Norman Rockwell's 1963 painting “The Problem We All Live With” -- which depicts the walk by a 6-year-old black girl, escorted by U.S. marshals, to integrate a school -- is a classic and iconic piece of art. Earlier this summer, as the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington was approaching, the painting was temporarily installed in the West Wing of the White House, just outside the Oval Office. The White House stated of the installation:
The President likes pictures that tell a story and this painting fits that bill. Norman Rockwell was a longtime supporter of the goals of equality and tolerance. In his early career, editorial policies governed the placement of minorities in his illustrations (restricting them to service industry positions only). However, in 1963 Rockwell confronted the issue of prejudice head-on with this, one of his most powerful paintings. Inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges and school integration, the image featured a young African-American girl being escorted to school by four U.S. marshals amidst signs of protest and fearful ignorance. The painting ushered in a new era in Rockwell's career and remains an important national symbol of the struggle for racial equality.
But Jeannie DeAngelis, a blogger for Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, somehow managed to find a more sinister agenda afoot in the simple act of hanging an iconic painting in the White House. In a post titled “Obama: The Problem We All Live With,” DeAngelis asserted that the display of the work, which she described as a “reminder of division and hatred,” may be evidence that Obama is “uninterested in fostering unity”:
The President's taste in artwork indicates that America's "post-racial president" may be secretly nursing a deep-seated wound. It's either that, or he's uninterested in fostering unity. If that weren't a distinct possibility, why didn't he choose Norman Rockwell's “Murder in Mississippi (Southern Justice)," which portrays the deaths of three civil rights workers, two of whom where white, killed for their efforts to register African American voters, or “Negro in the Suburbs," which depicts black children interacting with the white children in their new neighborhood?
Rather than displaying a reminder of division and hatred, shouldn't America's first black president be focusing on the harmony that the historic nature of his presidency promised to deliver? Instead, his attraction to an artist's rendition of one of the “ugliest racial episodes in U.S. history” indicates that the President of the United States may harbor a measure of latent acrimony.
Thus, Barack's behavior has exposed yet another example of his duplicitous insincerity. Because when it comes to the “ugliest [religious] episode in U.S. history,” the President has been more than willing to extend the same level of forgiveness and understanding to Muslim Americans that hanging Norman Rockwell's disquieting painting deprives white America.
DeAngelis also compared the display of the Rockwell work to the display of a painting of 9-11 hijacker Mohamed Atta:
Choosing to present such an explosive representation of prejudice toward blacks outside the office of an American president is on par with the message Muslim Americans might get if Obama displayed a painting of September 11th hijacker-pilot Mohammed Atta preparing to crash into the World Trade Towers.
Such an affront would never take place, because Obama is committed to placating and reassuring the Muslim community that he believes their religion is one of peace. In fact, a few weeks prior to the anniversary of 9-11, with the Ruby Bridges image and the vile “N” word emblazoned above her head hanging 20 feet away from the Oval Office, Barack Obama hosted an Iftar dinner in the State Dining Room extolling the efforts of valiant Muslims on September 11th.
DeAngelis even took Obama to task for not showing enough love for “white Union soldiers and abolitionists in the Civil War”:
The President's efforts with the Muslim community are commendable. However, what is striking is that thus far Obama rarely, if ever, takes a similar opportunity to mention the contributions of white Union soldiers and abolitionists in the Civil War, or the civil rights activists who despised the treatment little Ruby Bridges was subjected to and died proving it.
Who else but America's first black president should express admiration for the 2.5 million soldiers who fought and the 360,000 who lost their lives in a war to ensure little girls like Ruby would be free to attend school like other children?
Instead, without a word, when deciding whom to shield and not to shield from undeserved stereotypes, Obama demonstrates prejudice. The President may not realize it, but the unspoken message of choosing the volatile Norman Rockwell painting denies white Americans the same measure of differentiation between bravery and villainy that he freely showers upon adherents to Islam every chance he gets.
DeAngelis concluded by suggesting that Obama sees the painting as “ample reason to continue to pass blame, as well as the explanation, if he's not reelected, that it's merely because racist America was looking for an opportunity to deny a black man access to a second term”:
Either way, one can't help but wonder whether Barack Obama secretly identifies with the Ruby Bridges painting because it depicts racial prejudice against a helpless black child.
It might also be that Norman Rockwell's “The Problem We All Live With” provides the President ample reason to continue to pass blame, as well as the explanation, if he's not reelected, that it's merely because racist America was looking for an opportunity to deny a black man access to a second term.
Whatever the explanation, Obama has yet to formally acknowledge that the attitude of 21st century white America has as much connection with the racist brutes opposing integration in 1960 as that of the President's Ramadan guests, whose faith he contends has no connection to those responsible for inspiring and carrying out the attacks on September 11th.