The NY Post Needs to Apologize

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The NY Post posted the political cartoon above, and it’s causing an outroar.  Al Sharpton is angry, although he’s giving them a chance to explain:

“The Post should at least clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon,” he said.

The cartoonist Delonas is defiant and unapologetic, calling the controversy “”absolutely friggin’ ridiculous.”

I have no idea what Delonas is trying to say with his cartoon, and until he says something to explain himself, I (and Sharpton) probably will continue to have absolutely no clue about his meaning.  What I do know is this: given the history of the the comparsion of black people with monkeys along with the fact that Obama is the one who signed the stimulus plan into law, this cartoon is offensive.  I don’t know how a political cartoonist could not foresee that people would interpret it as racist, but be that as it may, Delonas and the Post should apologize.

7 thoughts on “The NY Post Needs to Apologize

  1. When I first saw this I thought owch that is a tad harsh making fun of something that was so awful, the woman getting her face ripped up by the chimp.

    (if anybody missed that do a search, very sad story).

    The point of the cartoon is that the bill was a mess, like it was written by monkeys.

    No way is it saying Obama is a monkey.

    Sharpton & Co. are seeing something that is not there.

  2. Intentional or not, the connection is there. The stimulus bill is inextricably linked to Obama. Everyone knows that likening Black people to monkeys and apes has been a popular display of racism in the past (some people will debate whether or not it currently exists, but we can all agree that it did at some point).

    Given the history of institutionalized oppression of Black people in this country – which has been enforced by law not that long ago (a lot of people who are nowhere near there deathbeds still remember living through segregation) – is it such a surprise why people might draw the connection? I mean, how could they not?

    I don’t think that Delonas was intentionally being racist, but more often than not, good intentions don’t mean shit. And that is just indicative of the culture of denying racism that we are currently living in. As usual, people like him never have to think about race and the racial ramifications of his actions while such things are a daily part of life for minorities.

    He even says, “Do you really think I’m saying Obama should be shot? I didn’t see that in the cartoon.” No, you fucktard, people think you are calling Obama a dirty fucking chimp because he’s seen as a Black man. How clueless can you be?

    You know what would have helped infinitely much more than what he actually said? If he had just said, “You know, I looked at it again, and I can see why someone might think that. That’s really not what I intended; I was trying to say that the stimulus bill was such a mess that it had to be written by a crazy animal. I wasn’t trying to say anything else.” An apology on top of that isn’t even necessary, although it would be nice.

    You know, it’s not even completely a racial thing, it’s just an inability to step outside of yourself and try to see things from someone else’s perspective. People like that aren’t willing to even consider the idea that maybe minorities have experienced enough real racism that when some ambiguous shit like that comes along, they have to wonder at what it means.

    Okay, rant over.

  3. I agree with Scowl.

    It’s pretty remarkable that a political cartoonist, someone who is supposedly an expert in social commentary, doesn’t see the how one could interpret his cartoon as a racist linkage between African Americans and monkeys. That being said, even if Delonas is totally not guilty of racism, I think it’s his responsibility to step outside of his box and at least acknowledge what so many other people are seeing.

  4. I saw this thing on TV where they were talking about it, and this one guy made a fair point in that calling it “racist” automatically puts the NY Post and its supporters on the defensive, which tends to stifle any kind of constructive dialogue.

    Then again, I question how meaningful such a dialogue could be, given that those who perpetuate unintentional racism are the often the most adamant about their complete innocence.

    At the very least I can understand why someone would see that and immediately say, “Hey, that’s racist!”

    Also, on a completely unrelated note, I guess your site uses gravatars? Or something? Because I didn’t set up an avatar for this, so I’m guessing it’s that gravatars thing which I did set up, but haven’t touched in years.

  5. The NY Post has to have some people of color on its staff. I’m not surprised at the initial denial, but I am a bit taken aback by the fact that they haven’t done much to truly acknowledge what seems to me to be a pretty obvious interpretation.

    Yes, my site uses gravatars. I like the gravatars and wish more people would set them up. It sure beats those squiggly monsters!

  6. (HEY! I like my squiggly monsters! :-))

    Artistically, I can see Delonas’ point of view – ‘hell, if the audience is too uninformed on current news to see my intent, fuck ’em.’

    I was one of the audence who had not heard about the chimp incident in CT (or was it elsewhere?) and the maiming of a woman. Obviously, I gasped and thought, WTF?

    That said.

    WTF, indeed.

    I have a problem with the newspaper. THEY are the ones with the responsibility to the audience. How the editorial staff could not see that the cartoon can be seen as having overt racist tones, I don’t know.

    I am still on the fence on this – it’s that old debate on intent vs. perception vs. interpretation of any artistic piece of work.

    Tough one. When that artist, Chris Ofili, did a depiction of the Virgin Mary using elephant shit as medium, many people interpreted that as sacrilege.

    I do understand that this is slightly (!) more charged due to the violence… hm…

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