Presidential History

The Seven Black Presidents Before Obama

|

Sean Higgins has a thoughtful and fun piece in America's Future Foundation's Doublethink about TV and movie versions of black presidents and how such depictions reflect changes in racial attitudes. Here's a snippet:

The notion of a black president has become so non-controversial for white directors that they don't draw attention to it even in political satire. In Mike Judge's 2006 sci-fi comedy Idiocracy, by the year 2505 the world has been decimated by trailer-park types who have been rampantly outbreeding smarter people for centuries. (The scientists were too busy "conquering hair loss and prolonging erections" to notice.) As a result, the entire population has become a bunch of morons.

In Judge's future, the English language has deteriorated into a "hybrid of hillbilly, valley girl, inner-city slang, and various grunts." Anybody accused of acting smart is called a "fag." And yet despite the fact that language is reduced to its most vulgar level, racial epithets are conspicuously absent from the lexicon, implying that racism too has been expunged.

Indeed, the morons elect porn superstar and "five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion" Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, played by black actor Terry Crews, as their president. At the end of the film, star Luke Wilson becomes the new president. He marries Rita, played by Saturday Night Live regular Maya Rudolph, giving the future world a black First Lady.

By imagining a post-racial future, did Idiocracy and other films such as Deep Impact help lay the groundwork for an Obama victory? Not quite, but the piece is well worth reading.

Advertisement

NEXT: Reason Morning Links: Yoo Memos See Sunshine, Sanford Makes Sense, Simon Picks Up His Notebook

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho transcended race before it was cool.

  2. LOL, pretty funny dude. Well done!

    RT
    http://www.privacy-center.pro.tc

  3. Welcome to Eastern Kentucky. I live Idiocracy every fucking day. We are only about two years away from everyone exclusively wearing Crocs.

    Mountain Dew Mouth

    “Mountain Dew. It has what tooth decay craves.”

  4. He missed that the third season of Heroes shows the president as black when Nathan goes to him to ask to start rounding up everyone with abilities.

    “Shit. I know shit’s bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.”

  5. Don’t talk to me about hillbilly and inner city grunts–just look at what happened to ME (Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian….)

  6. Off-topic: sometimes Anonymity Guy’s comments are related to the article itself. Is he a sophisticated ‘bot that analyzes the text of the article and then constructs a basic sentence remarking on it, or is he just a retard who posts his stupid fucking link on threads across the internet all day?

  7. I’d take Dwayne E. M. D. H. Camacho over about half of the previous Presidents…

  8. The true test is when we can have a fictional, villainous black or female president.

    That’s still a white-men-only club AFAIK.

  9. FrBunny, we’ve had a fictional, villainous black female First Lady.

  10. President Lindberg was my favorite.

  11. The acceptability of a black president to all the people who would otherwise not accept one (you know, the stupid people who think 24 is still good) is all about David Palmer. Everyone else with an actual brain stopped giving a crap what flavor the president was when Clinton spooged on a blue dress and everyone realized the world won’t end no matter what the jackhole in the White House does.

  12. I did forget about Sherry Palmer. Still, imagine the glorious day when a show with a white male writer features a female president who puts the whole country at risk just to carry out a vendetta against a man who done her wrong.

    And instead of being a sexist commentary on women in general, it is considered simple fiction.

    (Psst, Nick. 24 is good again.)

  13. you can have Bad Presidents? in movies?

    that’s gotta be unpatriotic or smtg! FCC should get involved…

  14. you can have Bad Presidents? in movies?

    That’s not what worries me; apparently, we are now *obligated* to have bad Presidents in real life.

  15. Don’t forget the black President in the Angry Samoans’ Time has Come Today music video. I’m still trying to figure out what he’s supposed to symbolize.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugkT_FEKmfY

  16. By imagining a post-racial future, did Deep Impact help lay the groundwork for an Obama victory?

    Not quite.

  17. In the last election I actually wrote in “Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho” for president.

  18. By imagining a post-racial future, did Deep Impact help lay the groundwork for an Obama victory?

    I don’t know about post-racial. But Deep Impact did exhibit the standard “the American people can’t handle bad news so we’ll keep the impending destruction of everything secret while we save the few who deserve it (For the children!)” government fare. That’s sounding more and more familiar.

    Note that the first and most obvious thing President Morgan Freeman (or FEMA) should do in the case of a large meteor is to evacuate the damn coasts since they’re vulnerable even without a direct strike. But government always waits until it’s too late, so we can have the “disaster via traffic jam” scene. That’s getting too realistic as well.

    [end rant] Sorry. I started an end-of-the-world-due-to-meteors novel a couple of years back, and cast my characters as reasonably competent. I couldn’t keep the plot dangerous enough for a good read.

  19. Larry, every time I try to write fiction, my story ends before it starts because everyone is smart. I can’t seem to get my LoneWacko characters going.

  20. I can’t seem to get my LoneWacko characters going.

    Hit yourself in the head with a hammer before you write those characters. You’ll do fine.

  21. “How do you write women so well?”

    “I think of a man. Then I take away reason and accountability.”

  22. the SpanishGirls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and TheJews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and DukeStreet and the GowlMarket all clucking outside LarbySharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those HandsomeMoors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows or the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops HalfOpenatNight and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and 0 that awful DeepDownTorrent 0 and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the FigTrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the RoseGardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a FloweroftheMountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the AndalusianGirls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my MountainFlower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

  23. Larry, every time I try to write fiction, my story ends before it starts because everyone is smart. I can’t seem to get my LoneWacko characters going.

    Set it at a political convention. Any party will do.

    “I think of a man. Then I take away reason and accountability.”

    Not my experience, but then I teach men and women to shoot. I leave out the testosterone.

  24. Hit yourself in the head with a hammer before you write those characters.

    That’s GoodAdvice.

  25. FrBunny, as someone who is frequently accused of being a raging misogynist, I can’t publicly give you props for that reference.

    I will note however that I saw that movie on the bus on the way to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville NY. The priest in charge of the pilgrimage had, hmm, strange taste in movies. It was a bit uncomfortable watching him staring at the screen when the gay model guy bares his ass for the Greg Kinnear character to draw him.

  26. And yet despite the fact that language is reduced to its most vulgar level, racial epithets are conspicuously absent from the lexicon, implying that racism too has been expunged.

    You’ll also notice that no one in Star Trek ever uses the toilet…indeed, it appears that there aren’t even any toilets on the ship! So by the logic of the article, this implies that in the future, defecation will be expunged from our lives.

  27. did Idiocracy and other films such as Deep Impact help lay the groundwork for an Obama victory?

    If anyone watched them! *rimshot*

    YOUR KIDS ARE STARVING. CARL’S JR. BELIEVES THAT NO CHILD SHOULD GO HUNGRY. YOU ARE AN UNFIT MOTHER. YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE PLACED INTO THE CUSTODY OF CARL’S JR. CARL’S JR. FUCK YOU. WE MEAN IT!

  28. “I can’t seem to get my LoneWacko characters going.

    Hit yourself in the head with a hammer before you write those characters. You’ll do fine.”

    Drink a bottle of meszcal and eat the worm.

  29. “You’ll also notice that no one in Star Trek ever uses the toilet…”

    The transporter continuously beam their waste directly from their colons to the replicator banks.

  30. Must remember to use preview.
    The transporter BEAMS not beam.

  31. They showed bathrooms on TNG all the time. And Riker’s sleazy whirlpool tub.

    I think someone is just mad that ST doesn’t indulge his scat fetish.

  32. Black movie-presidents is only one wrinkle in the decades-old trend to cast them in safe, respectable roles. If there’s a court scene in any sitcom made in the last 20 years, the judge will almost certainly be a sassy black woman.

  33. Wasn’t the point of Idiocracy that the world had degraded to the point where an African-
    American could actually be President? That’s not really a ringing endorsement of a post-racial future.

  34. I thought that hot tub (you’re referring to Insurrection, right?) was on the Holodeck. Riker’s quarters magically had a tub in “Conundrum” so that he could nail Ensign Ro, but it disappeared in later episodes. Maybe it was a rental.

    They never showed a toilet bowl. Trust me, I’ve seen every episode and I was looking for them. Not nearly as hard as for a glimpse of Deanna’s areolae, back in those dark and confusing days of puberty, but hard enough.

  35. However, it would seem that not all defecation has been overcome. Worf had to get a litterbox for Data’s cat while he was taking care of her when Data was having psychotic episodes during “Phantasms” in season 7.

  36. “How do you write women so well?”

    “I think of a man. Then I take away reason and accountability.”

    I jumped and hit the ceiling from a sitting position when I heard that line. My mother looked like she was going to kill me!

  37. Representative: “Well I got a solution: you’re a dick!”

    Congress: “Yeah!”

    Representative: “South Carolina, what’s up!?”

    [Camacho fires off a few rounds from an assault rifle. Everyone falls silent.]

    Camacho: “That’s what I thought!”

  38. Does Idiocracy help explain our most recent presidential election result?

    It’s hard to see how it doesn’t, or the last several before that, for that matter.

  39. Ahh, Idiocracy. Possibly written as a comedy, but my wife and I use it as a predictor of future events. For instance, the first time we saw TV ads for that brain-busting show “Wipeout”, we turned to each other and said, “Owww, My Balls!!”

  40. Craig, I don’t know what you’re getting at. What were smart people supposed to do? Vote for the anti-evolutionist?

    1. Talk about a question that answers itself!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.