Monday, February 23, 2009

Hear no evil, see no evil, print no evil...

By now I am sure that many of you have heard about or seen the controversial cartoon from the New York Post; the one with the chimp, and the cops, and talk about the stimulus package. Upon seeing the cartoon I was shocked and confused. The cartoon had (at least to me) extremely racist imagery.

1. Cops with guns drawn (drawn as in pulled out and at the ready not as in cartoon drawn (duh))
2. A dead chimp shot several times bleeding on the ground
3. The words "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill"
4. All directly across from a picture of President Obama signing the new piece of legislation.

Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post stated, "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy."

I’m sorry Mr. Allen, but when you use the word clear to describe something, that usually means that there is no debate or confusion about what we’re all seeing. Now I don't know about you, but the whole thing seemed pretty racist to me. This was approved by an editor, seen by multiple individuals, and no one thought to say “Hey, this might not go over so well...” Interesting.

As someone born and raised in New York, there are entirely too many cases of police brutality against Blacks to not find this alarming; Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, and Sean Bell are only a few examples of police violence against Blacks. Add that to the all too common association of Blacks with chimps, monkeys, etc. I find it a little hard to believe that the cartoonist and the editors at the New York Post were that clueless.

But hey, maybe the author thought that the pet chimpanzee going crazy and ripping off its owner’s face was funny and that everyone would get the joke. Or maybe the people who worked at the Post saw it didn't care… Well actually, the latter isn't too hard to believe considering the New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Yes, the same guy who controls Fox News. You do the math.

The thing about racist acts is that individuals can see them differently. While some people were outraged, some simply shrugged their shoulders and said “what's the big deal.” While some people immediately got on their phones and called the paper, others simply turned to the next page. How do you define something as racist, if the people who “should” be offended don't all agree that anything happened at all?

I thought the New York Post knew better, and the cartoon was offensive. Is it just me?

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