Europes insensitive racial remarks over Obama

November 12th, 2008 - 2:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Nov 12 (ANI): Europe erupted in cheers to celebrate Barack Obamas election as the 44 th US President, but the continent is seeing its share of insensitive racial blunders, too.

Over the past week, a number of European lawmakers and journalists have made comments regarding Americas Black president-elect, suggesting that some otherwise respected public figures in Europe are far from enlightened on racial matters, The Washington Post reported.

The day after Obamas victory, a leading Austrian television journalist said on camera that he wouldnt want the Western world to be directed by a black man.

A Polish lawmaker stood up in Parliament and called the election result the end of the white man’’s civilization.

One of the milder gaffes came from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. On Thursday, during a visit to Moscow, he praised Obama for being young, handsome and even sun tanned.

Berlusconis remark caused a stir in Italy, as critics chided him for sounding like a fool. But the prime minister was unrepentant. Whats the problem? It was a compliment, he told journalists the next day. Anyone who did not get the joke, he added, was an imbecile.

Some racist comments have come from people who have expressed such views before. Africa Conquers the White House, read a headline on the Web site of the National Democratic Party of Germany, a political party that sympathizes with neo-Nazi groups.

In an accompanying article, Jurgen Gansel, a party leader and an elected lawmaker in the German state of Saxony, blamed Obama’’s victory on the American alliance of Jews and Negroes.

Offensive opinions have also originated from the other end of the political spectrum. Die Tageszeitung, a Berlin newspaper that supports socialist and leftist causes, predicted Obamas election in June when it published a large front-page photo of the White House under the headline, Uncle Baracks Cabin.

The reference was to Uncle Toms Cabin, an anti-slavery book written by 19th-century author Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Post reported.

In Austria, Obamas win prompted a harsh, on-air reaction from a well-known journalist, Klaus Emmerich.

I think the Americans are still racists and they must be very badly off to so spectacularly — and that has to be said, no doubt — send a black man with a black, very good-looking and clever woman to the White House,” he said Wednesday during a show on public television network ORF, he said.

After saying that he wouldn”t want the Western world to be directed by a black man, he added: If you say that is a racist comment, you”re right. Without a doubt.

In Poland, the lower house of Parliament heard a similar interpretation of Obamas election from Artur Gorski, a legislator from the Law and Justice party. (ANI)

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