Saturday, April 21, 2012

Artist Michael D'Antuono Tells 'A Tale of Two Hoodies'

A young Black child in a white hoodie offers a policeman some of his Sweeties candy.  The officer, who is wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood along with his uniform, points his police issue semi-automatic Glock pistol at the child’s head.  They both stand in front of an American flag, the center of which has been torn away to reveal the confederate battle flag underneath.

Michael D'Antuono's "A Tale of Two Hoodies"

The scenario described above isn’t from a fever nightmare.  It’s the scene depicted in artist Michael D’Antuono’s painting "A Tale of Two Hoodies."  As the title suggests, it’s inspired by the Trayvon Martin murder.  It’s an inflammatory image, to be sure.  Some might call it extreme or even irresponsible.  Alas, Extreme emotions often require extreme measures to be properly articulated.

Of course, those who continually accuse the “liberally biased” media of exploiting the racial angle in this tragedy will point out any perceived inaccuracy to discredit such a message.  Trayvon was much older and physically larger than the child depicted here.  George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch captain, not a cop.  Last but certainly not least, Zimmerman was of Hispanic descent, making it impossible for him to ever be a Ku Klux Klansman.  All of the aforementioned are largely irrelevant to the bigger picture in this case.

The child in the painting is representative of all innocent Black children who may one day find themselves in a vigilante’s crosshairs thanks to the “Stand Your Ground” law.  He’s not necessarily a stand in for Trayvon.  Also, Trayvon was essentially still a boy.  He had not yet fully crossed over the threshold to manhood at the time of his death. 

Zimmerman was indeed a neighborhood watch captain and not a police officer.  The racist cop represents the system that failed to bring Trayvon’s killer to justice in a prompt and timely manner, largely because it harbors many of the same prejudices exhibited by said killer.  Both the law enforcement community and the judicial system see Trayvon and his kind as a threat.  Yes, Zimmerman is Hispanic, but that doesn’t preclude him from harboring racist views against Blacks.  There are plenty of self-hating Blacks and Hispanics in America that identify with racist whites.  One doesn’t have to be a card carrying Klansman to think as they do.

There is a Norman Rockwell quality to D’Antuono’s work, particularly in its photoreal appearance and attention to detail.  While Rockwell celebrated all that was heartwarming about America, D’Antuono pulls back the curtain to show the nightmare lurking behind the façade of a daydream.  The Dixie Flag bursts through “Old Glory” like Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal the Superman shield.  America's legacy of fear and hatred shines through no matter what.

Sometimes provocateurs are needed to give the populace a swift kick in the pants.  Michael D’Antuono manages to see America through the eyes of its victims.  "A Tale of Two Hoodies" offers a clear and vivid picture of what he sees, and it isn’t pretty.   

Michael D'Antuono standing in front of his controversial work "The Truth"


  1. "Perfect summary of the American liberal mindset. Blacks are infantile creatures, and the only way they can survive is if enlightened white folks protect them from racists whites (and white Hispanics, a heretofore unknown group but now revealed as racist as Bull Conner).It's been the theme of so many Hollywood movies from "To Kill a Mockingbird" through "The Help". Makes everyone feel good about themselves, especially blacks, who can bask in the protective warmth of the white man."

    1. If I had to guess I'd say that your probably a Black republican. Or maybe your a white republican trying desperately to package racist right wing ideology as some sort of new wave "self help" movement?

      It's very typical of the modern republican mindset. Sit by and let atrocities against poor people and minorities go unpunished. Ridicule those who try to break the cycle. When someone calls you on your apathy and selfishness, you say that the victims should learn to help themselves.

      You call yourselves the party of God, yet you'd leave your fellow man to be devoured by wolves. That's one Hell of a world view you've got there.

    2. Zimmerman is REGISTERED DEMOCRAT Hispanic!

      do the research he never ever considered himself to BE WHITE! its just propaganda from the GREAT SATANIC MEDIA-GOVERNMENT!

    3. Blame whitey for err'thang, yo!


    4. Whose blaming whitey? Where did you see that in my article. Sounds like your own guilty conscience talking.

      In this case, the blame belongs squarely to a bigoted wannabe cop who's also a failure as a man and a human being. Zimmerman can vote however he likes and "consider" himself whatever he wants. His actions on February 26th of this year revealed his true nature. Actions, as they say, speak louder than words.

  2. ah...the internet...where cold-hearted, hateful, mentally underdeveloped and down right inhuman cowards can hide behind their keyboards and spew their out dated white supremacist ideology unchallenged and without any fear of repercussions.

    the GOOD thing is that the people who think this way are being bred out of existence.

    in a good 20 to 40 years these people will be such the minority that the rest of us progressive, positive, enlightened people can move forward without the dead weight of such vile beings holding us back.

    1. You encourage eugenics, eh? Typical of you racist troglodytes. Do you think the evil white man stole the black African's magical flying shoes in ancient Egypt?

    2. Racist Troglodytes? That's funny coming from a bigoted neanderthal whose kind is on the verge of extinction. You cromagnon types are fast becoming an endangered species, and it clearly frightens the Hell out of you.

      I'll believe in magic Egyptian shoes before I'll believe in any of the racist propaganda and revisionist history your kind has engaged in for the last few centuries or so. Like Lahmi, I await the day when people like you are but a memory. That way, the rest of will be able to live in relative peace.

    3. dear snapbascula,

      if you think that waiting for racist white supremacists to die out is the same as actively killing them, well, you're not worth speaking to.

      but thanks for exposing your own ignorance.

      feel free to continue.

  3. Why wait? Move to Detroit, Philadelphia, Gary, Zimbabwe, LA, etc. There are a lot of Minority-majority cities and countries to enjoy.

    1. this country was built on the backs of my ancestors. there are companies that are benefiting financially from slavery to this day. my father fought and bled in Vietnam for this country. he eventually died due to his injuries from his service.

      i have as much right to this country as anyone else, and am happy to wait as truly evil people such as yourself go the way of the do do bird.

  4. The feel-good image of the day. Yes we klan! Yes we klan! Yes we klan! Thanks a bunch, black pop culture analyst person!

    In all seriousness though, yeah it's a completely irresponsible, untruthful, fever dream of a painting that's merely one of many contributing factors that'll help get lots of black white, and everyone in between killed. To quote Fred Reed:

    "If a minority in Russia started burning cities, the army would shoot the rioters on sight. America doesn’t work that way, or hasn’t recently. The lack of consequences for beatings and flash-mobbings, the history of saying “racism” and walking, produces a sense of untouchability in blacks. It could be a mistake.

    A spring is being wound. On one hand, when you live in a sprawling tightly packed concentration of people like yourself, it is easy to forget that you are very much a minority, that the majority holds all the high cards, and that food doesn’t really come from Safeway.

    On the other hand, via the internet whites now know of the racial attacks, and grow quietly very sick of them. There is among many white men an undercurrent of “Bring it on.” This is not confined merely to cops, soldiers, conservatives, Southerners, westerners, the rural and the blue-collar. You can find it, carefully hidden, in federal offices and even among men in newsrooms. The extent of this sentiment is easy to underestimate. Those who share it don’t dare express it, and most journalists live in ideological bubbles."

    1. "In all seriousness though, yeah it's a completely irresponsible, untruthful, fever dream of a painting that's merely one of many contributing factors that'll help get lots of black white, and everyone in between killed."

      An irresponsible, untruthful fever dream? So according to you, America doesn't have a legacy of fear and hatred that it has tried desperately to cover up for God knows how long?

      Do you really think this painting is more irresponsible or dangerous than the "Stand Your Ground" law, or the cops who initially let Zimmerman walk because of it? Which one do you seriously think will get more innocent people killed in the long run?

      Do you realize that the Fred Reed quote you posted actually goes a long way in making the exact same point that D'Antuono is making with this painting? That quote, and the article you pulled it from, is rife with irrational fear of young Black males. Reed basically admits as much elsewhere in that same article, as well as others on his website. It's very telling that didn't post a link to the complete article, likely so as to not expose both Reed and yourself as being cowardly, racist crackpots. Since your too cowardly to do so, I'll provide you and Reed with enough rope to hang yourselves:

      Niether you nor Reed could give a rat's ass about innocent lives being lost in a race war. You would rather that America's minorities suffer in silence. Fred Reed's quote is basically saying that we should know our place and keep our mouths shut, otherwise we'll be starting a war we can't win. It seems to me that people like Fred Reed and yourself are more dangerous to the fabric of American life than guys like me, Lahmi, and Michael D'Antuono could ever hope to be. We aren't the ones issuing thinly veiled dire warnings and threats. You are.

      Let me assure you sir, if riots and social disturbances actually do jump off any time soon, it won't be because of paintings like this one, or articles like the one I wrote. It will be because men like you and Fred Reed would rather maintain the status quo than figh injustice. You're the ones actually living in a bubble, but your too arrogant, fearful, and hateful to see it.

  5. Mr. Wilson:

    "Injustice" would be (presumably)what happened to Mr. Martin, and it would be railroading or lynching Mr Zimmerman due to political or racial considerations.Personally, I think he walks because I think both men were scared, but that's neither here nor there in the larger sense.

    You might also want to check into the reporting on this case particularly by the local Fox affiliates, and ABC News. It's been sensationalistic.

    As for the rest of your spiel I'll merely state two things:
    A. Black americans have often functioned as the "canary in the coal mine" in terms of problems. Cities, like the ones in which I live are hotbeds of crime where one can see the results of America's inhumane drug wars, wars on fathers (too easy divorce, too easy false domestic violence) which leads to lack of two parent families, war on poor people (lack of jobs, minor convictions often barring one from consideration by most companies, offshoring, etc) and the result isn't pretty. Some of these problems are finally, after a 25 to 30 year delay starting to show up in many predominantly white communities as well.

    B. Most interracial violence is black on white, dwarfing white on black rapes, murders, etc. This is partly due to opportunism, but also in some cases due to black racism (please spare me the privilege 101 lecture or the history lesson, and don't claim "racism is institutional") People like yourself (and the over simplistic racist narrative of this excellent propaganda piece, er, painting )tend to try to sweep that under the rug but it does get noted and does need to be addressed, lest it lead to a race war in the future. Of course maybe AVOIDING such a result is not what you are really all about, but I do like to assume good intent. We are either all in this together or we will eventually live apart, probably quite forcefully.


    1. Now I KNOW you aren't bold and/or stupid enough to suggest that the perceived railroading/lynching of George Zimmerman is in any way as much of an injustice as Trayvon's death? The former is an exaggeration at best and a complete fabrication at worse. The latter is an honest to God injustice.

      If anything, Mr. Zimmerman has been treated more than fairly by our justice system up until this point. At least he still has a shot at being exonerated of this crime. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, Trayvon will still be dead. He doesn't get a second chance at life.

      Both men were scared? What the Hell was Zimmerman afraid of, his own racist misconceptions and assumptions? Was he the one being followed for no apparent reason? Was he the one being approached by an armed, bigoted vigilante who had been told not to do so by a 911 dispatcher? Only one person in that scenario had any right to be scared, and it wasn't Zimmerman.

      Funny, whenever minorities and poor people claim to be the victims of sensationalistic reporting, people like you dismiss such complaints as excuse making and crackpot conspiracy theorizing. When Zimmerman is a "victim" of said sensationalism, suddenly such claims have merit.

      So you acknowledge the futility and destructive effects of the war on drugs. You also acknowledge the war on the Black family structure and poor people in general. It's nice to see that we can agree on such things.

      Wait a minute. Stop the presses. How can you acknowledge all that you did in your first statement, but not acknowledge the reality of white privilege and institutional racism? Even worse still, you can't acknowledge the history of such things in this country. Are you really serious? You don't see any correlation between the societal ills found in cities such as the one you live and institutionalized racism? I'll chalk this one up you not paying attention to what you typed in your first "statement" and leave it at that.

      As for your point about interracial violence, it never ceases to amaze me how guys like you only cite the stats that are convenient for your argument. It's telling that you did not provide a link of any sort to support such claims (though I'm sure you will when and if you reply). Even then, I'm sure you won't bother to mention stats such as the ones that show Black youth have a lower rate of drug and alcohol abuse than white youth ( You only point out that which makes us look like the villains. Typical.

      Whites have much more to fear from each other than they do from any Black person. That, sir, is a statistical fact. The Trayvon Martins of the world hardly constitute a real threat in the grand scheme of things.

      The only result I'd like to avoid is an acquittal of Mr. Zimmerman leading all other trigger happy racists to think it's okay to declare war on young Black men. Read the final part of my reply to Myrmecodon. It applies to you as well. In fact, let me repeat it for you:

      Let me assure you sir, if riots and social disturbances actually do jump off any time soon, it won't be because of paintings like this one, or articles like the one I wrote. It will be because men like you and Fred Reed would rather maintain the status quo than figh injustice. You're the ones actually living in a bubble, but your too arrogant, fearful, and hateful to see it.

    2. Damn right Trayvon aint coming back, and thank God for small favors. That thug built his own coffin with his fists. If someone came at me and I had a gun, they would die. You wouldn't protect yourself?


    3. I'm totally fascinated by those who seem to think that the real world should function according to action movie logic. What an exceedingly childish worldview. Every conflict should be answered by way of the gun. Any slight, whether real or perceived,should be punishable by death.

      You have any actual proof that Trayvon was a thug? Even if he was, how does that have any bearing on this case? Was he in the commission of a violent crime when Zimmerman confronted him AFTER being told NOT to do so by a 911 dispatcher? If so, was anyone's life, liberty, or property in any immediate and/or great danger? Is walking around in a hoodie a crime? Is walking around with Skittles and iced tea a crime? Am I not allowed to punch a strangers lights out if he stalks and then physically confronts me?

      It's one thing to be thought of as an idiot. It's quite another to actually open your mouth and prove it.

  6. I like this painting. It does have that sense of Americana, and the confederate flag is tucked underneath the American flag. It really does show that there is another America that hangs on to the hope that somehow the country will go back to a time when a racist person didn't have to feel public scrutiny for their racism. They didn't have to pretend that they weren't racist. They only had to follow along with the rest of the racists.

    In their minds, everything would be good if those other people would just go away to a place where they weren't visible.

    You're talking about people who complain about the stupidest stuff. They will complain about the smell of an ethnic hair care product. They will complain that someone is speaking a language other than English. It's no different than when the ethnic battles were about stereotypes surrounding other groups like the Irish and the Polish.

    What conservatives want to conserve is the ability to act without consequence or scrutiny.

    It is simply not socially acceptable to be a racist anymore, so they will repackage themselves as the victim of someone else's racism. Isn't that amazing? Conservatives have this weird understanding of what identity politics really are.

    The Republicans showed their inability to understand this by selecting Michael Steele, and Sarah Palin. They will demonstrate their inability to understand the issues when they select Marco Rubio for the VP nod.

    They think that black people vote for Obama simply because he's black. That's not what has happened, nor is it what will happen.

    We're talking about people who object to the sorrow of the president, because they think he's somehow being dishonest or aggressive when he says that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon.

    I have a health issue that children shouldn't have to deal with. They do have to deal with it. And when I see them dealing with it, all I can think about is how painful that would be for their parents to suffer through that.

    If I saw a kid that reminded me of myself as a young man, and if that kid were in distress, I would immediately empathize with his predicament.

    That is not a racist, nor is it a provocative statement. It's simply an expression of the awareness of the fragility of a child's life that one seems to be able to have as a parent.

    I prefer to hear a racist make his claim in an honest manner. Honesty is the most moral thing that one can do. And if someone is claiming to be not racist, but consistently sides with the racist side of an argument, that person has some serious moral searching to do.

    1. Beautifully written and eloquently stated, sir. My hat's off to you. The good thing about paintings like this is that it brings out truly thoughtful guys such as yourself in addition to the closet racists and right wing propagandists. You see this painting for exactly what is. Myrmecodon and his ilk, on the other hand...

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  8. why are you all commenting while anonymous?

    the true test of one's conviction is to stand behind your statement without the cloak of internet anonymity.

    to the mentally challenged anonymous 2 (or 1) this country belongs to me as much as anyone else, so I won't move elsewhere, I'll just wait patiently by the river until you come floating down it.

    Mrmecodone, you have no sense of U.S. history nor a keen understanding of the current mood of MOST U.S. citizens.

    you sir, are the TRUE minority, both in this country and the world.

    and as I stated earlier, as your ilk continues to kill themselves (suicide rates in the U.S. are highest among white men, especially as they grow older)all we have to do is wait you out. then progressive people, Black, white and all others can take this country in the direction it should go.

  9. What a bunch of pathetic libtard horse shit

    1. I often wonder what it's like to be a cowardly, racist, xenophobic relic of a bygone age. Maybe you can share your experiences with me, seeing as how I don't normally associate with your kind.

    2. thanks for my laugh for the day, Anonymous. your reply basically say you are defeated.

      rampant ignorance will always fall to more angelic notions.

  10. Holy crow. Intense feelings in here, huh? I got some too. Yall who think Martin is some sorta saint are out of your damn minds. George Zimmerman killed some kid who attacked him. Period. Good for him. The law protects him, but hey, let's involve the media so we can make a lesson out of him, because a minority of people believe he was a good guy. It makes as much sense as "Hey, I like this guy, but he wasn't born in the USA. He references that subtly, and mocks it. Can we make him president?" Um, no, you can't. Oh, yes you did. Are you proud of yourselves yet? I'm not speaking to blacks, Im speaking to morons. I'm not a moron, and thus not racist. I'm a idiotist.

    1. No no, i think you actually ARE a moron, holding on for dear life to your white power fantasies. Your psychosis isn't even buried deep down, it's very close to the surface. Your fear of people of color is unwarranted, unfounded, and unrealistic, but it defines you more than anything else.

      Zimmerman racially profiled someone who wasn't any kind of threat to him. According to his autopsy, Travon Martin had a tiny laceration on his left ring finger. If he had given Zimmerman a black eye, broken nose, and multiple head lacerations, Martin would have had more injuries as well.

      Martin did not attack Zimmerman.

      Total innocence is not a prerequisite for victimization. Martin doesn't have to be a saint to be a crime victim. Martin is not on trial. He was never suspected of any wrong doing. Your assignment of criminality to Martin speaks of your blatant bigotry.

      You are so enamored by the idea of a Black man being killed that you'll take leave of your senses to contrive a scenario that justifies Zimmerman's actions.

      Here's what will happen: the evidence will show that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin, followed him, attacked him, then shot him in cold blood. Zimmerman in collusion with members of the Sanford Police Department endeavored to cover up the true nature of the incident. Zimmerman will either be convicted or take a plea offer.

      After all is settled, people like you will have to accept the fact that you cannot just go around killing Black people because you feel like it.

      Welcome to the 21st century.

    2. Daxx, the term moron doesn't begin to describe what you are. Martin NEVER attacked Zimmerman. And even if Martin had struck Zimmerman, would that have been totally out of line seeing as how Zimmerman profiled, stalked, and confronted him? THAT would have been self defense, not the cold blooded act that Zimmerman perpetrated on a 17 year old BOY.

      BTW Obama won the presidency fair and square, quite unlike his immediate predecessor. He is also clearly a citizen of this country, as he proved long ago. Stop spreading misinformation.