Friday, February 20, 2009

When A Cartoon Is Not Just A Cartoon

I don’t know what I’m more irritated about, the NY Post’s publication of what was at best a thinly veiled racist cartoon and at worst (and in my opinion) an overtly racist cartoon or their “apology” for said cartoon. In my book, an apology goes something like “I’m sorry. If I had to do it over again, I would do it differently. I never intended to offend you, but now I see that I did. Sometimes I’m ignorant and I am sincerely remorseful that my ignorance hurt your feelings. I now see the error of my ways and nothing like this will happen again. Please forgive me.” Something like that from the NY Post might have given me pause. Instead what I read is not an apology at all, but a defense of their decision to publish the cartoon in the first place. That does not qualify as an apology. What it does show is that they indeed do know, and did prior to publication know, that the cartoon is racist. Otherwise, no defense would be necessary.

For those of you who might have a hard time following my logic and who may feel compelled to educate me (via the comment section of this article) on political cartoons, let me proactively respond. Maybe you’re not from the South (maybe you are and you’re just in denial), but there is no way possible for someone from the South to view this cartoon and not see it as a racist comparison between a black President and a chimpanzee. It is a historically racist comparison that has been made over the history of this nation and it makes me sick. We can all pretend like those comparisons never happened, don’t continue to happen, or that we have moved past them. Wrong. It’s a lie. Racism is alive and thriving.

We’ve made great strides in this country regarding race. The historic election of President Obama has done much to move us forward. Unfortunately, there are those among us who are not intelligent enough to debate the legitimate differences concerning how our country should move forward during these difficult days. Unfortunately, those same people resort to behavior that is beneath us all. Yes, sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon. However, in this case, sometimes a racist is just a racist.

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