Laurie and Debbie say:
Under the #IAmRepublican hashtag, the Grand Old Party is trying to advertise its diversity and the wide range of people who support it. Unfortunately, apparently they couldn’t find a single African-American woman to pose for the pictures, so they took an effectively free stock photo from istockphoto.com’s “happy portraits” series. And here she is …
And here she is as a Georgia Black Woman attorney with no party affiliation …
And here she is as a payday loan customer …
Why is this a body image issue? Because the Republicans would not have done this with a white man, and they probably would not have done it with a white woman. The nature of racism in this country in particular is such that any individual African-American person stands in for all black people. This is true of President Obama, of the woman in the stock photo, and of Michael Brown (among millions of others).
Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields, writing in Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life say:
Even as commentators at the time of Obama’s election claimed to discern the coming of a “post-racial” era, their very harping on Obama as a “black president” reprised an ageo-old feature of racecraft: the turning of one person of African descent into a synecdoche for all. The classic historical instance is Booker T. Washington, anointed by powerful white persons to speak on behalf of all Afro-Americans, because disfranchisement had robbed them of the democratic prerogative of choosing spokesmen for themselves.”
Reducing an entire population to a single real person is shameful; reducing that same population to a nameless, uncredited, falsified figure is even worse. What the Republican party is really saying with this advertisement is,
“We want you to believe that this happy woman is an American citizen, an African-American, and a Republican. We want that in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with who she is, what matters to her, or why she’s happy.”
That’s what the Georgia Black Women Attorneys and the payday loan people want, to reduce all of black America to one smiling anonymous woman.