Controversial Cover?

I guess Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will never be paired as running mates. I mean how can we have these two paired together for anything when some in our society can’t handle seeing a black man and a white woman on the cover of Vogue.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to blog about this controversy that is a couple of weeks old by now, but after seeing another writer weigh-in on the debate in the Post-Gazette, I felt I needed to say something. In case you have your mind focused on more important issues – like the rising cost of gas – here’s the cover in question:

The man is NBA super-star LeBron James. The woman in his arms is supermodel Giselle Bunchden ( better known as quarterback Tom Brady’s girlfriend ). So what’s the problem? Some people have looked at his photo and somewhere, in the recesses of their mind, think it was inspired by a World War I recruitment poster with an ape carrying a fair-haired maiden. Others see it as King Kong carrying 30’s actress Fay Wray.

I guess you can tell from my sarcastic tone that I’m not buying this latest controversy. I’ll tell you what got my attention. As one writer put it, the most amazing thing about the cover is that James can hold a supermodel in one hand and dribble a basketball in the other.

Of course, the relationship and perception between black men and white women has been historically complex. However, I’m not going to get into that. I looked at the issue, and frankly if you look inside, there is nothing even mildly offensive about the pictures of the two stars. It simply shows two people in fantastic shape doing what they do best – and that’s look good.

Can we get over this race thing like … like now? Does everything have to be – pardon the pun – so black and white? Can’t two people who look different just pose and have fun on the cover of a magazine without the world imaging the racial frustrations of two centuries upon them.

Now there are probably some of you wondering if I have selective memory. There was the controversial cover of Golfweek with a noose on the front which was published for the “lynching” comment made by a TV announcer about Tiger Woods. Aren’t they the same thing you might ask. The answer is no. In the case of Golfweek, racism was already central in the discussion. Race was not even a factor when Vogue came out.

There is racial injustice in this world. That is not up for debate. There is racism and there is stereotyping in this world but while we should be vigilant and speak out when we see it, we also need to realize that not everything carries racial messages .. unless some of us place that meaning on those images.

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