Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 13, 2010

Alan Chin: Black Tea

(This is a first post taking a close-up look at the 9/12 Tea Party demonstration in Washington D.C. as seen by Contributing Photographer, Alan Chin.)

What do we think when we see a Black Tea Party Member?  We’ve got some questions:

Has this guy been drawn into the fold through manipulation (perhaps exploiting some identity issues), given the need of the Tea Party to put forward more people of color?

Or, is this scene completely straight, showing a true black conservative, his ideological concerns transcending race as an issue for him?

Or, does the photo subvert both left and right-wing story lines, representing, instead, at least the partial arrival of post-racial society — as demonstrated by the instance where an African-American guy can just walk around with a huge poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache, as if race didn’t play into it —  as if, he’s just ahead of the curve.

–Michael Shaw


caption: At the U.S. Capitol, a Tea Party protester with a large poster of a Hitler-moustache Photoshopped onto President Obama. Other demonstrators harangued this protester on the grounds that such imagery is inflammatory and reinforces perceptions of Tea Party racism and extremism.

About the Photographer

Alan Chin

Alan Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Alan Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked in China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. In the US, Alan has explored the South, following the historic trail of the civil rights movement and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, covered multiple presidential campaigns, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. He is a contributing photographer to Newsweek/Daily Beast and The New York Times, a member of Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), and an editor at You can see all Alan's posts for BagNews here.

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