books with Doomsday entrepreneur Tim LaHaye (creator of the Left Behind franchise.   Here more info:'obama_waffles'/

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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