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Delonas cartoon proves racially questionable

A Sean Delonas editorial cartoon that ran in the New York Post is raising some questions about his intent and whether it could be viewed as racist. The cartoon was published yesterday and depicts two police officers standing over a chimpanzee shot dead by one of the officers. One police man says, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

The exact intent is subjective. There was a national story yesterday of a chimp that had to be shot after it mauled a 55-year-old woman in Connecticut. Various interpretations offered in the blogosphere range from thinking that the stimulus bill was so bad it was written by monkeys to a racist view that the chimp was President Obama. That last view was the one taken by Rev. Al Sharpton who has said,

The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that “Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.”

“Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?”

UPDATE: NY Post editor-in-chief Col Allan is defending the cartoon.

“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. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.”

Community Comments

#1 Yvette Harper
February/18/2009
@ 10:24 am

This guy is pathetic and he should be FIRED. The President did not right the bill himself. A group of individual lawmakers started on the package before Obama was elected. Time will tell if the stimulus package is not effective.

It is this attitude that has held up progress in race relations for years. Where is the cartoon of the cops shooting the people that got us into this mess.

#2 Daryl Patterson
February/18/2009
@ 10:34 am

It isn’t questionable. The intent is clear, obvious, blatant, et al.

The election of Barack Obama as our 44th President is essentially providing America with a mirror image of itself. Now what?

#3 Beth Cravens
February/18/2009
@ 10:38 am

I’m going with the first interpretation. The stimulus bill was written by chimps. I guess the cartoonist only knows for sure. I can’t imagine my editor running it.

#4 Ted Rall
February/18/2009
@ 10:43 am

I don’t know Sean, but I’ve been reading his cartoons in the Post for years. It’s obvious to me that this idea started out in his mind as nothing more than a way to combine two current news stories, a tactic used by many editorial cartoonists.

The two stories in this case were the stimulus package getting passed, and the monkey attack. Sean obviously thought that the bill was so bad that a monkey might have written it, perhaps with a dollop of the old cliché about 1000 monkeys typing at 1000 typewriters. I am 99% certain that making a racial analogy between Obama and said simian never entered his mind. If anything, he probably didn’t even think of the authors of the bill as being Obama, but rather his (white) economic advisers. Obama, after all, didn’t “write” the stimulus bill.

It was definitely an idiotic analogy. But I don’t think it reveals a racist mind at work. Could be wrong, of course. But I don’t think so.

#5 Matt Wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 10:59 am

I don’t know. I think it’s more damning of Delonis.

I agree with Yevette that given the historic tensions in New York over police shootings with racial subtexts he had to know he was playing with fire with this image.

I think it’s emblematic of the right completely coming unhinged by Obama’s presidency. if you follow Glen Beck or Hannity’s show ( or listen to Rush for that matter ) the tropes they’re using are completely out of control.

Comparing Obama to Satan just the other day or screeching about Communism, they are unmoored in a sea of their biases, hatreds and ignorance and I’m afraid on some levels racism.

I think this cartoon is just one more example of how they’re not even aware of what exactly they’re giving vent to.

If he wanted to say it was about 1000 chimps at typewriters it seems he should have made some attempt at alluding to that– say by at least throwing in a typewriter…someplace.

#6 Darrin Bell
February/18/2009
@ 11:02 am

This is every bit as stupid a cartoon as the David Cohen one. How could a fully-grown American (and his editors) not realize how this would be perceived? What’s next, a cartoon combining a critique about Joe Lieberman with the latest rat-infestation story? A critique about the GOP combined with the latest story about crackers?

Monkey metaphors aren’t new to editorial cartoons, but context is everything and you’re not doing your job if you don’t recognize that. Leave the monkeys out of your arsenal when you’re commenting on a black person’s administration if you don’t want the inevitable perception that you’re a bigot to obscure what you were really trying to say.

#7 Joe Rank
February/18/2009
@ 11:11 am

I gotta go with Sharpton on this. The cartoonist and the editors should be questioned as to what the heck they were thinking. Really wooden headed.
I find it highly doubtful that this conflating of the chimp story with meaningful legislation would have been imagined by deeper intellects in a different context. Wouldn’t have happened. Realizing that this is a commom editorial technique means that the artist has to be extra vigilant for possible nuance if resorting to this mental laziness.
Especially egregious is the violent outcome depicted, given the documented threats widely disseminated that have been directed towards our new president that people in the opinion field SHOULD know about.

#8 Wiley Miller
February/18/2009
@ 11:12 am

I think it was just such bad idea, on so many levels, that it shouldn’t have even gotten past the sketching stage, much less approved by an editor.

Then again, it is the New York Post. Not exactly the bastion of intelligence and good taste.

#9 Kevin Moore
February/18/2009
@ 11:15 am

I think Ted is right, in terms of where Delonas was coming from – this definitely feels like a formulaic combination of two recognizable news stories. Also, it would have made sense had Hillary Clinton won the presidency instead of Obama (or John McCain, for that matter.) Not that it’s a good gag – it would still be sucky hack-work.

That said, Darrin has a point. The racist associations noted by Sharpton have a long history, so any political cartoonist who is serious about overcoming racism should keep those in mind when using monkeys and apes as metaphors. I think this is a case of “accidental racism” or “racist potential” – wherein the cartoonist despite intentions stumbles into a thicket of thorny implications. And – to anticipate a defensive response – there is nothing wrong with expecting political artists to take more care and thought about how their work is going to be received. If you have a serious point to make – even while trying to make a funny – it shouldn’t get obscured by sloppy execution.

#10 Matt Bors
February/18/2009
@ 11:51 am

But there’s no racist intent here–just trying to force two unrelated topics together at all costs.

I like how the Huffington Post has it as their top story as if this is the most important news in the country. NEWSFLASH: Delonas a hack! They’re a few years late with that scoop. But mostly they want to foment rage with Obama supporters since the site has become his biggest fan club in the media.

#11 Cory Thomas
February/18/2009
@ 12:07 pm

Eh. Maybe I’m being naive. But I feel like the issue should have died once his intentions were made clear.

Like a lot of other controversies, there seems to be debate over how it COULD be interpreted, as opposed to what it actually means. I never understand why the case isn’t closed with “that’s not what it meant.”

(assuming the creator isn’t being disingenuous.)

#12 Jim Lavery
February/18/2009
@ 12:17 pm

I mostly agree with Ted–although I wouldn’t be suprised if the idea of it coming across as racist entered his mind and he said “That wasn’t my intent so I’m not backing away, screw it” In one sense a cartoonist should have that attitude, being anti-establishment and not kowtowing to political correctness. On the other hand, one needs to be able to discern what is actual PC tripe and what could come across as truly offensive and then decide on whether it’s worth offending people (even unintentionally)at the expense of expressing a point of view.

#13 Joe Rank
February/18/2009
@ 12:19 pm

“Eh. Maybe I?m being naive. But I feel like the issue should have died once his intentions were made clear.” – Cory Thomas

Haven’t heard from Delonas yet, Cory..only his editor.So, we don’t know the artists “intent”.

Perhaps Delonas will offer a rebuttal by reversing the cartoon and having the chimp shoot the cops?

#14 Jim Lavery
February/18/2009
@ 12:19 pm

Have his intentions been made clear? I haven’t heard anything from him.

#15 John Cole
February/18/2009
@ 12:52 pm

My initial response to the cartoon was “wha?” An hour later, that’s still my response.

Rule of thumb, though: The use of monkeys, apes, gorillas, watermelons, bling, gang signs, fried chicken, raccoons, shuffling feet or overly large lips as graphic metaphors for anything related to the current president will be attacked as racist by a sizeable number of readers, regardless of the cartoonist’s “intent.”

And this list is not complete.

Any cartoonist who doesn’t get this is – and I’m being charitable – clueless.

#16 Darrin Bell
February/18/2009
@ 12:59 pm

“Eh. Maybe I?m being naive. But I feel like the issue should have died once his intentions were made clear.”

Because these are issues cartoonists should talk about and learn from. We’ve had two of these cartoons in one week, where the clumsy imagery and tone-deaf thinking of the cartoonists completely derailed the stated points of the cartoons. If we don’t point this out, it’ll keep happening.

#17 Cory Thomas
February/18/2009
@ 1:38 pm

“Because these are issues cartoonists should talk about and learn from. We?ve had two of these cartoons in one week, where the clumsy imagery and tone-deaf thinking of the cartoonists completely derailed the stated points of the cartoons. If we don?t point this out, it?ll keep happening.”

Oh, I understand why it needs to be held out and discussed. And why an ignorant ‘offender’ might need to be educated on his choices or critiqued on his execution.

What I’m talking about is the outrage. Why does the outrage persist?

Mostly, though, I’m concerned about the death of monkey humor.

#18 Matt Wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 1:48 pm

Corey, it’s rarely good cartoons that get the attention. Just look at the lousy Danish cartoons that caused the huge ruckus.

If Delonas isn’t explaining what he intended I want to point out what’s odd in what anyone can see in the cartoon itself.

The scene he chose to set it in isn’t either a rural Connecticut scene like where the late chimp lived or set in Washington where the stimulus package was written. It’s on what looks like an urban street, say in New York– parked cars, sidewalks and parking meters. Seems to invoke police shootings in Gotham, doesn’t it? Why’s that?

I’m not saying it was intentional but it is kind of odd.

#19 Matt Wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 1:51 pm

Cory, Sorry I to mangle your name. I did it to Delonis too, earlier.

dyslexicly yers
Matt

#20 Rich Diesslin
February/18/2009
@ 2:22 pm

I feel bad for the monkeys in general. The callous act of one monkey has tarnished their image, then to be associated with stimulus package!?! Insult to injury.

Seriously though, I’m guessing this is one the cartoonist would like back. It was an awkward juxtaposition of events at best, and easily subject to misinterpretation at worst. Well said Darrin on cartoonists derailing their points.

#21 Alan Gardner
February/18/2009
@ 2:25 pm

I’ve updated the post (above) to include a statement made by the editor to Politico defending the cartoon.

As an aside, I thought the cartoon was pretty lame and even wondered if it was worth mentioning. By the amount of noise it’s created in the blog and twittersphere, it’s become quite the story.

#22 Daryl Patterson
February/18/2009
@ 2:30 pm

Hey Folks,

Cory, the outrage mirrors the reaction many expressed when The President’s former Pastor was Jeremiah Wright. Essentially, it boils down to maintaining a standard of racial understanding and decorum.

I don’t buy into the notion that a veteran news person/political cartoonist wouldn’t be aware of the more than two hundred years old racial connection between monkey/apes/baboons and African Americans. That, to me, is naive thinking.

#23 Jesse Cline
February/18/2009
@ 3:03 pm

“The callous act of one monkey has tarnished their image”

It was actually a chimp, and thus an ape. The monkeys are still in the clear. ;)

I would say that I am shocked that this cartoon even got past an editor, but its the NY Post so I’m not really surprised.

#24 Joe Rank
February/18/2009
@ 3:26 pm

Just a side note as to what depictions of President Obama are evidently acceptable thus far: Atlas, some kind of driver / pilot, basketball player, Lincoln, Santa Claus.

The right wingers seem to get by dressing him up in Middle-East attire, or making him into a religious icon or prophet.

Not one month into this administration, and we all are getting a good lesson about how to portray President Obama; and some object lessons concerning the lingering virulence of some among us.
( Hey, I get dibs on drawing the “Caveman Cartoonist”! )

#25 Matt Wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 3:37 pm

Sorry, Joe. I already did the “Caveman Cartoonist ”
…not that you couldn’t improve upon it…..

http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=19002

#26 Phil Wohlrab
February/18/2009
@ 3:57 pm

I think a plane with the word “Stimulus” written across it crashing into the US dollar would have been inappropriate as well.

But more to the point.

#27 Abell Smith
February/18/2009
@ 4:08 pm

“What I?m talking about is the outrage. Why does the outrage persist?”

Maybe it’s sort of a necessary form of “cartooning Darwinism.” If a cartoonist is too stupid to have something click in his head that maybe he shouldn’t do a ‘toon because of a clear racial subtext, or if he is indeed motivated in some way by racism and doesn’t want to admit it or thinks he can get away with it by feigning ignorance, then he should be subject to widespread outrage from the HuffPo crowd and derided as a hack.

#28 Barry Deutsch
February/18/2009
@ 4:14 pm

“But there?s no racist intent here?just trying to force two unrelated topics together at all costs.”

I think it’s a common mistake to turn discussions of racism into discussions of white people’s good intentions. Good intentions don’t make everything okay.

I don’t think it matters what was in his heart. What matters is what’s in the cartoon. And it’s a racist cartoon.

#29 Mike Lester
February/18/2009
@ 4:53 pm

This cartoon is racist. So are the words “niggardly” and “black hole” and if you can’t see it, you’re an inbred Southern redneck.

Sincerely,
Mike Lester
Inbred Southern Redneck

P.S. Good rule of thumb: if you find yourself on the same side of an argument as Al Sharpton, you might re-think it. Seriously, who cobbles together two polar opposite news items into editorial commentary like this? And who implemented a “monkey ban”? At least I won’t have to suffer “see no evil” or King Kong or Tarzan cartoons for the next four years. That ban alone would cut in half most metaphors used by the cartoonists in America.

#30 Garey Mckee
February/18/2009
@ 5:13 pm

How could Delonas draw this cartoon and not see this coming a mile away? Regardless of the attempt at pulling together two unrelated news stories to feign wit, the cartoonist had to have known that a racial interpretation is not a great leap here.

Wether that was his intent or not, the imagery is pretty obvious, plus the use of the word “they’ll” seems to me to be another nail in it’s coffin. They? They who?

#31 RS Davis
February/18/2009
@ 5:16 pm

This is stunning.

For 8 years the left savaged Bush, calling him every horrible name under the sun. Editorial cartoonists, comedians, journalists couldn’t use enough negative, hate filled lies to attack and destroy the man personally. There was NO subject off limits: his daughters, alcoholism, his faith, nothing. I heard many times how lefties wished he were dead, would die, get assassinated, whatever.
There has never been, IMHO, a more aggressive, concerted all out assault to destroy a person than the one the media unleashed on Bush.
And now, one stupid cartoon about a chimp getting shot over presumably writing the stimulus package and we’re at Def-Con 1.
Sheese….and we’re not done yet.
Apparently, the all knowing, all seeing judges of humanity on this topic can see straight through the hearts of man and judge them as blatant racists, no matter WHAT they actually did.

Quote “I think this cartoon is just one more example of how they?re not even aware of what exactly they?re giving vent to.”

Quote “I don?t think it matters what was in his heart. What matters is what?s in the cartoon. And it?s a racist cartoon.”

Great. How Orwellian. We can twist what you did, no matter what your intent or who you are, we can judge you as a racist and you’re too stupid to know it, or you’re a racist because we say so, even if you’re not.

Unimaginable. Where was all the outrage when cartoonist said Bush planned 9-11 and intentionally killed US citizens? Where was the indignation when Murtha called our soldiers terrorists and baby killers? Where was the howling when cartoonists drew Condi Rice as Aunt Jemima? Who screamed and called for censorship when Craig Kilborn on the Late Late Show played clips of Bush with “SNIPERS WANTED” flashing below?

There is no racism here and no cause for outrage. This is hypocrisy trying to crush anyone who disagrees with a radically leftist President.

If that cartoon made you mad and you were not, simply as an American, outraged by what all the left wing cartoonists and other media hacks did to Bush, then you?re either a dunce, have the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel or are just exactly what you accuse those on the right of being, what was it, oh yeah…
“unmoored in a sea of their biases, hatreds and ignorance?

Get off it. Delonas maybe be guilty of a lame cartoon, but those screaming one of the worst accusations that can be made, racism, over it, REGARDLESS of who the man really is, his intentions or his past work, is far more frightening and a bigger crime that anything he did.

#32 Matt Wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 5:32 pm

….now THAT was stunning.

If you can’t distinguish between hard hitting political satire and racial slurs that’s a shame. Despite your head being in the sand there happens to be a broad deep and utterly despicable tradition of racism in America. Calling attention to it is not Orwellian. Being a prominent cartoonist and not being sensitive to it is stunning.

There was plenty of outrage over similar over the line cartoons about Condi when it came to racial imagery… and appropriately so.

As for the abusive satire aimed at Bush, if only there had been more!… and we’d been spared the last 8 years. Just take a look around you RS, your outrage is sadly and comically misdirected

#33 Charlos Gary
February/18/2009
@ 5:49 pm

There is no excuse for a cartoon like this. Period. I’ve been reading Delonas’ toons for years and, like all of us, he has his hits and misses. But this one take the cake.

#34 Carl Moore
February/18/2009
@ 5:54 pm

For once, I agree with Ted Rall. Delonas is straining to bring together two events in one cartoon and it’s not a gem. But it’s not racist.

#35 Abell Smith
February/18/2009
@ 5:58 pm

RS, thy name is indignation…

#36 Rich Diesslin
February/18/2009
@ 6:23 pm

I’d have to go back to Cory in post #11 on this … if the cartoonist didn’t intend the slight, time to get off the soapboxes and let it go. Learn from it, but still, let it go. Not that criticism isn’t warranted, it is, but I think it’s a tough job not to get a few dudes or misfires along the way.

As much as I’d have to say that RS’s gravatar creeps me out (texas chain saw massacre style) I also agree with him that there is a double-standard in the mainline media on who they scrutinize and why, but it’s been that way since I can remember. In a way though, the imbalance created an opportunity for other media to come along with their points of view.

Finally, I still feel that imply in any way that chimps wrote the stimulus bill is wrong. They would have done a much better job.

#37 Milt Priggee
February/18/2009
@ 6:23 pm

racist (?)….. hack (?)….

I don’t care what you say about me ….just as long as you keep saying something.

just saying

#38 Carl Moore
February/18/2009
@ 6:54 pm

This discussion brings up an intersting question. Has the Obama presidency made us more sensitive to race or less sensitive to race? Just wondering. I’m not sure what the answer to that question is.

#39 Joe Rank
February/18/2009
@ 7:02 pm

For those that think this cartoon is awful, wait until you see the one that compares Obama with the Jonestown massacre.

Guess who came up with THAT gem?

Where does a depiction like that fall on the acceptable / out-of-bounds line?

Would any of us here do that?

#40 Charles Brubaker
February/18/2009
@ 7:34 pm

Just so we’re clear, the cartoon Joe is talking about is this one:

http://comics.com/mike_lester/2009-02-18/

#41 Brian Fairrington
February/18/2009
@ 8:15 pm

I am always amazed when critics rush to condemn something and in the course of their criticism cite the most extreme parallels.

It happened when critics compared Bush to Hitler. This type of criticism demeans the actual event or circumstance (in that case the Holocaust) and it overshadows the argument at hand.

I believe calling this cartoon blatantly racist and interpreting Sean Delonas intentions as pure racism are very much in the same vein.

There are several fact in this case:

First of all. Obama did not write the bill, congress did.

Secondly, Delonas did not just pull this comparison out of the air…a monkey was indeed shot.

Thirdly, depicting congress or other government employees as chimpanzees is a very well used cartooning metaphor.

Here are several examples I could find (and I am sure there are many more)

Oliphant did it on April 30th 1981.

Oliphant did it again march 6th 1992.

Borgman depicted congress as a bunch of monkeys in Wok City several times in 1995.

It is important to consider the source of this fire. This is the same fire that was ignited under Don Imus for his alleged racial insensitivity’s despite the overwhelming case evidence of the same transgression coming out of the Rap music genre.

The bottom line is all of this controversy is being ignited by Al Sharpton, the king of opportunists. This is the same Al Sharpton who in March of 2007 criticized Obama for not doing enough for he black community and catering to the white power elite…in other words not being black enough.

One cannot overlook the historical sensitivities of classic racial stereotypes. Having said that, it’s a good thing Bush was not a black man since he was portrayed as a chimp many, many times.

Was it a bad cartoon? Perhaps. Was it racist? Absolutely not.

#42 Garey Mckee
February/18/2009
@ 8:52 pm

So I have a question, which may or may not be off topic here. But reading this thread and thinking of our other discussions brings it to mind: In editorial cartooning, do only the “bad” cartoons get talked about? Is it the hallmark of a “good” editorial cartoon for a reader to glance at it and maybe smirk or grin a little (if that) and go on to the next item on his or her agenda?

Joe and I had a discussion about a “reactionary public.” Does only bad work get attention and get a reaction from readers?

By the way, I put “bad” and “good” in quotes because I do realize that they are very subjective terms here.

#43 matt wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 8:56 pm

Brian–
Don’t you think changing the subject to Sharpton is, well, changing the subject?

Of the facts you list, you don’t have one that acknowledges long, centuries old, tradition of using monkey/gorilla images as a classic racist trope. Saying that Oliphant and other cartoonists have portrayed Congress as monkeys simply misses the point entirely.

I don’t think I said Delonas is a racist. But I think a lot of people are saying the cartoon he created can very easily be seen as having a racist interpretation.

What would be the harm in him coming forward and saying, I’m really sorry if people misunderstand what the cartoon was about. I’m sensitive to how these sorts of images can be misconstrued and regret that is was misunderstood.

It might be interesting to go back and compare how Barry Blitt and the New Yorker handled the misconstruing of his famously misunderstood cover. I think they pretty much expressed regret over the misfiring of the joke.

Delonas instead seems to be acting like he’s the victim here.

Can’t wait for Mike Lester’s aggrieved white man’s reaction to this whole thing…..

#44 RS Davis
February/18/2009
@ 8:59 pm

Matt,
I indeed can distinguish between hard hitting political satire and racial slurs. (I also detect highhanded arrogance, but that is beside the point.) This cartoon was not hard hitting. It was simply lame.

And unilaterally declaring something is what you say it is just because you believe it is, no matter the evidence or historical facts suggest, and making your target wrong no matter what his intent was, puts you in very interesting company.

You sound just like George W. Bush.

He saw WMD’s in Iraq, you see racism in cartoons.

Interesting parallel, and fitting.

Facts don’t matter, history doesn’t matter, evidence or intent doesn’t matter – your target is wrong and bad and is guilty because you see it that way, period.

Now, isn’t that attitude EXACTLY the type of thing Bush was flamed for?

Funny how intolerant absolutism isn’t really exclusive to any political ideology, isn’t it?

BTW, I don’t think being upset that someone is being tried, convicted and crucified over a PC cross without sufficient evidence to support such an incindiary, damaging accusation as ‘racism’ is “sadly and comically misdirected” – it is called wanting decency and fairness and I’d defend ANYONE from this type of dangerous witchhunt.

#45 matt wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 9:51 pm

MS–
We’re now moving beyond Al Sharpton and into moral absolutism and WMDs ? What are we arguing about?

It’s really pretty simple. We have our first black president in history. I believe anyone with any sense of that history, race relations and the history of racist imagery in political cartoons would look at the lame cartoon we’re all talking about and feel kind of uncomfortable…at the very least.

I’ll go a little further and suggest that those of you who really dislike our new president would be wise to watch what kinds of images you deploy in your cartoons. I don’t think that’s PC. I think it’s called being aware of your own history and respecting it and your fellow Americans.

You’re in favor of decency you say, and I think that’s exactly the point.

I can’t believe you called me George Bush. I’ve never been so insulted in my life…..

#46 Joe Rank
February/18/2009
@ 9:52 pm

Gee, some cartoonistologers are sophists, apologiacologists, and rightwingweeniewillies.
BIG THURPRIZE!

( Engaging my inner Walt Kelly )

We have met the enemy, and he is YOU!

( And YOU know who I is sayin’ )

Jes’ sayin’….

#47 matt wuerker
February/18/2009
@ 9:55 pm

Darrin had it right at the top–

“Monkey metaphors aren?t new to editorial cartoons, but context is everything and you?re not doing your job if you don?t recognize that. Leave the monkeys out of your arsenal when you?re commenting on a black person?s administration if you don?t want the inevitable perception that you?re a bigot to obscure what you were really trying to say.”

#48 Chris Souza
February/18/2009
@ 10:07 pm

Quote ?I don?t think it matters what was in his heart. What matters is what?s in the cartoon. And it?s a racist cartoon.?

Great. How Orwellian. We can twist what you did, no matter what your intent or who you are, we can judge you as a racist and you?re too stupid to know it, or you?re a racist because we say so, even if you?re not.”

That’s a pretty radical interpretation of the quote you cited. The person you quoted did not say that the author was racist. He said that the cartoon was racist. Why do so many people object to the very simple fact that a person can do something racist without meaning to? It happens every day.

#49 Darrin Bell
February/18/2009
@ 10:17 pm

“I am always amazed when critics rush to condemn something and in the course of their criticism cite the most extreme parallels. …It happened when critics compared Bush to Hitler. This type of criticism demeans the actual event or circumstance (in that case the Holocaust) and it overshadows the argument at hand.”

…and then…

“I believe calling this cartoon blatantly racist and interpreting Sean Delonas intentions as pure racism are very much in the same vein.”

Brian, I don’t want to be argumentative just for the sake of arguing, but it’s pretty funny that you’re comparing this to Hitler analogies in an effort to condemn exaggeration.

And none of the facts you listed rationalize this cartoon. At best, Sean and his editors were naive; they should have known that people weren’t going to stop and say “but it was Congress that wrote the bill,” since this has been universally described as Obama’s stimulus bill. Cartoonists are supposed to be aware how this sort of thing works because we don’t have the luxury of 700-1000 words to explain ourselves.

“Here are several examples I could find (and I am sure there are many more)

Oliphant did it on April 30th 1981.

Oliphant did it again march 6th 1992.

Borgman depicted congress as a bunch of monkeys in Wok City several times in 1995.”

As I said above, CONTEXT is everything. When Oliphant and Borgman did it, they weren’t talking about bills championed by black people. I think if you’re a grown-up American and you don’t know why you shouldn’t use MONKEYS in your critiques of black politicians, you need to read more American history books.

Finally, Mike Lester said: “P.S. Good rule of thumb: if you find yourself on the same side of an argument as Al Sharpton, you might re-think it.”

To which I say Al Sharpton’s been known to enjoy a good steak. Does that mean you’re going to be a vegetarian?

#50 Abell Smith
February/18/2009
@ 10:21 pm

“Can?t wait for Mike Lester?s aggrieved white man?s reaction to this whole thing?”

I too eagerly await Mike’s argument. Always a classic…

#51 Charles Brubaker
February/18/2009
@ 11:47 pm

Obviously you guys missed comment #29.

#52 Matt Bors
February/19/2009
@ 12:14 am

“I too eagerly await Mike?s argument. Always a classic?”

I’m more into RS Davis these days.

#53 varmint
February/19/2009
@ 2:08 am

do you all realize the freedom you’re giving up? al sharpton misinterprets the hell out of a cartoon, and your answer is to swear off ever going near the issue again?

#54 Barry Deutsch
February/19/2009
@ 2:22 am

Quote ?I don?t think it matters what was in his heart. What matters is what?s in the cartoon. And it?s a racist cartoon.?

Great. How Orwellian. We can twist what you did, no matter what your intent or who you are, we can judge you as a racist and you?re too stupid to know it, or you?re a racist because we say so, even if you?re not.

Please reread what I wrote, because you seem to have read exactly the opposite of what I said. I’m not judging whether or not the cartoonist is a racist. I’m not condemning him or saying he should never work again.

I don’t know or care if he’s a racist. I’m critiquing the cartoon, not the cartoonist.

And since you asked, I have criticized racist images of Condi Rice in cartoons. I’ve also criticized anti-semitic images in left-wing cartoons. And I said the same thing then that I’m saying now: it’s about what’s in the cartoon, not about what’s in the cartoonist’s heart.

Delonas maybe be guilty of a lame cartoon, but those screaming one of the worst accusations that can be made, racism, over it, REGARDLESS of who the man really is, his intentions or his past work, is far more frightening and a bigger crime that anything he did.

No one here has said Delonas committed a crime.

I also don’t agree that racism — especially racism that’s quite likely inadvertent — is “one of the worst accusations that can be made.” Thinking of it that way is a mistake, because it makes it impossible to talk about minor racist slights. If someone tells me “I think that this cartoon is kind of racist,” that’s not at all the same as them saying “you’re a KKK member!” And if I take it as if they’ve accused me of being a monster, then all I do is guarantee that no productive discussion can take place.

Two links I’d recommend you read:

First, directly related to this controversy, Kevin’s newest cartoon, “Racism 101 for White Cartoonists,” which is brilliant.

And second, RS, I’d recommend you read this post I wrote a couple of years ago: How Not To Be Insane When Accused Of Racism.

#55 Joe Rank
February/19/2009
@ 5:05 am

Sorry, Joe. I already did the ?Caveman Cartoonist ?
?not that you couldn?t improve upon it?..

http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=19002

Thanks, Matt.

Common theme ( and I couldn’t improve on your wuerk! Different styles are welcome. )

Did this one years ago:
http://cartoonstock.com/blowup_stock.asp?imageref=jra0166&artist=Rank,+Joseph&topic=artist+

#56 Dave Stephens
February/19/2009
@ 5:29 am

Bush was drawn as a monkey over and over again. Nobody blinked.
So, what, Obama can’t be drawn the same way? Noooooo, that would be racist! LOL

Hilarious. And fully predictable, too.

#57 Dave Stephens
February/19/2009
@ 5:46 am

Every day someone will call out, “RACIST! BIGOT!” at a cartoon that, previously, with a white president, was just FINE.

Mark my words, this “calling out” will continue non-stop until his term ends…

#58 Chris Myers
February/19/2009
@ 6:38 am

It’s an editorial cartoon, get a rise out of people if what editorial cartoons do.

If celebrating the election of a minority to the Presidency is a breakthrough for the US, that same President should be treated the same as every President before him.

Welcome to equality in America!

As for Mr. Sharpton, the only way he will get noticed now is to find offense in everything as he and the Rev. Jesse have been pushed aside finally.

#59 Mike Peterson
February/19/2009
@ 7:04 am

We need a Family Circus-style cartoon showing the winding, meandering trail taken by people who just can’t seem to find the point of this conversation.

I understand that a lot of people still don’t understand why the term “squaw” offends Indians. Fair enough. But to not understand that being depicted as apes and monkeys is offensive to black people? Come on, folks.

Making fun of Bush’s personal appearance was rude and offensive on a personal level. That’s how cartoons work sometimes. But it was not offensive to white people in general.

Look, if you don’t get it and you have an honest interest in figuring it out, try this example: Given the economic problems and the president’s attempt to get money out to the states, you could do a cartoon of governors lining up in front of the White House, with the three-balled sign of a pawnbroker hanging over the portico. People could agree or disagree with your cartoon, but it wouldn’t be offensive.

However, if all else were the same except that Joe Lieberman were president, that cartoon would be offensive.

Get it? Geez, I feel like I’m lecturing a collection of professional chefs on how to boil water.

#60 Rick Stromoski
February/19/2009
@ 7:26 am

Take a pot…put it in the sink…turn on the faucet…um, what comes next?

#61 Mike Peterson
February/19/2009
@ 8:10 am

Copper side down, Rick. Copper side down.

#62 Jim Lavery
February/19/2009
@ 8:57 am

I think the cartoon should be recaptioned “They?ll have to find someone else to draw cartoons for The Post.?

#63 Dean Turnbloom
February/19/2009
@ 9:27 am

As I was driving to work this morning, I heard the radio host of the show I normally listen to talking about the blatantly racist cartoon in which one cop said to the other, after shooting the chimp that mauled the lady, “I guess they’ll have to get someone else to sign the stimulus package”. I was appalled that any newspaper would print such a vile and repugnant racial slur. When I arrived at work, I decided to see the cartoon for myself. Much to my surprise, the cartoon wasn’t as described. The cartoon actually said, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill”

To me this says a lot more about the people who interpret the cartoon as racist than about either the cartoonist or the paper. I do not see this to be racist at all…but I’m not so sure about those who are “offended” by it…

#64 Rosa Pedersen
February/19/2009
@ 9:40 am

RS Davis brought up a bunch of comics where politicians were drawn as chimps. But can anyone think of a comic showing someone *shooting* the President?

Because to me, it’s the combination of the drawing style, the chimp, and the police shooting that is making this one notorious. No one of the three would have been notable on their own.

#65 John Auchter
February/19/2009
@ 9:53 am

Tragic. Yet again a not very good cartoon brings attention to editorial cartooning — the only attention it seems to get. Please, PLEASE, would somebody read (and take intended offense) to the good ones?!

#66 Darrin Bell
February/19/2009
@ 10:10 am

“do you all realize the freedom you?re giving up?”

No one’s giving up any freedom. You’ve still got every right to draw a poorly thought-out cartoon with clumsy, historically blind imagery that’ll obscure what you’re really trying to say.

And others still have every right to notice.

#67 Kevin Moore
February/19/2009
@ 10:43 am

Well said, Darrin.

Thanks for the link, Barry.

#68 Chris Souza
February/19/2009
@ 10:58 am


?do you all realize the freedom you?re giving up??

No one?s giving up any freedom. You?ve still got every right to draw a poorly thought-out cartoon with clumsy, historically blind imagery that?ll obscure what you?re really trying to say.

And others still have every right to notice.

It’s quite hilarious, Darrin. Every time someone is called out for being a jerk, someone has to come along and pretend we’re violating their freedom of speech. These same people also seem to think that being fired from a private company for doing something offensive is the deepest violation of civil liberties. It’s always good for a few chuckles. :)

#69 Brian Fairrington
February/19/2009
@ 12:54 pm

Darrin-

Isn’t this the ultimate goal?

As a society aren’t we working towards the goal of being divorced of all the negative racial hatred as evidence by our own history? Don’t we want to have generations of young people who look at someone or something and don’t think of it in racial terms?

Don’t we want each new generation to vote for a candidate for president based on his or her qualifications and characters while the candidates race or ethnicity never enters their minds? Wasn’t there at least some of this with Barack Obama? Didn’t at least some of the new young voters, both black and white, vote for him because they grew up largely removed from being reminded of negative historical racial stereotypes?

Don’t we want to get to a point where we can look at a cartoon and see only the comparisons between the politicians and a monkey as nothing more than a editorial comment that states “even a monkey could write that bill.”

History is vital. Those who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it, as they say. However, at what point does the constant, over-hyped, over-blown activist campaigning begin to work against the goal the racial neutrality due to their knee jerk reactions to everything there perceive as racist- even though it may not be.

#70 Brian Fairrington
February/19/2009
@ 12:56 pm

Repost-

Darrin-

“I think if you?re a grown-up American and you don?t know why you shouldn?t use MONKEYS in your critiques of black politicians, you need to read more American history books.”

Isn’t this the ultimate goal?

As a society aren’t we working towards the goal of being divorced of all the negative racial hatred as evidence by our own history? Don’t we want to have generations of young people who look at someone or something and don’t think of it in racial terms?

Don’t we want each new generation to vote for a candidate for president based on his or her qualifications and characters while the candidates race or ethnicity never enters their minds? Wasn’t there at least some of this with Barack Obama? Didn’t at least some of the new young voters, both black and white, vote for him because they grew up largely removed from being reminded of negative historical racial stereotypes?

Don’t we want to get to a point where we can look at a cartoon and see only the comparisons between the politicians and a monkey as nothing more than a editorial comment that states “even a monkey could write that bill.”

History is vital. Those who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it, as they say. However, at what point does the constant, over-hyped, over-blown activist campaigning begin to work against the goal the racial neutrality due to their knee jerk reactions to everything there perceive as racist- even though it may not be.

#71 Pamela Hairston
February/19/2009
@ 2:53 pm

It truly amazes me how much America is still so much in denial of this race thing. Don’t you people know that our United States Congress used to describe us black Americans as “beast of the field”, a term lifted from the Bible often used by white supremacist to help justify slavery? Don’t you people know that we, black Americans, are also often referred to as “coons” also, in reference to raccoons, also an animal? That said, we need to respect President Obama, the first black man in the White House. Peace.

#72 P.S. Mueller
February/19/2009
@ 3:02 pm

Though I posted a response to a later thing, I feel a need to get two cents worth in here. What is forgotten in the fog of the argument is the editor-in-chief who signed off on the front page. Ultimately, it was an editorial call to include the cartoon in question.

I have heard that an editor of a daily newspaper is expected to be wise and responsible, or at the very least, careful.

To put sole blame on the cartoonist, who really had no final say over publication of his cartoon, is equivalent to faulting the U.S. taxpayers for President Bush’s war crimes. I mean, we only bought the guns and bombs. It was his decision to use them.

Hi Matt

#73 Lil King
February/19/2009
@ 3:03 pm

Delonas’s cartoon in the New York Post was RACIST. There are fair-minded, intelligent people in this country who should ban together and simply boycott any products of companies that advertise in the “newspaper” in order to shut this “newspaper” down and put Delonas out of a job. In Germany it is a crime for a citizen to deny the holocust. It should be a crime in this country for people to be racist. Don’t you think 400 years of beating, raping, murdering, enslaving, denying rights, freedom, education , pursuit of happiness, and every form of abuse is enough. Put Delonas in prision and let him rot.

#74 Tracy Mapes
February/19/2009
@ 3:40 pm

Judging from what I’m reading here? …You People are a bunch of Cartoon Wussies!

The Cartoonist’s primary job in life is to expose Truth through Controversy in hopes of sparky Discussion and Debate. This Cartoonist achieved that handily.

The Cartoonist brings societal undercurrents to the surface for closer examination. The things People know exist but have an unwritten code of not talking about because of their own fears of being judged.

Whether his determination to expose the deep racial tensions that exist in our country without written word? Or? Comparing our legislators out of control destructive Monkeys that just want a ride in the car? He Sparked that debate. And now you are talking about it.

A Public Service is not always pretty, but it may help society cope with its own demons as they face the discomfort of its reality.

– Tracy Mapes

There are a lot more dangerous threats going around this Country that endanger freedom of press, expression, and Our American way of life.

More threatening than a Cartoon. More threatening than Al Qaeda.

#75 Matt Bors
February/19/2009
@ 3:50 pm

“Whether his determination to expose the deep racial tensions that exist in our country without written word? ”

Delonas was secretly trying to spark a discussion about race relations? You’re kidding, right?

#76 Darrin Bell
February/19/2009
@ 3:54 pm

Brian wrote: “Isn?t this the ultimate goal?

As a society aren?t we working towards the goal of being divorced of all the negative racial hatred as evidence by our own history? Don?t we want to have generations of young people who look at someone or something and don?t think of it in racial terms?

Don?t we want each new generation to vote for a candidate for president based on his or her qualifications and characters while the candidates race or ethnicity never enters their minds? Wasn?t there at least some of this with Barack Obama? Didn?t at least some of the new young voters, both black and white, vote for him because they grew up largely removed from being reminded of negative historical racial stereotypes?”

———-

No. They voted for him because they haven’t internalized those stereotypes, not because they don’t know about them. Your goal, to get to the day when a monkey is just a monkey, is a fine one. But if there’s anything we should’ve learned from the past eight years of the Bush administration, it’s that you can’t just will your own ideal reality into existence. We’re not there yet, and we probably won’t be there until everyone who experienced the civil rights struggle (regardless of what side of it they were on) has been dead and buried for a couple generations. I expect that my great grandkids in the year 2109 won’t think twice about any of this.

Until then, we’re not going to get anywhere by pretending these stereotypes don’t exist and aren’t still being used to marginalize minorities. When the Drudge Report first linked to the actual Chimpanzee story (several hours before this cartoon nonsense broke), I knew what I’d find in that story’s comments section. Sure enough, people were posting comments like “Does Obama know his brother snapped?” This crap is still going on, Brian, and it’s easy for people who aren’t on the receiving end of it to sit back and say those who are shouldn’t care about it.

These historical stereotypes affect people, whether we cartoonists like that or not. And if we use them, it shouldn’t be gratuitously; it should be to consciously – purposely – communicate a point that we can stand behind. Every element we opinion types put in our work should advance our arguments, not obfuscate them. Otherwise we’ve EARNED the misunderstandings from our readers and the critiques of our colleagues, because we’re professionals who’ve committed malpractice.

#77 Joseph Watts
February/19/2009
@ 3:58 pm

This faux outrage is bordering on a mania. For all you fey, sanctimonious, race-obsessed freaks, the cartoon is clear. That you find racist offense says more about your own amblyopic preoccupations and less of the artists. Take a quick look at the link of “Condi Rice” cartoon images from a simple Google search:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=condi%20rice%20cartoon&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

If she was currently Obama’s Sec of State, would you not find such depictions as racist? I’m sure you would. Certain folks see race everywhere. Especially when it can attack something they don’t like. Eric Holder recently called Americans cowards for how they speak on race. No freakin’ wonder with a bunch of magician-eyed psuedo-savants running around just yearning for the next racial offense that isn’t there. Many of you surely consider yourselves daring artists. Well, then have the courage to consider that you’re full of sh*t on this one. And even you know it. The monkey in the frame represents congress and utilizes a current event to do so. Pay no attention to the fact that if you search for a politician depicted as a chimp you’ll discover hundreds of a certain president – and he’s the one NOT in office.

#78 tobegone
February/19/2009
@ 4:15 pm

– before even getting to the offensive aspect of the cartoon – this lame forced attempt doesn’t even cross the threshold of being funny on any intelligent level (whatever your tolerance level). the comic value supposedly attempted is so base at its core as to be embarrassing – that any editor worth his salt would deem this as anything more than preschool (not to dishonor pre-schoolers) level “humor” is laughable on its face. let’s not go any futher by ‘distinguishing’ this drivel as worthy of social, cultural, or racial debate…

#79 tobegone
February/19/2009
@ 4:26 pm

… and just to clarify, when i point to “funny”, “comic value” or “humor”, i’m acknowledging it in a political satirist vein – the attempt at ‘linkage’ in the cartoon’s visual and caption is so incongruous as to be metaphorically non-existent.

#80 Darrin Bell
February/19/2009
@ 4:40 pm

“This faux outrage is bordering on a mania. For all you fey, sanctimonious, race-obsessed freaks, the cartoon is clear…”

Thanks for the object lesson in faux outrage.

#81 RS Davis
February/19/2009
@ 4:52 pm

Barry,
It might surprise you, but I actually read your blog article. Interesting.

You are right that I get defensive when I see the term ‘racist’ thrown around like a lawn jart in a reactionary way. I think the reason I react (and many others do) is because the power of that word immediately squelches and squashes any opposing point of view and is in essence a debate ending H-bomb.

And frankly, a LOT of people know that and use it just for that purpose. See, what many like me find offensive is that some toss this grenede intentionally at someone else as a means of silencing the other side. Make no mistake, there are as many racists that are black as there are white or any other color.

And when someone uses a bombastic term like that, especially when it is unwarranted or even just questionable, it presumes that the other side needs to shut up, go away and agree the offense was racist because the accusing party says so. There is no defense. Guilty as charged despite the evidence.

That is contrary to everything free speech stands for. When people can be shut up, shut down and shut away simply by the hurling of such a derogatory term, something is tragically wrong. And it is not ‘reactionary outrage’ to stand up and say so.

Of the many things in your blog you advised, one was “Take the criticism seriously.” To that I say No. I won’t. It is not serious criticism to attack someone for racism when there is no evidence of it there nor a history of it.

Would you take it seriously if someone told you you were most likely a closet a wife beater because “this nation has long history of wife abuse”?

Would you be content to let it roll of your back if someone publically accused your priest or preacher of being a pedophile because “religious leaders have a long history of such behavior”?

You’d be a coward if you did.

I reject that the cartoon was racist because there is no evidence that it referred to Obama at all. None. If a person sees Obama in a chimp, then maybe they’re the ones with ‘reactionary outrage’ problem.

I have shown that cartoon to numerous people today and not ONE drew any conclusion except the chimp was a stand in for a stupid, incompetent Congress.

Someone had to infer that the chimp was Obama, it was not implied. And by doing so they attach THEIR biases and intolerances to the piece, in the exact way they are accusing someone else of doing.

I have never owned a slave. I have never beat a black man. I never lynched a black man. I do not use nor would I tolerate anyone around me who used racist language.

When I see racism, I know it. That ‘toon was not it.

And quite frankly, with all due respect to the “Reverend” Sharpton, race baiting is big business and it gives one group a horribly mean spirited weapon to wield against others.

Which is what I believe is really at the heart of the attacks on this work.

How much better for race relations would it have been if people had just ignored what they thought they saw?

Shouldn’t the same rules governing those who unintenionally offend apply to those who infer offensive material?

I think so. Therefore, let’s be fair and let those offended by this cartoon follow your advice, too:

1) Breathe. Stay calm.
2) Take the criticism seriously
3) Don?t make it about you.
4) Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back.

Calling a black person a n****r is wrong and offensive.
Caling someone a racist who isn’t is wrong and offensive TO THE EXACT SAME DEGREE AND MEASURE.

There is no difference.

#82 Joseph Watts
February/19/2009
@ 5:00 pm

“Thanks for the object lesson in faux outrage.”

That’s for the concrete lesson in bullsh*t.

#83 Darrin Bell
February/19/2009
@ 5:04 pm

I think they have medicine for tourette’s these days. Anyway, if you think discussing cartoons is bullsh*t, what exactly are you doing here? Auditioning for professional thread-closer?

#84 Thomas Martin
February/19/2009
@ 5:40 pm

Sean did a GREAT cartoon!!! I applaud him!!! Let me point out that the REAL reason this story is all over the SECULAR LIBERAL media is that the Leftist Media & Hollywood, etc. CREATED OBAMA. He is a PRODUCT of them. They are trying to “PROTECT” Obama (the one they created) & trying to send the message that if anyone DARE voice their opposition to their “Messiah” that they will be dealt with severely by being humiliated & picketed, etc. (in order to keep their Messiah in power to do the secular media’s & Hollywood’s, etc.bidding). I CANNOT BELIEVE the SHEEP mentality of MOST Americans! WAKE UP!!! You have all been fed the Kool-Aid & are following BLINDLY with everyone else because you do not have the intestinal fortitude to THINK FOR YOURSELVES & STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT! Barrack Obama is NOT EVEN his REAL name! It’s Barry Soetoro. And he is an INDONESIAN citizen & possibly a BRITISH citizen also (due to him being born in Kenya where at the time of his birth Kenya was under BRITISH rule). Contrary to what the liberal media would have you believe, he was NOT born in Hawaii (his “supposed” birth certificate that he posted online is BOGUS & had been proven BOGUS by forensic experts…Google it & you’ll see) & is therefore NOT a Natural Born citizen & therefore is not qualified to be US President according to the US Constitution, Article 2, Section 1.Visit defendourfreedoms.us, therightsideoflife.com, americanthinker.com & worldnetdaily.com & you’ll see the TRUTH of what is happening. The so-called STIMULUS package is BOGUS & won’t work & has been created to force Americans into Socialism (& not Capitalism) & keep them dependent on the government so the government can rule over them. Why do you think Obama’s regime is trying to NATIONALIZE the banks & the auto, healthcare, financial industries.? So they can have rule over you and your children & your grandchildren! WAKE UP PEOPLE! Keep up the funny cartoons, Sean!!!

#85 Nancy Powers
February/19/2009
@ 6:42 pm

Maybe if President Poseur and his wife would stop reminding us how BLACK they are every five minutes, race wouldn’t be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. OK for her, she’s genuinely black; not so much for him again taking a half truth and running it up the flag pole for all to see and diefy. Give me a break!

#86 Chris Souza
February/19/2009
@ 7:06 pm

“Brian wrote: ?Isn?t this the ultimate goal?

As a society aren?t we working towards the goal of being divorced of all the negative racial hatred as evidence by our own history? Don?t we want to have generations of young people who look at someone or something and don?t think of it in racial terms?

Don?t we want each new generation to vote for a candidate for president based on his or her qualifications and characters while the candidates race or ethnicity never enters their minds? Wasn?t there at least some of this with Barack Obama? Didn?t at least some of the new young voters, both black and white, vote for him because they grew up largely removed from being reminded of negative historical racial stereotypes??

???-

No. They voted for him because they haven?t internalized those stereotypes, not because they don?t know about them. Your goal, to get to the day when a monkey is just a monkey, is a fine one. But if there?s anything we should?ve learned from the past eight years of the Bush administration, it?s that you can?t just will your own ideal reality into existence. We?re not there yet, and we probably won?t be there until everyone who experienced the civil rights struggle (regardless of what side of it they were on) has been dead and buried for a couple generations. I expect that my great grandkids in the year 2109 won?t think twice about any of this.

Until then, we?re not going to get anywhere by pretending these stereotypes don?t exist and aren?t still being used to marginalize minorities. When the Drudge Report first linked to the actual Chimpanzee story (several hours before this cartoon nonsense broke), I knew what I?d find in that story?s comments section. Sure enough, people were posting comments like ?Does Obama know his brother snapped?? This crap is still going on, Brian, and it?s easy for people who aren?t on the receiving end of it to sit back and say those who are shouldn?t care about it.

These historical stereotypes affect people, whether we cartoonists like that or not. And if we use them, it shouldn?t be gratuitously; it should be to consciously – purposely – communicate a point that we can stand behind. Every element we opinion types put in our work should advance our arguments, not obfuscate them. Otherwise we?ve EARNED the misunderstandings from our readers and the critiques of our colleagues, because we?re professionals who?ve committed malpractice.”

Exactly, Darrin. Post-racial America is the goal, not the reality.

#87 Chris Souza
February/19/2009
@ 7:22 pm

“Make no mistake, there are as many racists that are black as there are white or any other color.”

Who here has said anything to the contrary, and what does that have to do with this debate?

“Of the many things in your blog you advised, one was ?Take the criticism seriously.? To that I say No. I won?t. It is not serious criticism to attack someone for racism when there is no evidence of it there nor a history of it.”

Except that this cartoonist does have a history of being a bigot. He has equated gay people with sheep ****ers several times in his cartoons.

“Would you take it seriously if someone told you you were most likely a closet a wife beater because ?this nation has long history of wife abuse??

Would you be content to let it roll of your back if someone publically accused your priest or preacher of being a pedophile because ?religious leaders have a long history of such behavior??

You?d be a coward if you did.”

These situations are completely different. The cartoonist actually did illustrate a cartoon that many found racist upon first look.

“I reject that the cartoon was racist because there is no evidence that it referred to Obama at all. None. If a person sees Obama in a chimp, then maybe they?re the ones with ?reactionary outrage? problem.”

The evidence is that the stimulus bill IS associated with Obama. No, he didn’t write it, but his name is synonymous with the bill to anyone who has been paying attention to the news. Many people do think Obama wrote it. Thus, it is not a stretch to think the dead monkey is supposed to be Obama. And if it is, than that is racist.

“Someone had to infer that the chimp was Obama, it was not implied.”

As I said, yes it was. He is widely associated with the stimulus bill.

“How much better for race relations would it have been if people had just ignored what they thought they saw?”

It wouldn’t have been any better at all. I’m sure there are a lot of racists who saw the cartoon and laughed. That’s why many people think it was a racist dogwhistle.

“Calling a black person a n****r is wrong and offensive.
Caling someone a racist who isn?t is wrong and offensive TO THE EXACT SAME DEGREE AND MEASURE.

There is no difference.”

There are many differences. One insult is based on behavior, the other is based on skin color. One has kept people down for centuries, giving them their whole lives to feel oppressed, resentful and sub-human. “Racist” is a fairly recent insult. Please stop equating your discomfort at people being called racist to the pain of people who have been persecuted on account of their race for centuries–nothing reveals oblivious privilege quicker than that.

#88 Chris Souza
February/19/2009
@ 7:33 pm

Thomas–this is not a place to discuss whether you or for or against Obama. It is about this specific cartoon.

But in the spirit of going off-topic, you call us sheep and then direct us to worldnetdaily.com? Ah, the irony gods have blessed us today!

Nancy–in what ways have the Obamas made their blackness a central issue? I have seen others do that, but they haven’t talked about is much themselves. And if you really think Obama isn’t “black enough,” then you are clearly a moron.

#89 Darrin Bell
February/19/2009
@ 8:10 pm

“Maybe if President Poseur and his wife would stop reminding us how BLACK they are every five minutes, race wouldn?t be at the forefront of everyone?s mind. OK for her, she?s genuinely black; not so much for him again taking a half truth and running it up the flag pole for all to see and diefy. Give me a break!”

Exhibit A, everyone.

#90 Peter Murphey
February/19/2009
@ 8:34 pm

I?m looking forward to that glorious day when all Presidents, no matter what their color, can be referred to as chimps.

#91 Jason A
February/19/2009
@ 9:07 pm

I dont think Obama really cares about stuff like this. The only people who care are people looking to cause trouble if it, were G. W. Bush would they not have dont the same drawing? of course they would maybe you are all just crazy.

#92 matt wuerker
February/19/2009
@ 9:28 pm

for those who remember that this was all about an odious little cartoon, The Post is now offering an apology–

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0209/Post_apologizes.html?showall

and maybe even Rupert saw it as a slur—

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/02/19/wolff_murdoch/index.html?source=rss&aim=/politics/war_room

#93 matt wuerker
February/19/2009
@ 9:46 pm

and for those that don’t click through the link above, here’s a little more of the actual story coming from someone who knows something about the Post —

“As a student of the Post and of Murdoch and his people, let me suggest the likelihood that Allan and the Post are well off the post-modern reservation. That Allan?s personal and tabloid anger, never so carefully in check, has burst into the open in an incredible spasm of tone deafness and — say it — racism. For one thing, there is, blatantly, jaw-droppingly, without disguise or camouflage or deniability, the conflation of the new president with the mad chimpanzee, who, the day before, mauled a woman. For another, no editorial cartoon at the Post can get into the paper without Allan approving it. He saw it; he got it; he bought it; he published it.

Barack Obama has been a long-simmering issue at the Post. He offends both its tabloid conservatism (however cool and witty it may have become) and, too, its latent, unreconstructed Australian tabloid — again, say it — racism. He offends it even more because Rupert Murdoch, the Post?s owner and virtual Godhead, rather likes Obama. The more and more liberal Murdoch — indeed, he was in Australia earlier this month pressing for looser immigration rules — has stifled the Post?s reflexive contempt.

So the dam burst. Repressed for most of the past year, the id suddenly broke free. Forget the post-modern crap. This is real, old-fashioned, tabloid hate.

Murdoch, I can make an educated guess, is livid. And Col Allan is shortly on his way back to Australia”
–Michael Wolff writing on Newser.

#94 Joseph Watts
February/19/2009
@ 10:23 pm

Anyone interested in creating a four frame strip juxtaposing this idiotic reaction with the hard-line Islamists reaction to the Mohammed cartoons? The difference with the Mohammed cartoons is that the artists purposefully depicted the Messiah of a specific bunch of closed minded zealots. With the chimp cartoon, you have the zealots actually inventing their Messiah into the piece, something the artist never intended; and something any reasonable, fair-minded, and yes, honest person would realize. This is piling on is of the most grotesque and flagrantly misleading kind. Any adult buying into Sharpton’s predictable schtick and insisting this man should lose his entire vocation for a trifling chimp cartoon is himself trifling. Oh, and Darrin, enjoy your free time once you’re shut out of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Interesting that you join others in unfairly condemning a cartoonist who will now be left fighting to keep HIS job, while you’re apparently fighting to KEEP your own.

#95 Joseph Watts
February/19/2009
@ 10:52 pm

For the record, I followed the link and voted for the Post-Dispatch to KEEP Darrin’s strip. Just because we come from this from completely different angles and I am obviously frustrated with what I see as an unfair hew and cry over the chimp strip, doesn’t mean I want an apparently talented cartoonist like Bell to lose a job I’m sure he loves. Sincerest best of luck to you on that score. I casually wished you to enjoy your free time when that’s truly the last thing I want for any artist or cartoonist, save the free time to continue at your trade. I hope the Post-Dispatch keeps your strip.

#96 Darrin Bell
February/20/2009
@ 1:25 am

“Interesting that you join others in unfairly condemning a cartoonist…”

What exactly is “unfair” about my assertion that Sean chose racially-loaded imagery that obfuscated, rather than enhanced, the point he was trying to make; and that people like us who make our living communicating visually should know better? 100 responses, dozens of blogs, and 48 hours of TV coverage later, I would think that’s self-evident.

#97 Peter Murphey
February/20/2009
@ 5:37 am

I disagree with virtually everything Darrin usually says, I don?t think the cartoon was racist and I think there is a whole group of people out there (like the ridiculous and vile Al Sharpton) sitting around just waiting to be offended and then piling on unnecessarily, stirring up anything they consider a slight, without any consideration to the alternative reading or intention. That being said, Darrin?s comments were completely appropriate. The cartoonist could have made a much clearer cartoon, which would have avoided the whole controversy, and it is amazing that his editor wouldn?t be aware that people would connect the writing of the stimulus bill to Obama, and that an image of a chimpanzee (or any of the other many well known racially charged images that have a history of being used for degrading and insulting blacks) would be interpreted by many as racist, even if that wasn?t at all the artist?s intent. It is the epitome of free speech for cartoonists to create controversial or ineffective cartoons, it also the epitome of free speech for people to critique them and even call them racist when they are not.

#98 Carol Blejwas
February/20/2009
@ 5:59 am

Not a cartoonist. Just a teacher who’s interested in your lively, thoughtful debate. Question. I haven’t seen the original Post spread. I’ve read though that on the previous (preceding?) page there was a photo of Obama signing the stimulus bill. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, wouldn’t the juxtaposition (which is out of the cartoonist’s control) heighten the potential for offense? I’m curious what you folks think.

#99 Kathy Bailey
February/20/2009
@ 9:23 am

Does anyone know if Sean Delona has issued a statement about the cartoon?

#100 Chris Stephen
February/20/2009
@ 9:56 am

Any comment yet from Obama’s office?

#101 Chris Souza
February/20/2009
@ 10:48 am

“With the chimp cartoon, you have the zealots actually inventing their Messiah into the piece, something the artist never intended; and something any reasonable, fair-minded, and yes, honest person would realize.”

There is nothing unreasonable about associating the stimulus bill with Obama.

#102 Dan Reynolds
February/20/2009
@ 12:37 pm

RS Davis

Don’t you find it interesting that no one addressed your perfectly placed comments about “Where was the outrage when…” they were doing this or that (everything under the sun) to Bush?

Of course, NO ONE should portray anyone in a way the depicts someone as a monkey or anyone else (btw, Bush was portrayed as a monkey MANY times in cartoons – just google it and you’ll see).
It’s sickens me.

#103 Chris Souza
February/20/2009
@ 1:07 pm

“RS Davis

Don?t you find it interesting that no one addressed your perfectly placed comments about ?Where was the outrage when?? they were doing this or that (everything under the sun) to Bush?

Of course, NO ONE should portray anyone in a way the depicts someone as a monkey or anyone else (btw, Bush was portrayed as a monkey MANY times in cartoons – just google it and you?ll see).
It?s sickens me.”

I could have sworn someone did address this, but maybe that’s just because I think the answer is so blatantly obvious.

Calling a white person a monkey is mean, but not racist. That is because white people, AS A SOCIAL GROUP, have not been associated with monkeys in order to demean the status of their social group in society.

Calling a black man a monkey is racist, because blacks have, AS A SOCIAL GROUP, been called monkeys as a tool of oppression.

It’s clear as day, people. Stop feigning stupidity. You are wasting my time by making me explain something over and over again that you already understand, but won’t admit.

#104 Joe Rank
February/20/2009
@ 1:07 pm

“course, NO ONE should portray anyone in a way the depicts someone as a monkey or anyone else (btw, Bush was portrayed as a monkey MANY times in cartoons – just google it and you?ll see).”

I went through my archives, and drew W as: a pirate, a poet, a gameshow bride, many cowboys, a golfer, a sprinter, an acrobat, a drunk, the Ancient Mariner, the Saddam statue, Dr. Frankenstein, a leaking faucet, and many diminuitives appearing mean and stupid.

No simians.

The people that should be complaining about this poor, confused rendition… are cops. It makes them out to be violent and dim-witted, instead of doing their jobs.

#105 Dan Reynolds
February/20/2009
@ 10:04 pm

I didn’t say “Joe Rank” did it. I just said it was done by cartoonists.

Any form of racism is wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s done to black, white, red, or pink polka dot. It’s wrong. End of story.

#106 Garey Mckee
February/21/2009
@ 12:54 am

“The people that should be complaining about this poor, confused rendition? are cops. It makes them out to be violent and dim-witted, instead of doing their jobs.”

Well said. Thank you Joe!

#107 Chris Souza
February/21/2009
@ 1:19 pm

“Any form of racism is wrong. It doesn?t matter if it?s done to black, white, red, or pink polka dot. It?s wrong. End of story.”

Agreed. But comparing Bush to a monkey is NOT racist. Its insulting, but not racist.

#108 Joe Vissichelli
February/21/2009
@ 4:23 pm

Delonas has been creating cartoons of questionable taste ? repeated personal attacks on public figures, for example ? in the Post for a long time and I’m glad he slipped up so badly this time. He has every right to draw what he wants of course, but that Post readers have to subjected to the stuff shows both his poor standards and the paper’s lousy editing standards in all their butt-naked truth.

However the concept may have been intended, that neither Delonas not the dummy running the show wouldn’t think of the potential for racial uproar is obviously farfetched. They took a chance and lost. Add the fact that Delonas was callously mocking a vary sad news story in the first place, and you have to admit he’s getting what he deserves now. Such unprofessional work had to create problems sooner or later. Oh well, that’s life on the edge, Sean …

#109 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 3:03 am

This will be my last post on this ridicolous issue. Try to get someone else to unsaddle off their self righteous indignance and horrified outrage over a simple cartoon is like trying to teach a pig to dance in the mud. You just get dirty and it pisses off the pig.

Final thought – remember when the Washington DC councilman had to resign his seat because he used the word ‘niggardly’ in referring to how stingy a city dept. was with it’s funds?
And how just last year or so a Dallas TX council man almost lost his job because he said paper work was getting lost, going down a ‘black hole’?

Well, this is what happens when you let hypersensitive guilt ridden elitists run amok. We get told waht we have to feel guilty for, even when there is no offense. Or one so small or stupid is should be ignored out of hand.

To be outraged at this cartoon is screaming at a flea. This is just idiotic.

I don’t give a damn who was insulted or offended – it was just an idiotic cartoon and if you have nothing better to do than attach crimes from 140 years ago to a NY Post editorial that didn’t even mention the individual who you THINK it was attacking, well Hell, go ahead.

No amount of debate, discussion or diplomacy on anyone’s part can cure that type of dementia.

“It?s clear as day, people. Stop feigning stupidity. You are wasting my time by making me explain something over and over again that you already understand, but won?t admit.”

Wow. I’m glad there’s no raging wingnut on the lefty side reading minds and hearts and judging them as having committed grevious sins.

Are you ready to admit that all the ‘holier than thou’ condemnation is simply a way to shut down and muzzle anyone who disagrees with you by nuking them with an accusation that is nearly impossible to recover from?

I think I can capsulize this whold affair for you offended types by paraphrasing someone you probably idolize:

“The destruction of one liberal is a tragedy. The destruction of a million conservatives is a statistic.”

Ciao.

#110 Mike Peterson
February/22/2009
@ 6:21 am

“I don?t give a damn who was insulted or offended”

You could have saved a whole lot of bandwidth by being this concise to begin with.

“- it was just an idiotic cartoon”

You sure do know how to make friends, there, cowboy.

#111 Mike Lester
February/22/2009
@ 9:43 am

“You sure do know how to make friends, there, cowboy” -MP

Whoa, MP, 90% give or take of more than one hundred posts are almost violently indignant that a NY cartoonist would draw a monkey they interpret as BHO (it’s really no more complicated than that) and RS’S rebuttal is too confrontational??? Do I have that right? Is this a discussion or torches and pitchforks for skeptics and non-believers?

I’m tired of this too having taken my share of accusational phone calls and emails. And it didn’t help much when the U.S. A.G Wm. Holder called America race “cowards” in the same week as the cartoon broke. If A.Gonzales had said that about hispanics, there’d be a race war in the streets.

The “lead with your chin” race arbiters have decided” the science is in” (sound familiar?) on what S.Delanos held in his heart. But my money’s on his attempt to use the Infinite Monkey Theorem and underestimating the “yes we can” read your mind crowd. I don’t pretend to know his intent but any other rationale would have been (and still might be) professional suicide. Sometimes a bad monkey cartoon is just a bad monkey cartoon.

#112 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 11:22 am

Mr. Peterson,
Well, maybe you are right about the bandwidth thing. But judging from the length of this thread, I’m not the only one squandering oxygen here.

I figure that you are probably also right on the friend making angle, but it makes me think. I’ve read your editorial ‘toons for years, and I’m guessing you probably have done some pieces on issues you really believed in – and probably gotten the same kind of reactions I’ve gotten here from those that didn’t agree with your work.

Don’t you agree that anytime you’re expressing a strong opinion on a controverstial issue, whether in editorial cartoon or even a little forum like this, there are those that are gonna’ flame you for doing it, whether it is justified or not?

Believe it or not, I truly am not out to intentionally offend or insult.

No, really. I’m not.

In fact, that has been my whole point all along. Why is it on some issues a counter opinion cannot be uttered without the fallout of a personal attack?

I’m sorry the tone of this thread got acrimonious in places, and in retrospect my Irish nature contributed to that gruff spirit. I will apologize for that, too.

But it just seems a tradgedy to me that this thread, and the whole national discussion on this cartoon and racism in general, didn’t take a more mature turn.

Like this:

Formum Guy#1: “Hey, did you see that Delonas cartoon? I think he might have been alluding to Obama with that chimp.”

Forum Guy #2: “Hmm, I saw that ‘toon and I didn’t get that at all. I thought he was just mocking Congress.”

Forum Guy #1 “Really? Oh. Not what I saw. Well, to each his own.”

Forum Guy #2 “Cool. Hey how [bout those Marlins, thier pitching sucks rocks!”

Boring? Yeah. Incendiary? Not at all and until cartoon like that, or any potential race baiting crap at all, is handled in that manner this type of political knife fighting is never going to go away.

To contribute to that, in the future on this forum I will make every effort to keep my bomb throwing to a minimum to contribute to that goal, but it seems that it takes two sides to shutter any blooming ‘racist’ debates.

I wasn’t kidding earlier when I agreed with Barry’s advice to those offended:
1) Breathe. Stay calm.
2) Take the criticism seriously.
3) Don?t make it about you.
4) Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back.

If both sides took heed (I am including myself in that) that lame Delonas cartoon would have slipped into obscurity the night after it was published. As it should have.

#113 Chris Souza
February/22/2009
@ 12:33 pm

“I don?t give a damn who was insulted or offended – it was just an idiotic cartoon and if you have nothing better to do than attach crimes from 140 years ago to a NY Post editorial that didn?t even mention the individual who you THINK it was attacking, well Hell, go ahead.”

140 years ago? Really? You do know that an unarmed black man was just executed by police two months ago, right?

And again, going from “stimulus bill” to “Obama” is not a stretch of the imagination. It is common sense.

“Are you ready to admit that all the ?holier than thou? condemnation is simply a way to shut down and muzzle anyone who disagrees with you by nuking them with an accusation that is nearly impossible to recover from?”

That is not my purpose. My purpose is to try to get people to realize that we do still live in a country of racial inequality, and that inequality is perpetuated by cartoons such as this one. I’m not interested in condemning anyone, including the cartoonist, who may have not meant to be racist. I’m interested in getting people to see the racial inequalities that they otherwise ignore.

“I think I can capsulize this whold affair for you offended types by paraphrasing someone you probably idolize:

?The destruction of one liberal is a tragedy. The destruction of a million conservatives is a statistic.?”

Who said this? It certainly doesn’t sound like something I would agree with.

“But it just seems a tradgedy to me that this thread, and the whole national discussion on this cartoon and racism in general, didn?t take a more mature turn.

Like this:

Formum Guy#1: ?Hey, did you see that Delonas cartoon? I think he might have been alluding to Obama with that chimp.?

Forum Guy #2: ?Hmm, I saw that ?toon and I didn?t get that at all. I thought he was just mocking Congress.?

Forum Guy #1 ?Really? Oh. Not what I saw. Well, to each his own.?

Forum Guy #2 ?Cool. Hey how [bout those Marlins, thier pitching sucks rocks!? ”

Really? This is what you would consider a “more mature turn?” Avoiding the issue completely?

“Boring? Yeah. Incendiary? Not at all and until cartoon like that, or any potential race baiting crap at all, is handled in that manner this type of political knife fighting is never going to go away.

To contribute to that, in the future on this forum I will make every effort to keep my bomb throwing to a minimum to contribute to that goal, but it seems that it takes two sides to shutter any blooming ?racist? debates.

I wasn?t kidding earlier when I agreed with Barry?s advice to those offended:
1) Breathe. Stay calm.
2) Take the criticism seriously.
3) Don?t make it about you.
4) Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back.

If both sides took heed (I am including myself in that) that lame Delonas cartoon would have slipped into obscurity the night after it was published. As it should have.”

RS Davis, what I’m hearing here is that you think we’d be better off if we didn’t have a serious discussion about this at all. If we just ignored what we think might be racist, just because it makes some people mad and uncomfortable. This logic is precisely why Eric Holder called us a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race. Yes, it might prevent arguments if we just let things like this slide. But it also prevents progress. You know how they say the first step is admitting you have a problem? The same is true for racism.

But no, we’re in Post-Racial America now! We need to stop being so sensitive! Racism isn’t a problem, people who think they see racism are the problem! I think one blogger referred to this as the “he who smelt it, dealt it” policy. It is completely counter-productive. Its common sense that ignoring a problem does not make it go away.

But if you really think there is no racism here, and that anyone who could see it that way is delusional, and that we are all wasting our time–well, then, stop wasting yours. Because you aren’t going to end this conversation. We think its important enough to continue.

#114 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 1:30 pm

Dude.

Man, I’m really trying to be deferential here. I understand you got upset about the cartoon because you thought it was racially motivated.

But I still think you misunderstand where I am coming from.

“RS Davis, what I?m hearing here is that you think we?d be better off if we didn?t have a serious discussion about this at all. If we just ignored what we think might be racist, just because it makes some people mad and uncomfortable. This logic is precisely why Eric Holder called us a ?nation of cowards? when it comes to race. Yes, it might prevent arguments if we just let things like this slide. But it also prevents progress. You know how they say the first step is admitting you have a problem? The same is true for racism.”

Last try here.

Your statement has some basic assumptions that are incorrect.

1. I am not saying let’s not have a serious discussion about race. What I am saying is that stupid Delonas cartoon is not serious enough to warrant a national debate. When black men get dragged behind pickups to their death, that is serious. Dragging a cartoon that is iffy at best in terms of content only minimizes actual racial incidents. Don’t dilute the seriousness of an important issue by tilting and silly little windmills. That would qualify as (quoting John Lennon) seeing Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs.

2. Calling an entire nation a group of cowards because they will not discuss an issue on one person’s terms is the absolute sky high limit of arrogance, condescension and elitism. It is ignorant, partisan and off putting. It was stupid in the extreme. I am not sure how such a mean spirited, vindictive statement aimed at the entire country can be equated with ‘progress.’ In fact, it seems that it does what I was complaining about earlier – it shuts down debate (it doesn’t advance it) because it demonizes those who will not participate in the argument according to the rules set down by only one side.
What Mr. Holder said was idiotic and irresponsible.

3. I never said people who see rascism are the problem. What I said was it takes two sides to conclude and issue. If one side is to be patient, understanding and listen while not over reacting then it is appropriate for the other side. If I am to sit and be calm while a charge of racism is made, then those throwing it need to sit down and be calm, too, when looking at the issue in question. It is a mutual effort. It is NOT ‘you have had your turn and you offended us, so shut up while we have our turn and strike back’ any more than it ‘he who smelt it dealt it,’ Both are equally absurd.

4. You say the first step is admitting I have a problem. Where is the admittance on your behalf that you have a problem? Is confession only good for one side here? Again, the racist debate so often turns into a one way street where one side is portrayed as bad, harboring secret hatred and must be forced to confess and be purged of their bias while the other side is sitting on a noble steed defending the rights of the oppressed, burdened and mistreated. That is an narrow minded, narcissistic and elititst view if I ever saw one.
And untrue.

5.”You do know that an unarmed black man was just executed by police two months ago, right?
” And I also know that in the last 5 years at least 5 police officers I know about where murdered on the job by illegal aliens. Does that mean every Mexican is a white hating cop killer? Of course not. But if every situation involving a black and a white where a black gets hurt or cheated is immediate proof of national racism, then buckle up for a long ride my friend, because your ‘race problem’ will last forever. People sometimes hit, club, bite, hurt, cheat, lie to, or even kill another person JUST BECAUSE! It is not always about race! Yes! A white man can diss a black man and it NOT be racist! Just as a black man can diss a left handed, green eyed, handicapped lesbian biker belly dancing touch typist that stutters in Wallon and it NOT be motivated by anything but the act itself!

6.”I?m not interested in condemning anyone, including the cartoonist, who may have not meant to be racist.”
I am glad to here you say you are not trying to condemn. Can you see though, that when that accusation is made it IS a condemnation and in our culture it an accusation that carries such severe weight, it is almost a ‘guilty as charged because accused’ proposition. Ye gads, it is almost like calling someone a wife beater or a pedophile – good luck living it down if you’re innocent, pal.

7. “I?m interested in getting people to see the racial inequalities that they otherwise ignore.” Please understand that when you say you see what others ignore, it is taken (even if you don’t mean it that way) that you can see into people’s hearts and see something terrifically ugly they they don’t see and you have the moral superiority and duty to point it out. Hell, you might as well call their mother a whore and their religion a stupid myth. People don’t take well to being accused of having hidden bigotry that they are too ignorant to see themselves and making such an accusation hardly forwards the momentum of the progress you seek.

Look, you are probably most correct when you say we are wasting our time. We are not going to convince each other, most likely.

I wanted to end my bloviating in my last post, but I’ll try to do it here now. We’ll agree to disagree, OK?

Frankly, the most damning and offensive comment during this whole thing has gone woefully unaddressed.

Someone called my avater ‘creepy.’ :(

#115 Mike Peterson
February/22/2009
@ 3:31 pm

“I?ve read your editorial ?toons for years, and I?m guessing you probably have done some pieces on issues you really believed in – and probably gotten the same kind of reactions I?ve gotten here from those that didn?t agree with your work.”

Really?

Damn, now I’ve gotta revise my resume. Also check my bank accounts. Hope I was getting paid all those years!

#116 Chris Souza
February/22/2009
@ 5:24 pm

RS Davis, I know you didn’t want to continue this debate, but I do have to address a few of your concerns.

“Last try here.

Your statement has some basic assumptions that are incorrect.

1. I am not saying let?s not have a serious discussion about race. What I am saying is that stupid Delonas cartoon is not serious enough to warrant a national debate. When black men get dragged behind pickups to their death, that is serious. Dragging a cartoon that is iffy at best in terms of content only minimizes actual racial incidents. Don?t dilute the seriousness of an important issue by tilting and silly little windmills. That would qualify as (quoting John Lennon) seeing Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs.”

The messages we see in the media are serious and worth talking about. Advertising, TV, movies, and satire all affect the way we think and behave. And the media has always been used to further sexism, racism, and other dehumanizing stereotypes. This is a fact. Talking about these things doesn’t minimize physical crimes. It lets us know where the motivation for these crimes comes from. If we are given messages comparing black people to monkeys, that is going to affect how we treat black people in real life.

“2. Calling an entire nation a group of cowards because they will not discuss an issue on one person?s terms is the absolute sky high limit of arrogance, condescension and elitism. It is ignorant, partisan and off putting. It was stupid in the extreme. I am not sure how such a mean spirited, vindictive statement aimed at the entire country can be equated with ?progress.? In fact, it seems that it does what I was complaining about earlier – it shuts down debate (it doesn?t advance it) because it demonizes those who will not participate in the argument according to the rules set down by only one side.
What Mr. Holder said was idiotic and irresponsible.”

But the problem Holder was addressing wasn’t that people weren’t discussing race “on his terms.” Its that most people aren’t discussing it at all. And yes, that is a little bit cowardly. Maybe it was arrogant, but I believe it was true.

“3. I never said people who see rascism are the problem. What I said was it takes two sides to conclude and issue. If one side is to be patient, understanding and listen while not over reacting then it is appropriate for the other side. If I am to sit and be calm while a charge of racism is made, then those throwing it need to sit down and be calm, too, when looking at the issue in question. It is a mutual effort. It is NOT ?you have had your turn and you offended us, so shut up while we have our turn and strike back? any more than it ?he who smelt it dealt it,? Both are equally absurd.”

I just feel like the side that has been oppressed for hundreds of years has more right to be pissed off than the side that’s been doing the oppressing.

“4. You say the first step is admitting I have a problem. Where is the admittance on your behalf that you have a problem? Is confession only good for one side here? Again, the racist debate so often turns into a one way street where one side is portrayed as bad, harboring secret hatred and must be forced to confess and be purged of their bias while the other side is sitting on a noble steed defending the rights of the oppressed, burdened and mistreated. That is an narrow minded, narcissistic and elititst view if I ever saw one.
And untrue.”

I have admitted I have a problem. I harbor certain racist stereotypes that have been ingrained into me. Anyone who says they haven’t is most likely lying.

“5.?You do know that an unarmed black man was just executed by police two months ago, right?
? And I also know that in the last 5 years at least 5 police officers I know about where murdered on the job by illegal aliens. Does that mean every Mexican is a white hating cop killer? Of course not. But if every situation involving a black and a white where a black gets hurt or cheated is immediate proof of national racism, then buckle up for a long ride my friend, because your ?race problem? will last forever. People sometimes hit, club, bite, hurt, cheat, lie to, or even kill another person JUST BECAUSE! It is not always about race! Yes! A white man can diss a black man and it NOT be racist! Just as a black man can diss a left handed, green eyed, handicapped lesbian biker belly dancing touch typist that stutters in Wallon and it NOT be motivated by anything but the act itself!”

I’m not sure what your point is here. I never said that you can’t criticize Barack or other black men without being racist. But you can’t do so by comparing him to a monkey. I also never said that all cops are after black people. I’m not sure where you got that from.

“6.?I?m not interested in condemning anyone, including the cartoonist, who may have not meant to be racist.?
I am glad to here you say you are not trying to condemn. Can you see though, that when that accusation is made it IS a condemnation and in our culture it an accusation that carries such severe weight, it is almost a ?guilty as charged because accused? proposition. Ye gads, it is almost like calling someone a wife beater or a pedophile – good luck living it down if you?re innocent, pal.”

I don’t think its the same at all. Again, everyone is at least a little bit racist. Not everyone is a wife beater or pedophile. People need to realize this and try to understand their problem rather than getting defensive. I’ve done it, and it doesn’t make me feel like a reprehensible human being. It just makes me more sensitive and aware of racial inequality, so that I don’t say or do racist things without knowing it.

“7. ?I?m interested in getting people to see the racial inequalities that they otherwise ignore.? Please understand that when you say you see what others ignore, it is taken (even if you don?t mean it that way) that you can see into people?s hearts and see something terrifically ugly they they don?t see and you have the moral superiority and duty to point it out. Hell, you might as well call their mother a whore and their religion a stupid myth. People don?t take well to being accused of having hidden bigotry that they are too ignorant to see themselves and making such an accusation hardly forwards the momentum of the progress you seek.”

Well, then those people need to get over themselves and stop living in denial. If I can do it, so can they.

#117 Dan Reynolds
February/22/2009
@ 7:54 pm

RS Davis
email me at cartoonist89@hotmail.com
Dan

#118 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 9:55 pm

Chris,
I appreciate the civility with which you have approached my post. Some haven’t,you have.
Thanks.

I’m going to save some bandwith and do what some say can’t be done – write a short post.

I guess our fundamental disagreement lies in what we believe is in people’s hearts and minds. You said “I have admitted I have a problem. I harbor certain racist stereotypes that have been ingrained into me. Anyone who says they haven?t is most likely lying”

The fact is, I truly don’t harbor racist sterotypes. I know I don’t. I know that is not a lie. That is what is at the heart of the anger people like me feel when we are told “Oh yes you do, you have racist underpinnings whether you know it or not. You just need to admit it.” That is essentially what Mr. Holder said, and on a national scale.

I’m saying he is wrong. Most people don’t harbor ‘racist’ tendencies – oh, they may tell jokes or play with stereotypes, but that is no more being racist than thinking “I’ll kill you’ about someone makes you a murdered. People are more complicated and more intelligent than that. I just think that type of thinking gives people so little credit and adjudicates them harshly and unfairly.

When you say “Well, then those people need to get over themselves and stop living in denial. If I can do it, so can they” man, that is, in my opinion the whole crux of it.

Your side says we are harboring racism and we need to admit it, my side says we know better and are very well aware of our inner phyche and we know what we believe and don’t need to be told we’re mistaken about our own souls.

Again, we’re never going to resolve this on a forum.

I frankly think, going back to the beginning of this thread, the Delonas cartoon was a lame attempt to tie an attacking chimp story to an incompetent Congress represented by the ‘monkeys typing the dictionary’ stereotype. I saw no mention of Obama, and in fact the text said ‘..someone else to write the next stimulus…”. Who writes bills? Congress. No President ever has written a bill.

That cinched it for me. I can’t understand how anyone can see racism there. If it said Obama, fine, fire away at the fool for doing it.

You can’t understand how anyone couldn’t see racism. I accept your statement of belief, please accept mine. You say you admit your culpability in terms of prejudice, well OK. You may say that of yourself, but not for anyone else.

All I am asking is don’t lump me into one big pie that argues for a secret hidden racial bigotry that, because of my whiteness and culture, I either too ingrained, too stupid or too incompassionate to see.

I appreciate the discussion. Again, sorry if I seemed bombastic early on. I suffered at birth an ailment that causes inflammatory outbursts of spectacular proportion – it’s called “Irish” and there is no cure.

Dang! I thought this would be shorter! Maybe it can’t be done…

#119 RS Davis
February/22/2009
@ 10:07 pm

Mike,
Cough… cough… stammer.. stammer… uh… well… heh heh, blushing face time here for the old troll.

I was scanning your name too fast when I read it and my Mod 1 brain housing told me I saw the name “Mike Peters”, not “Peterson.”

Well, I decided to visit your blog so next time I could correctly comment on your resume.

Interesting piece you wrote.

However, I have to correct one thing. The part about the said the Irish were “Catholic Invaders complete with hobnailed boots, revolutionary lapel pin, gun in belt and bottle in back pocket” was stunningly incorrect!

I’m a Baptist.

#120 Mike Peterson
February/23/2009
@ 4:04 am

I have a presentation on editorial cartoons that leads off with a Boss Tweed piece but then uses that to distinguish between political and personal attacks. Nast actually labels him “Irish Catholic Invader,” which distinguishes him from an “immigrant” who wants to share in what the country has built. As I said in the blog, Nast said what he had to say straight out.

Still, it’s a big tent: http://tinyurl.com/dl7cu9 ;-)

#121 Leah Barnett
February/23/2009
@ 4:37 pm

“Don?t you people know that we, black Americans, are also often referred to as ?coons? also, in reference to raccoons, also an animal?”

My girlfriend was called a “snow bunny” by a black man once. I guess we forgot to be offended…..

#122 Dan Reynolds
February/23/2009
@ 4:39 pm

Regarding post #118 by RS DAVIS…
You hit the nail perfectly.

You said:
“The fact is, I truly don?t harbor racist sterotypes. I know I don?t. I know that is not a lie. That is what is at the heart of the anger people like me feel when we are told ?Oh yes you do, you have racist underpinnings whether you know it or not. You just need to admit it.? That is essentially what Mr. Holder said, and on a national scale.

I?m saying he is wrong. Most people don?t harbor ?racist? tendencies – oh, they may tell jokes or play with stereotypes, but that is no more being racist than thinking ?I?ll kill you? about someone makes you a murdered. People are more complicated and more intelligent than that. I just think that type of thinking gives people so little credit and adjudicates them harshly and unfairly.”

There’s a lot of the …. ?Oh, yes you do, you have racist underpinnings whether you know it or not. You just need to admit it.?…going around. Telling or inferring that someone has these attributes, when they don’t, is, RACIST.

#123 RS Davis
February/23/2009
@ 6:35 pm

Mike
Yeah, my comment was an weak attempt at a joke.

Maybe I could cartoons for the NY Post, too….

#124 Mike Peterson
February/23/2009
@ 7:00 pm

No, the weak joke was most welcome — check the link. One of the frustrations of Irish history is the common shorthand of “Catholic” versus “Protestant.” Thomas Davis was an absolute giant in the nationalist movement, along with other Protestants like Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmet and Charles Stuart Parnell. Irish nationalists take great pains to debunk the idea that only Catholics valued freedom.

Of course, most of them Prods was Presbyterians, not Baptists, but you’ll all burn in the same hell fire anyways, so we don’t make them subtle distinctions, doncha know … ;-)

#125 RS Davis
February/23/2009
@ 8:56 pm

“Of course, most of them Prods was Presbyterians, not Baptists, but you?ll all burn in the same hell fire anyways, so we don?t make them subtle distinctions, doncha know ? ;-)”

OK, now I feel better! You ain’t no one ’til someone tells ya’ yer going to Perdition!

#126 Chris Souza
February/23/2009
@ 10:08 pm

OK, RS Davis. Thank you for being respectful as well.

I have to say I don’t entirely believe you when you say you don’t harbor racist stereotypes–but I won’t insult you by pressing the issue or by operating under the assumption that you do and just don’t see it. If you truly don’t, then you are one in a million, pal.

#127 RS Davis
February/23/2009
@ 11:02 pm

Chris ,
It’s semantics to me…everyone may occassionally think thoughts or react, but I don’t define that has harboring any racial prejudice.

To me, it’s a matter of the heart. What is in a person’s heart, their intent that makes a universe of difference.

I think a person can tell a stereotypical joke or make an off color remark without being a racist, sometimes we’ve all done it to fit in, sometimes we overreact in traffic, Hell sometimes we’re just in a bad mood and take it out on someone, even if it is in our head only.

To be a racist, to truly take that into your soul, mind and spirit, I believe you have to CHOOSE to be one.

It’s like, oh say shoplifting. You can think about it, joke about it, even put something in your pocket and walk around, but until you actively decide to walk out the door with it, you ain’t there yet.

I know that is a waaaaaaay imperfect analogy, but it’s late and my brain is wallpapered. Bear with me on that one.

I also realize you can NOT mean to hurt or offend, but say something that might offend anyway. I believe that’s what this cartoon by Delonas did. He, IMHO, never at all intended people to be offended or infer he was calling Obama a monkey – he was trying to make a point by fusing two stories. ‘Toonists do that all the time.

Hejust gid a really weak job. I believe people honestly got offended, but I just don’t think anyone can climb in Delons’ heart and say there is harbored racial predjudice because someone else interpreted his work that way.

I think it is very dangerous to go down the road of saying we can do that to people, because sooner or later someone somewhere WILL make the same claim against you, me and everyone else.

Anyway, this horse of a thread is DRT (dead right there) and whipping it ain’t gonna make it smell better.

I appreciate the points you made, thanks for using a civil and reasonable tone to jawed with me. I’ll try to remember to do the same in the future.

But I’m still feeling terribly vicitmized over my avatar creeping someone out. Why would it do that?

#128 RS Davis
February/23/2009
@ 11:05 pm

Not to mention all the #$%&# typos I just saw in my above post.

I’mm goiiing too hayve tu lurn tah tighp mauch moar cairphullie.

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@ 3:22 pm

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