Lynching Obama then permitted Lunsford to safeguard the nation while at the

Lynching obama then permitted lunsford to safeguard

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was to undo the very notion of America. Lynching Obama, then, permitted Lunsford to safeguard the nation while at the same time permitting him to reaffirm his identity as a member of the “citizen race.” The Obama effigy, then, like Joe’s postcard photograph of William Stanley’s lynching, is Lunsford’s pledge to a white racial This content downloaded from 129.210.6.137 on Thu, 07 May 2020 23:47:25 UTC All use subject to
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Lynching in the Age of Obama 119 Figure 4.2. Kirk Deddo’s front lawn Obama effigy. Clarksville, Indiana. October 2008. Figure 4.3. Mike Lunsford’s Obama effigy. Fairfield, Ohio. October 2008 This content downloaded from 129.210.6.137 on Thu, 07 May 2020 23:47:25 UTC All use subject to
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Lynching in the Age of Obama 120 state, his performance of white solidarity, and his endorsement of white democracy. That same month two students at the University of Kentucky were arrested for lynching an Obama effigy on campus, while a Redondo Beach, California, woman was ordered to remove her effigy that fea- tured a butcher knife in Obama’s neck. 32 In both instances culprits exhibited historical amnesia when criticized and sanctioned over the racist nature of their displays. In the Redondo Beach incident, the owner deflected accusations of racism by claiming that her dis- play was simply a Halloween decoration. Legal counsel for Kentucky students Joe Fischer and Hunter Bush stated that the effigy the boys displayed on campus was not racist but rather “an ill-conceived political prank” for which the charges of burglary, theft, and dis- orderly conduct were “very extreme.” 33 Kirk Deddo in Clarksville, Indiana, similarly sought to save face when he received criticism over the Obama effigy hanging from a tree in his front lawn. Deddo maintained that his life-size Halloween decoration was not racist but political, explaining that he couldn’t think of anything scarier than the prospect of Obama leading the country. 34 While the rhetoric of Deddo’s verbal defense left the nature of his fear unstated, the trope of the black lynching victim manifest in his rendition of the Obama effigy enthymematically communicated what Deddo believed to be the best way to manage white fear over a black presidency. Conclusion The rhetorical border contesting Obama’s candidacy reiterated the link between citizenship and whiteness; so too did lynched Obama effigies. The heightened presence of Obama effigies as Obama’s tri- umph grew near invoked a time when objection to the full inclu- sion of blacks within America’s political imaginary produced a strange and bitter fruit. In the case of Obama, enactments of white citizenship were united by a discourse of antiblackness that This content downloaded from 129.210.6.137 on Thu, 07 May 2020 23:47:25 UTC All use subject to
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Lynching in the Age of Obama 121 forwarded an appeal to white racial rule by collapsing tropes of the black threat/enemy with those of the foreign invader to enthyme- matically demarcate, by way of the Obama effigy, that the White House was a space for whites only. Claims defending these dis-
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