— GrrrGraphics (@GrrrGraphics) May 13, 2016
There have been a number of racist depictions of First Lady Michelle Obama since 2009, when it was discovered that the top image result of a google search for her name was a photo of her altered to look like an ape.
This past weekend, Cartoonist Ben Garrison published an image that plays on the stereotype of black women being angry, emasculating and ugly. In Garrison’s cartoon, Michelle Obama is the epitome of scowling masculinity. She is contrasted with an image of a feminine, sexy, smiling Melania Trump and the caption next to her reads, “Make the first lady great again!”
While there are a number of reasons this depiction is offensive, it is the adherence of the drawing to the age old message that black women are held to a greater standard of greatness than white women that is most obvious.
Michelle Obama is the epitome conventional respectability. She holds two degrees from Ivy League institutions Princeton University and Harvard Law School, she is a happily married and devoted mother and she is as stylish as she is completely competent and intelligent. Even still, none of that has ever been enough to protect her from the likes of folks like Ben Garrison and those who think like him.