June 18, 2008

"I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to."

Hebba Aref, one of 2 women who were told to move out of the frame of photograph of the candidate because they were wearing a Muslim headscarf.
[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.

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.
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.

UPDATE: Obama calls Aref and apologizes.

60 comments:

holdfast said...

Imagine the fallout if a Republican did it. Maybe it is from being around a fair number of Orthodox Jews, but the whole headscrarf thing doesn't bug me. I'm about as Neocon, WT supporter as you can get, but covering your hair as a sign of devotion to your faith doesn't bug me. People walking around America wearing full-on burkas, especially veils pushes all my buttons, but simply covering your hair? Countries like Turkey and France make a big deal out of it, and by doing so they hand the islamofascists a very effective weapon.

ricpic said...

The celebrate diversity crowd concealing inconvenient diversity. Can we say hypocrisy, big time?

BowlsRus said...

What, a chain smoker who is never photographed while smoking is a hypocrite? Shocking, yes?

Eat a ham sandwich, Hussein, you'll put all the "he's a muslim" rumors down like a lame horse.

Pogo said...

What sort of people in the background send the wrong subliminal message?

According to Obama, black people and Muslims.

Yes we can!

Spread Eagle said...

But should we really be dismayed to learn that the campaign cares about the look of the people behind the candidate?... wouldn't it be incompetent not to control the backdrop? If this were not done, opponents of the candidate could wreck photo-ops deliberately.


This isn't controlling the backdrop like that. Obama makes it appear like certain types of people are supporting him in bigger numbers and hides the appearances of those who actually are supporting him.

Do you think McCain arranges his audience this way? Do you think Bush did in 2004 or 2000? Or Dole in 1996?

Sloanasaurus said...

This is one of these things that everyone disapproves of, but knows that it is going on nonetheless. The problem for Obama is that he has now admitted to it. Thus, it is just another example of trying to portray a false or exaggerated image.

Sloanasaurus said...

Imagine the fallout if a Republican did it.

This is really the true issue about this incident. The pro-obama media will give him a pass on this even thought they detest and recognize that it is rooted in the bigotry issues they see Obama as being above.

Iapetus said...

"wouldn't it be incompetent not to control the backdrop? If this were not done, opponents of the candidate could wreck photo-ops deliberately."
When your campaign is based on the theme of unity and inclusiveness, as Obama's is, then you should accept what you get. Is there any difference between what happened here and the several incidents of faux photography that had bloggers up in arms not that long ago? Such a crude deception to shape the "proper message" and create a false image should be called for what it is: propagandizing.

John Lynch said...

No question that the photo would have done more damage than this story. No one will hear about this outside blogworld, whereas the photo would have been everywhere.

Good, hard, choice on the part of the volunteers, who I'm sure didn't harbor any ill will to either of the women.

Quayle said...

"But subliminal messages will be sent, and it would be naive to pretend otherwise."

What is naive is to keep pretending that Obama is a new generation politician.

This proves that Obama is very much an old-school politician, and that he fails his own proclaimed standard to be someone different that we can believe in.

I bet the woman that was wearing the hijab (you know, the one that believes in modesty and that refused to "change" for Obama's picture by taking off her hijab) - I'll bet that she belives less in Obama's "change" than she used to.

Bissage said...

(1) Ms. Aref learned a tough lesson about believing in heroes in the real world.

So did Sally Simpson.

But soon the atmosphere was cooler
as Tommy gave a lesson.
Sally just had to let him know she loved him
and leapt up on the rostrum.
She ran cross stage to the spot lit figure
and touched him on the face.
Tommy whirled around as a uniformed man
threw her off the stage.


Except for the real world part, that is.

(2) It’s not on teh intertubes but there’s a great Kilban cartoon of a crowd listening to Jesus as he gives the Sermon on the Mount. A local man tried to get closer but now he’s getting shoved to the ground by one of the Apostles who shouts at him “Hey, don’t f*ck with the Prince of Peace!”

Except for the asterisk part, that is.

john said...

Not subliminal, Quayle, not racist either, but very basic to a national campaign:

- in the primary, run to your base,

- in the general, run to the center.

There will be a lot more bodies under the bus(es) by November.

bearbee said...

I think most Americans understand that just about everything is managed for effect. Most of it appears obvious.

If you are the candidate of 'Change' you have an obligation to take risk and make change otherwise it is another example of empty rhetoric and politics as usual. Put them in and go on the offensive.

Do you think Bush did in 2004 or 2000?

Absolutely! An egregious example

dr kill said...

Hahahaha, but seriously, why can't the Obama handlers find some head-covered women to carry crosses, or dig up a few sisters who hang at Pfleger's crib to sit in those seats of honor.. Maybe some of those Codepinkos tastefully attired in that lovely shade of 'Plains GA Pink' they favor.

Actually, have Obama's people call mine. I'm not giving him any more good ideas for free.

Joe said...

It's a lose-lose situation. If the women were in the shot, critics would claim this reinforces the claim that Obama is secretly Muslim. Do the cruel calculation and the women go.

Chip Ahoy said...

My mum wore head scarves. On windy days, bad-hair days, and riding in convertibles.

holdfast said...

WEll, per the picture up on Drudge, it appears the theme of the photo was Cleavage 'n Boobies! Well, sorta.

I can hardly object to that.

Anyway, Drudge is not really blogoshere, though not quite mainstream either. Having one or two obvious Muslims in the background (especially unthreatening women) would not hurt him, and anyone criticizing it would be painted a bigot, with some justification. The girl in the yellow headscarf is kind of cute - bad call staffers!

Chip Ahoy said...

I love it when the kids in the background are yawning and nodding off, completely overtaken with boredom.

I'll bet fat people really get discriminated against a lot in situations like this. "Let's make this easy, shall we? All Walmart shoppers to the back. Com'on people, put a little hustle into it. "

LarsPorsena said...

Obama Staffer:

"Get me more white people. Get me more white people, now!!"

Meade said...

chip ahoy said...
"My mum wore head scarves"

Well why didn't you tell us, Chip?

John Stodder said...

The ladies should've picked up their scarves at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Ry said...

Change is a curious concept overall -- especially in a democratic party. As a Republican, the democratic view borders on odd. For instance, how is Obama even still in your nominating process -- Hillary Clinton won the deomcratic primary -- overwhelmingly (popular vote + all major primaries swing states). I look forward to the Clinton-McCain discussion/debates, but her narrow poll lead over McCain in a general election has me wondering about unpopular chads?

chuck said...

It's not a campaign, it's a beer commercial. I blame Kennedy.

gophermomeh said...

disappointing...

dr kill said...

What about Nancy Pelosi, wearing her Syrian souvenir? Fetching, she was.

What about some Mennonites? They really like hats and scarves.

Right Man said...

The gist of the Obamabots comments on other sites seems to be that this is redneck middle America's fault because, if they weren't so racist this would not have had to happened.

AJ Lynch said...

This is an intolerable tolerance of intolerance.

MadisonMan said...

What about Nancy Pelosi, wearing her Syrian souvenir? Fetching, she was.

And look how that image continues to be spun.

I agree with someone upthread who said this was lose-lose and the staffer chose that which has the shortest shelf-life.

Fritz said...

This just makes me want to cling to my guns & religion.

Spread Eagle said...

I think most Americans understand that just about everything is managed for effect. Most of it appears obvious.

No. Everything is managed for effect on the left, because they are the ones who have to fool the voters into believing them to be something other than what they actually are.

Will said...

Do you think McCain arranges his audience this way? Do you think Bush did in 2004 or 2000? Or Dole in 1996?

You're pretty naive if you don't realize that ALL campaigns manage their backdrops. Of course it matters to campaigns what image is seen on the evening news.

Neither Obama nor his supporters have ever claimed he is not a politician. Those of you on the right need to get over this. The point is that he is a more honest politician than we've had in a long time. The people you deride as "Obamabots" see how he is different. Try reading his books and the book Obama by Mendell. Then you will see how he is different too.

Obama makes it appear like certain types of people are supporting him in bigger numbers and hides the appearances of those who actually are supporting him.

They were worried about Muslims being in the background because of the ridiculous Obama-as-Muslim rumors spread by people on the right who are either dishonest or stupid. It's not because they are scared to reveal his secret massive Muslim constituency.

phx said...

Right...neocons CRUCIFIED Dunkin' Donuts and Rachel Lee because she war a freaking scarf that they alleged was "insensitive" because it reminded them of Muslims. So now they want to use this against Obama to prove how insensitive he is to Muslims??? Way to advance the public discourse folks.

john said...

I don't blame Obama or his staff. Let's be honest -- a headscarf means that the woman is probably a Muslim. It means that she is against freedom of speech and and that human rights are of little concern to her. It means that she believes that Mohammad was a good person and the evil things he did (as recorded in the hadith, Islam's own traditions) are fine and dandy. It means that she supports discrimination against non-Muslims and other minorities. It means that the standards and values we believe in do not apply to her. That, in a nutshell, is what I see in the headscarf. It is a symbol of Islamic intolerance and bigotry (Oh, by the way... Have you ever seen a Muslim man buried under a blanket and veil?)

The Obama people know this and therefore want this symbol out of sight. They also know that Muslims will vote for them anyway and they can get away with this.

The fact that so many Muslims want Obama to win should be a warning to us. These are people that very often hate us and always want special treatment and rights. These are people that reject Western values and believe that Islamic law and the Quran should be imposed on infidels. If Obama wins, they will be happy and we will see more of them.

AT least these women are honest. They love Mohammad and follow the Quran and aren't afraid to show it. Maybe they deserve respect, even if Muslims never respect non-Muslims where they dominate (But why should they? I refer you to the Koranic verse that says 'non-Muslims are lower than animals in the sight of Allah').

By moving the women, Obama's staff is just playing politics. Nothing changes, at least nothing you can believe in.

Kactuz

PS: I don't like Islam!
http://www.kactuzkid.com

Roy said...

Two things struck me. First, once again, it was the STAFFER's fault. No Harry Truman, this Obama guy. And second, a gratuitous unsubstantiated Republicans do it too!" I have no doubt Republicans do it, but I really doubt they'd ask a democrat to be party to it. I have an idea our Democrat informant is not a whole lot different than those "Republicans all my life" interviewees that had seen the life and were voting for Kerry. You know, the ones that just happened to have donated to Democrats for the last 10 years. In other words, liars.

merrymary said...

ARG!! This illustrates even more to me that the candidates are nowhere to be found - they are all a package by their publicists and campaign managers. This is a sad sad thing to read - 'bout time we as Americans started to notice similarities instead of differences. Still hoping it can be so!

gophermomeh said...

john - You have no idea what her religion means to her. If she chooses, she can speak for herself.

And, "maybe they deserve our respect" - they absolutely deserve our respect.

john said...

BTW, I am not that john.

al said...

Right...neocons CRUCIFIED Dunkin' Donuts and Rachel Lee because she war a freaking scarf that they alleged was "insensitive" because it reminded them of Muslims.

Rachel Ray - not Rachel Lee. It had nothing to do with being insensitive. Or Muslims. It had to do the symbol of Palestinian terrorism and the intifada, the kaffiyeh as made popular by Arafat.

Cedarford said...

People walking around America wearing full-on burkas, especially veils pushes all my buttons, but simply covering your hair? Countries like Turkey and France make a big deal out of it, and by doing so they hand the islamofascists a very effective weapon.

No, France and Turkey recognized that young women wishing to be active in Islamism and the dominant men behind them are forcing use of the najib by peer pressure on all women to make a political statement. Like gangs, the headscarves color and pattern may signify alignment to Hamas, PKK, Hez, Al Qaeda, the wearer is a Shiite loyal to the Iranian Supreme Leader.
Both France and Turkey - from recovery from past periods of decline when clerics ruled - have created states secular by their Constitution and ae fighting back against creeping theocracy that threatens to undermine the foundations of the state and properly see all the recent display of religious gear and forcing others to wear it as an assault on secular spheres.

There is nothing "traditional" about the scarfs and veils. If you look at photos and paintings from the 18th century on up until the early 80s in the Muslim world, you see most women bare-headed, unveiled in public - save for peasant women out in the fields keeping sun and wind off their heads and faces.

I keep a Life Magazine and compendium of National Geographic photos of the Muslim world. Most photos taken between 1900 and 1980 from the Pakistani immigrant miniskirted "Mod Girls" of 1968 Britain to Cairo and Tripoli streets in the 1930s to Iran in the 50s and Baghdad in the 80s. Some had "traditional clothes" some western. Few women wore scarves and veiling appeared mostly limited to the most primitive backwaters like Afghanistan and Yemen.

PS - Calling Islamists "islamofascists" is a stupid neocon nickname that makes as much sense, knowing the incompatible philosophies as "American Corportate Communists". History cannot shut the door on the face of the neocons that twisted US policy, fast enough, as the door also closes on teh failed Bush Presidency the neocons had no small part in wrecking.

An equally stupid neocon theme is the insistance that we are in World War 4, that the Cold War we worried would become WW 3 was actually World War 3 - but all global conflicts before WWI that may or may not have involved past iterations of Islamists, etc. and killed considerably more than have been killed in the present conflict - were not World Wars.

Another dumb theme to dispense with.

*******************
I support Obama's right to manipulate his "prop" people, just as I support Bush, Clinton, and McCain posing with people props or calling out "hero cops" "suffering laid-off mill workers" from the audience during speeches.
Imagine if a few good old boys showed up at a McCain rally and wanted to be seated behind the old man while wearing "I love Dixie!!" T-Shirts - they would be steered away because the impression of their attire would detract from the candidate.
The goal of candidates is to simply have "everyday sorta Americans" in the backdrop reflecting the locale they are in, and to hope the people they plant to accentuate the weekly main talking points are covered in the single soundbite that might get on national news after editing.

Not the kid with 80 pieces of metal in her face right behind Obama, or the man with the yarmulke and a wild-eyed expression, or the big pig-faced larged bellied black guy with a "Bomb Iran" button pin behind McCain. Let alone a whole row of trial lawyers in 2000 dollar Armani suits perched behind Edwards at one of his rallies when he was still running..

Roger J. said...

Roy hit the nail on the head--when one of Obama's gaffes shows up its never Obama taking personal responsibility--its always a staffer. The more I see of Obama, the less I like of him--perhaps my gut reaction was reflected in HRC's string of victories in primaries toward the end: the electorate was starting see through Obama, even given the fawning media coverage. this guy is no different than any other political huckster.

Meade said...

"I keep a Life Magazine and compendium of National Geographic photos of the Muslim world [...] miniskirted "Mod Girls" [...]"

And here I thought that judge out in California kept some quirky files!

titusbeatLA said...

There was a hilarious thing on Jon Stewart where Frank Luntz talked about this exact topic. The need for women, asians, hispanics and blacks were always a part of the Bush backdrop.

Except, when controlling the people behind Bush he could never find any black people.

This site is becoming more and more wingnut by the day-by the way.

titusbeatLA said...

"Right...neocons CRUCIFIED Dunkin' Donuts and Rachel Lee because she war a freaking scarf that they alleged was "insensitive" because it reminded them of Muslims."

The same scarf that Michelle Malkin was wearing in a picture I might add but that was ok.

titusbeatLA said...

And the "neutrality" crap is bullshit.

Joe said...

Somehow, I think bacon is involved.

john said...

titusbeatLA - is that what you call your hog now?

I think we can all agree that Jon Stewart is a good place to find cruel neutrality. No bias there.

If you really are looking for politcal balance, however, and find it in the blogospher, clue me in.
I won't hold my breath.

PatCA said...

The New Left has been complaining about the "inherent contradictions" in American capitalism for 50 years--these contradictions supposedly justified bombings by such types as Bill Ayres.

I think it's hilarious now that the "inherent contradictions" of the New Left are being exposed. Rock on, sisters, I'm sure you will be front and center at the next photo op!

Palladian said...

"And the "neutrality" crap is bullshit."

Aww, is wittle titus getting pissy because nobody pays attention to him anymore? Where's the lame "fellow Republicans and followers of the Bush Doctrine" 5th grade sarcasm now? What about the clumbers? What about some mindless reiteration of your boring day's itinerary of yoga, pilates and fantasy sexual encounters? What about your infantile descriptions of your bowel movements? What happened to the old titus who bored us to tears with his limited routine? Well take a look, folks; behind all that nonsense is a run-of-the-mill semi-literate stumble-fingered lefty troll of no particular consequence.

You went from being an occasionally amusing character to a tiresome old rag blabbering about "wingnuts". Sad, really.

Namaste!

Pogo said...

Yeah, Titus, what gives?

What a weird mask.

PatCA said...

Hebba Aref--if it's the same person I found after a google search--is a former board member on the Dawah Committee (calling people to Islam) for the MSA (founded by the Muslim Brotherhood) at U of Mich.

Duscany said...

I've seen a bunch of photos of Obama recently in which nearly everyone behind him was black. My first thought--"I guess he intends to be president of black America." It's unsettling to see one race predominate like that. Of course they could and should manage the photo op. Just don't get carried away with it.

blake said...

I don't see how having a potential Muslim in your photo-op is bad PR.

Unless you're suggesting that America's full of islamophobes.

And that couldn't be bad PR, right?

Rod said...

I am begining to hate all those white babes supporting this guy because he is black and you know what..... I am waiting for rumor to start of infidelity between Obama and some white babe and then getting those white beady eyed women packed out the background. This followed by rumor of Obama's white gay lover and packing those guys off. Finally we will have real picture behind OSama of blacks, muslims, and blackwannabewhite liberals.

Fen said...

The point is that [Obama] is a more honest politician than we've had in a long time.

Then why is he deliberately misrepresenting McCain's statement that we should have a presence in Iraq for a 100 years if needed, as we did in Europe and Japan after WW2?

If you think Obama is anything "new", you're a fool.

Ry said...

"Strange" may be the better term. Charting B.O.'s unabashed ehtical compromises and calling them "honest politics" I think is more than misleading. Are we supposed to yearn for an
"Obama-nation" filled with such stagecraft?

rightwingprof said...

"Who I could relate to." That really says it all, doesn't it?

Bissage said...

Well take a look, folks; behind all that nonsense is a run-of-the-mill semi-literate stumble-fingered lefty troll of no particular consequence.

Darn!

And here I was hoping for Maxine.

Such a disappointment.

Fen said...

ANN

"Hijab Women Dissed @ Obama Rally Are Muslim Terror Front-Group Activists, Top Islamic Proselytizer"

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2008/06/muslim_grievanc.html#

Ry said...
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Ry said...
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