A cartoon strip featuring a child’s counting song that was used as racist rhetoric in the past was published across the country on Monday, the day the U.S. honored the late Martin Luther King, Jr.
After NBC 7 [TV San Diego] was contacted by one of our viewers, we reached out to the author of “Pickles.”
[Brian] Crane told NBC 7 he was shocked to hear someone found the strip about a child’s bedtime prayer to be offensive.
“It never crossed my mind that anyone would see any racist overtones in it,” he continued. “The fact that it was published on Martin Luther King’s holiday was pure coincidence and no meaning was intended by it.”
Crane said he has editors look over his work and approve it before it goes to print.
Amy Lago, the Comics Editor with the Washington Post News Service & Syndicate is responsible for editing the comic strips that go out to newspapers across the country.
Lago issued the following statement: “Regrettably, I didn’t know such an appalling version of the rhyme existed. I am deeply sorry to any readers who were hurt and assure them that no offense was intended.”
[San Diego Union-Tribune] Editor and Publisher Jeff Light said the newspaper “would not have run the strip if they had seen it and been aware that it could offend.”
“There is, unfortunately, a racist variant of eeny-meeny in American history, although I’m not sure it is one that many people are familiar with. We certainly would never intend to publish a comic strip or anything else that is offensive on racial or ethic grounds,” Light said.
The full NBC 7 story can be read here.