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Anti-Obama slogans with racist slants on the rise in Election 2012

The 2008 election was not devoid of racist anti-Obama sentiment, but racial slurs and offensive slogans seem to be balder this time – from a racially derogatory joke circulated by a US judge to crude bumper stickers.

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Racism, in forms both overt and sly, appears to be rearing its head higher than in the 2008 election campaign, when voters took the historic step of electing the first African-American president in the nation's history.

Already there's been some nasty stuff. Chief among them: an online video that went viral over the weekend, which shows a car sporting a bumper sticker that says "Don't Re-N-- in 2012" (fill in the blanks with half of the word that many African-Americans consider to be perhaps more inflammatory than any other). Some question whether the video depicts a real or a photo-shopped car and slogan, but the fact remains that the bumper sticker is the No. 1 best-seller at Stickatude.com, where it sells for $3. Stumpy's Stickers, until the site went down over the weekend, also peddled the design, one with a caricature of a black man's face missing a tooth and another with a picture of a chimpanzee that reads, "Obama 2012."

These and other racially loaded campaign materials point to efforts to make an issue of President Obama's race in this election, say analysts. Such calculations are born of frustration and even rage against both the president and his policies, which some perceive to have a pro-black slant, they say. While such virulent expressions may play to the racist sentiments of a subset of Americans, they are also likely to offend a vast many more voters and could have the opposite effect of what their creators intended.

“We are just beginning to see the glimmers” of the racial card being played in this campaign, says Randall McLaughlin, a civil rights lawyer and a professor at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y. 

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