This Photo About the GOP Campaign and Race Is Rare and Telling
A young attendee’s sideways glance that speaks volumes
by Michael Shaw
CLICKING through the New York Times’ Photos of the Day last Thursday, this picture brought me to a complete halt. It’s not altogether unusual to see African-Americans at GOP campaign rallies. It is, though, in that rare photo that manages to call it out. And this one achieves that not just by the single black face, but by the one that is also inattentive. Of course, the lack of attention plays larger when everyone else’s eyes are glued to the candidate.
Then, there’s another dynamic here. The photo surfaces at the same moment Marco Rubio is supposedly on the rise. And it’s relevant, too, as he’s positioned, by heritage and disposition, as the one Republican in the running with crossover appeal — especially compared to the more divisive, even dog whistle campaigns of Trump and Cruz. (What was the Bush sound bite, “I’m a uniter, not a divider”?) So to see a photo right now where the folks are riveted, and the young are as entranced by a Rubio as a Sanders only contributes to the Mario buzz.
At the same time, though, seeing the African-American kid upset the unanimity with the sidelong glance, what the photo also says is: “not so fast.”