The head of the Virginia NAACP said Monday that a banner outside a downtown Richmond strip club portraying President Obama as a the white-faced, red-lipsticked Joker villain in “Batman” is an attack on Black men everywhere.
"Not only is it an attack on the president, but also on all men and people of African descent," King Salim Khalfani, president of the Virginia NAACP, said of what he called "the abomination that's on the wall" outside Club Velvet.
Khalfani wants the strip joint to take down banner immediately. It was raised in recent days with the words “socialism” underneath the image of the Joker, portrayed by the late Heath Ledger in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight."
Club owner Sam Moore describes himself as a "staunch libertarian" who is in strong opposition to Obama’s policies. He says, however, that he is not opposed to president as an individual. "Mr. Moore would like to say that anyone who believes that his banner is racist is an ignoramus," read a sign being carried by one of the strippers.
But Khalfani and other critics say the banner is emblematic of the rising tide of racism in America that was ignited when Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, was elected. The steady, increasingly ugly attacks against the president and his policies are unprecedented, they say. Even former President Jimmy Carter has said that racism is behind the attacks. Former President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, has said that race has little to do with the current hostile political climate.
"Racism is as American as apple pie," Khalfani said. "The presence of a president that has African blood is very, very troublesome to many in this country."
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