The word "racist" often activates heavy defensive reactions. It offends our sensibilities to be compared to violent cross-burners. It shouldn't necessarily, though. We're raised in a racist society, and sometimes that gets reflected in our thoughts words or actions. The sooner we're able to own it and examine it instead of running away because we're not violent cross-burners, the sooner our society will improve. That said, I don't think it's necessarily racist to ask the question you asked, brian. I think it's possible that you're literally ignorant (unaware of) some of the common slurs and racist imagery that face the black community.
Criticizing a gay person by evoking images of bestiality is never ok. Criticizing a black person by comparing them to a monkey is never ok.
I've seen plenty of criticism of Obama that happily left his race out of the equation, that focused solely on his policies, and I haven't heard people jumping to call it racist. So to answer your question, yes it's possible.