Last November I blogged about the difficulties that comedians would have with Barack Obama’s presidency; making fun of a President’s policies, or the President himself suddenly became taboo…even racist.
In a Reuters article, “30 Rock” actor/comedian Tracy Morgan commented on the difference between black and white comedians with Barack Obama in the White House:
“The president is black, so obviously we’re going to make fun of every situation you could ever imagine about a black president,” he told The New York Times.
“White comedians have got to roll the dice,” he said. “If you go down that road, you better be funny.”
This past Thursday, 11 year-old Dru Lechert-Kelly, of Portland, Oregon rolled the dice…and lost.
A mask similar to one President Barack Obama himself wore in a “Saturday Night Live” skit prompted a Portland school principal to ban a boy from performing while wearing it at his elementary school talent show after deciding the rubber likeness of the 44th president was “inappropriate and potentially offensive.”
Dru Lechert-Kelly, 11, a fifth-grader at Llewellyn Elementary School in Southeast Portland, decided to dress up like his role model and dance to a popular YouTube song that features an Obama look-alike dancing to a parody called “I Can Do Whatever I Like.”
Romanian-born Dru, adopted from an orphanage at the age of one and a half years-old by life partners Scott Lechert and Paul Kelly, “practiced for weeks”, according to his adopted fathers, who built his prop (a Presidential desk, complete with a Presidential seal) and reminded him to “have lots of bop” and to “use your shoulders” while performing the routine.
The skit itself was modeled after a wildly successful YouTube video, featuring a black comedian posing as Barack Obama in the Oval Office, spoofing T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.”
Dru performed his skit during the show’s dress rehearsal Thursday night, and said that “the crowd went wild”, however parents coordinating the show thought that the skit would be “inappropriate and potentially offensive”, according to Llewellyn Principal Steve Powell.
When asked for specifics however, Mr. Powell refused to elaborate:
“I won’t say why it’s inappropriate,” he said. “I’m not saying anything to The Oregonian. Why? Because I don’t want to.”
Friday night, Dru went roller skating while his school’s talent show went on without him, leaving his despondent parents to muse about political correctness in America:
“At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?”
His fathers continue:
Kelly said that as a gay couple, he and Lechert consider themselves particularly sensitive to issues of minority groups.
“We are white, but we’re a minority class,” he said. “We have some insight into this process of what is and what isn’t offensive. There was obviously no intent to harm here — or really any possibility of offending anyone.”
Dru, an escapee from Socialism, from the dark confines of Romanian orphanages, and a resident of one of the most liberal States in the Union, can’t escape oppression, even when emulating his hero…Barack Obama.