You won’t find this anywhere else, but our highly-paid analysts here at Poets for Global Justice think there may be a subtle significance to the fact that the "Playboy playmate" who coos "Harold, call me," in the racist ad aimed at Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. is not only a white woman, but a redhead.
As any dermatologist will tell you, redheads are generally at a much higher risk for skin cancer than blondes and especially brunettes, as redheads tend to be exceptionally pale. Red hair often accompanies very light skin, such that, in some sense, red hair is marker of the "whitest of the white," so to speak.
As Harold Ford Jr. is himself a light-skinned African American, a brunette playmate would not create much contrast. A playmate with brown hair and olive skin would in fact be darker than Ford Jr. And while blonde hair has often been used as a marker for whiteness, and even miscegenation, perhaps that would have been too obvious (?).
Even if only on a subconscious level, red hair signifies an identity that is pale, "Caucasian," and quintessentially "white."
Our analysts conclude that this is yet another example that racism and white supremacy linger like a virus in the body politic. Even in 2006, at the dawn of the third millennium, some politicians are still as eager as ever to conjure racist images of interracial sex.
Let us condemn those who inflame racism for political gain, expose the myriad ways racism thrives in American life, and renew our efforts to dismantle the systems of white privilege and white supremacy. In this way we can begin building a world based on justice, compassion, respect and equality.