[T]wo different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that headscarves wouldn't be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding the hijabs, one bluntly political and the other less clear.That hurts, and the campaign has officially apologized. But should we really be dismayed to learn that the campaign cares about the look of the people behind the candidate? Don't you remember "Get me more white people, we need more white people"? It should be done more tactfully, but wouldn't it be incompetent not to control the backdrop? If this were not done, opponents of the candidate could wreck photo-ops deliberately. I know, it's a sensitive question: What sort of people in the background send the wrong subliminal message? But subliminal messages will be sent, and it would be naive to pretend otherwise.
In Aref's case, there was no ambiguity.
That incident began when the volunteer asked Aref's friend Ali Koussan and two other friends, Aref's brother Sharif and another young lawyer, Brandon Edward Miller, whether they would like to sit behind the stage. The three young men said they would, but mentioned they were with friends.
The men said the volunteer, a twenty-something African-American woman in a green shirt, asked if their friends looked and were dressed like the young men, who were all light-skinned and wearing suits. Miller said yes, but mentioned that one of their friends was wearing a headscarf with her suit.
The volunteer "explained to me that because of the political climate and what's going on in the world and what's going on with Muslim Americans, it's not good for [Aref] to be seen on TV or associated with Obama," said Koussan, who is a law student at Wayne State University.
UPDATE: Obama calls Aref and apologizes.