Happy Birthday to Me – Post-racial America?

Posted by: ReyMac

chimpcartoon460I hate giving bushlit like this precious time from my day, especially my birthday.  But my son is a black man in America.  My daughter is a black woman in America.  And stuff like this on the front page is why “I laugh, and eat well and grow strong.”  I understand why the white man who drew this thinks its not racist.  He’s simply connecting two current events in a humorous way, right?  Wrong.

Update:  The cartoon was published side by side with a picture of President Obama signing the stimulus bill.  A calculated equation?

Stereotypes of black men and monkeys are centuries old.  For more recent prejudices, check the original Tarzan the Ape Man movie.  The black man in charge of the stimulus bill is Barack Obama.  I’m going slow here for the uninitiated.  Whether you agree with the stimulus bill or not, believe it was written by a group of monkeys banging on a typewriter or not, it is “now the defining act of Barack Obama’s infant presidency.”  Drawing two white men shooting a monkey who is equated with the black president through the white men’s words and ideas is racist.

You don’t have to like it.  But that’s what it is.

I don’t blame the cartoonist.  His job is to make stuff up, put pieces together to get a reaction.  I do blame the editor for poor judgement.  While controversy sells papers, this type leads to boycotts and drops in sales.  And for other people to simply write it off as “Al Sharpton crying foul” misses the larger point.

Sharpton cries foul over NY Post’s cartoon monkey business

Sharpton blasts Post cartoon

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About Bolshy

Blogging in the ether to see if that elusive literary agent or publisher wants some new talent.
This entry was posted in Blah!, Comment, Democracy, Economy, Media, Personal philosophy, Political correctness, Politics, United States of America, WTF! Moment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Happy Birthday to Me – Post-racial America?

  1. LOUDelf says:

    Unless congress has suddenly become a black man or woman, I really fail to see the racial linkage here. Obama didn’t craft the legislation, so it is not aimed at him at all. It takes to issues: One, the magazine feels the legislation could have been created by a money hitting buttons, and Two, it ties to the recent chimp-shooting in CT. No racial message.

    But making stretched assumptions like this are what perpetuates racial issues America. People need to get by their hypersensitivites, and double-standards, and focus on the issue. In this cartoon’s case, a poorly-crafted piece of legislation that while it is not completely harmful, will do more long-term damage, then short-term good.

  2. ReyMac says:

    “stretched assumptions”? were you around on New Year’s eve when the black kid was shot by the police officer? do you know who Amado Diallo (sp?) is? Are you familiar with James Byrd? The death of black men for racial reasons has a storied history in our country.
    President Obama was the one making trips across Capitol Hill to promote the stimulus package. He is the one Republicans are now decrying as “not bipartisan.” His speech today was the second part of the economic package designed to address foreclosures since his stimulus package passed. Please don’t attempt to backpedal from his role in the stimulus, or how he is equated with it. It makes the “no racial message” point of view tepid and very ignorant.
    I stated in the beginning of my post that I don’t believe that the cartoonist was intending to be racist. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    The cartoon is racist. The fact that you don’t see that . . . well, I leave that conclusion up to you. Did you really blame racial issues in American on black people making “stretched assumptions”?

  3. LOUDelf says:

    The police officer did not make the cartoon. Amado Diallo did not either — nor James Byrd. Obama was promoting the idea, but not coining it. As a matter of fact, there were some provisions he was dissapointed with it once the bill was read over. So again, HE was not the one who wrote it… it was the bobbleheads (monkeys if you will) in congress that did, hence the cartoon.

    Again, you’re stretching. No racial message. Please don’t try to insult people by trying to turn your perception (opinion) into fact.

  4. ReyMac says:

    So your perception is fact, but mine is not? How white of you. I’m sorry . . . I meant, how narrow and narcissistic. There is a reality that is outside your experience. It would be nice (and healthy) for you to step out there once in a while and find out what the non-white population finds tangible on a daily basis.

  5. Will Rhodes says:

    If you can’t see that this cartoon is racist, Elf – you’re blind!

  6. Danny Husar says:

    No one this hypersensitive to matter of race can be said to live in a post-racial America. If you look for racism, you’re going to find it everytime. Reminds me of a passage from Hitchens “God is not Great”:

    “When Dr. Samuel Johnson had completed the first real dictionary of the English language, he was visited by a delegation of respectable old ladies who wished to congratulate him for not including any indecent words. His response—which was that he was interested to see that the ladies had been looking them up”

    You and the delegation of “respectable old ladies” have a lot in common.

    So take a deep breath, and a step back, and you should see that this is innocent and that any racism in the cartoon is from the interpretation that YOU brought into it.

  7. ReyMac says:

    Danny-
    Welcome to the conversation. So in your mind, any interpretation of the cartoon which addresses it through the lens of historical and social relevance in the United States is simply what I brought to it?
    Did you miss the part where I said the cartoonist was doing his job?
    Did you miss the part where I said the editor was responsible for casting aspersions?
    Did you miss the part where race and racism have played a significant role in the history of the United States, and there are more black men locked up than in college?
    Did you miss the part where racial profiling is still an issue?
    I know a lot of respectable old ladies. I also know when people “do protest too much.” The cartoon is racist because of its context, its content, and the country I live in.
    So take a deep breath, and a step back, and you should see that this isn’t innocent and that racism in this cartoon and in your comment is the interpretation that YOU brought into it.
    And thanks for the birthday wishes . . . they are appreciated.

  8. Danny Husar says:

    >…and that racism in this cartoon and in your comment…

    Now I’m a racist?

    >Any interpretation of the cartoon which addresses it through the lens of historical and social relevance in the United States is simply what I brought to it?

    It sure can be. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. In fact, you should consider that as a real possibility, given that there is no actual evidence to support your view. And if that’s the case, you should consider the kind of damage you’re doing by casually leveling charges of racism on everyone from the editor and cartoonist of a mainstream newspaper, to the posters on your blog.

    > The cartoon is racist because of its context, its content, and the country I live in

    It’s funny you phrase it this way and at the same time quite telling. Apparently the intent (in this case) of the cartoonist does not matter. The cartoonist can argue his intended meaning till the cows come home. It wouldn’t matter one iota – would it. What makes this an example of racism, is due to the ability of a hypersensitive, sanctimonious white man to find something to be offended by. It’s a very convenient way of looking at things. I can’t argue that this cartoon did not offend you (or others), so by default I lose.

  9. LOUDelf says:

    ReyMac —

    I guess you assume I’m white. Might you be a bit racist yourself?

    This is simple, and try to use your brain on this one. Who wrote the bill? Congress. Congress led by Pelosi and Reid. Now I’ll admit Reid resembled the chimp quite well, but the point was not the physical resemblance. It was that the bill was not a well-thought bill, and that even a chimp could have written it. You can manufacture what you will out of most situations, and slant things to your own view, but it doesn’t make it accurate, or anything near what the magazine was pitching.

    Will Rhodes — If you make this into something it’s not, you’re on drugs! (see? I can make the same kind of knee-jerk fly-by comments too!)

  10. ReyMac says:

    Danny-
    You have a lot of ifs in your response. Makes your arguments tentative and timid. I’ve already said the cartoonist didn’t intend to be racist. That doesn’t mean that in the larger context (I don’t know how that’s telling, but . . . whatever) it isn’t.
    I’m not “casually leveling charges of racism.” I’m calling a spade a spade. My question to you is, whether you agree or not, do you understand how this can be interpreted as racist?
    Because if you can’t see that, whether you agree or not, then you and I are simply howling into the wind . . . I wrote the post because it’s necessary to have this discussion, to not be “a nation of cowards” as the Attorney General so eloquently put it yesterday.
    And you can’t argue that the cartoon didn’t offend people . . . that’s plain idiotic. How am I going to tell you how something made you feel?

  11. ReyMac says:

    elf . . .
    I had such hopes when I read your manifesto, and yet you continue to manifest closedminded and narrow thinking. I notice, though, that you don’t deny your whiteness, you simply attempt a rhetorical exercise to cast aspersions on my perspective.
    Assuming you’re white means I’m racist? Doesn’t quite track, brotha. Kind of like the cartoon doesn’t read as intended. Like the issue at hand, I can’t control how you take it. I can only control what I put out.
    The Post should have thought more about it. Period.

  12. LOUDelf says:

    It’s not that you assumed I’m white. It’s how you termed it. Would it be any different if you had said “how black of you”? And, not knowing one thing about me, how would you come to the conclusion that I don’t know what the”non-white population finds tangible on a daily basis.”? Like you would?

    Give me a break. Call a spade a spade here: You’re an over-sensitive weenie. When a derogutory term is thrown at me, or my people, I brush it off as ignorance. If it was obviously was not meant at all to be derogutory to me or my people, I don’t give it a second thought. If it was thrown at some other people, follow the same rules. It might do you well to follow the same logic.

    This much is crystal clear (see if you can follow the simplicity): The cartoon linked the writers of the bill (congress headed by Reid and Pelosi) to the chimp incident. Bad humor? Yes. Racist? No.

  13. PiedType says:

    The NY Post is a tabloid rag, not to be taken seriously as a newspaper; the cartoon fits right into its sensationalist bottom-feeding nature. They knew full well how it would be interpreted.

  14. lunawolf says:

    Like sexual harassment, racism cannot be defined by the person giving it, but by the person offended by it. That is why Tropic Thunder got so much flak. It wasn’t the artists making fun of actors that pissed people off, it was how it felt to consumers (disabled people) and their advocates. It can never be defined by the person giving it, otherwise all cases of harassment could be written off with a simple, “Well, I didn’t mean it that way,” by the offender, which is not a real excuse. There is so much info out there. The artist had to have known that this could have been interpreted a way other than he intended, if he did indeed intend it differently at all.

  15. ReyMac says:

    “derogutory”? Spelling errors lead to loss of credibilty, and I’m typing with my thumbs! I do seem to have hit a nerve with my “accusation” of whiteness. Too bad your nerve was dead when it came to the cartoon.

  16. Matt says:

    Wow. I can’t believe people actually think that cartoon isn’t racist. I mean, that’s just plain and simple. I may hate President Obama’s policies and the way the Democrats have effectively raped future American generations with this bill, but that doesn’t make me blind to OBVIOUS racism. Horrible idea by a cartoonist, worse judgement by the editor…

    Elf and Danny, you’re the type of people who give us REAL conservatives a bad name…

  17. LOUDelf says:

    Good call. When your point is lost, take a shot at someone’s typo. No nerve hit… it was just ironic that one so sensitive to one group, seemed so easy to dish it on another… or was that hypocritical. Heck, we’ll say both.

  18. Pingback: Playing the Race Card « Spreading the Word

  19. Pink says:

    An interesting question: Should the cartoon have been drawn? Published?

    One could argue for one’s right according to freedom of speech to write/draw and publish racist or offensive cartoons. But if we analyse our own responses to such cartoons honestly, we would find our own opinions strongly against them. Why would we bother speaking out so strongly against expressions of racism if we firmly believed in the right of the one expressing them to express them? Why not issue something of a shrug: “interesting that you have such an opinion, dude, but I disagree” and end of discussion?

    Is it human nature to attempt to quell words as much as actions that offend our most core principles? Or have we been socialised to censor? Is it appropriate to remove from the public sphere overt expressions of racist hatred? Or are they acceptable as long as no-one gets hurt? Where does one draw the line of distinction, since “one getting hurt” is only a future possibility and not a current certainty?

    Another aspect of this controversy is the tendency of us white people to say or do some of the most objectionable things and then come out with one of those trite sayings: “some of my best friends are ___” or “I’m not racist, but ___” or “I’m not trying to be racist but ___” etc. If you have to use the conjunction “but,” then wasn’t the original statement racist in the first place? Unfortunately, it has developed to the point that we have slight nuances of speech that are racist, and most of us are completely unaware until someone points it out to us. And even then, most of us deny it and pull one of those disgustingly overused quips out of the hat. We white people have got so blind to our own racism that we cannot even see it when we are expressing it.

By all means, leave your 2 bobs worth

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