Doesn't he know that Obama is sacred?
German comedian Martin Sonneborn is well-known for jokes bordering on the tasteless. But a satirical political billboard of him posing in blackface makeup as US President Barack Obama is sparking outrage.
“Ick bin ein Obama (I am an Obama),” reads the poster at Berlin’s central Ernst Reuter Platz square, in an apparent play on John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. On the poster, a "black" Sonneborn smiles as he raises his arm in the air.
The billboard is the latest in Sonneborn’s campaign for his satirical political party Die Partei ahead of state elections in Berlin this Sunday. It’s meant to make fun of the entire German political establishment and go up to the edge of propriety – another poster is entitled “MILFS against Merkel” and the campaign has also mocked the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party.
But the latest one is upsetting to some because of the racial connotations of blackface theatre, which was widespread in America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Based on ugly stereotypes, blackface consisted of white performers painting themselves black for degrading minstrel shows.
The characterization of black minstrel shows above is outrageous. It's just America-hatred from some supercilious German. Al Jolson often sang in blackface and there was nothing hateful about either him or his performances. He was in fact actively anti-racist.
The comedian above is in any case only concerned with his local elections. His poster even uses Berliner dialect. "Ick" would be "Ich" in High German.