What was the New York Post thinking?

In today's edition of the New York Post, there was a cartoon in the editorial section that can only be described as racist. I am warning those who feel that this is not that I am about to go in hard on this article. I expect people to be offended, just as I was offended when I awoke to this disgusting cartoon in the newspaper this morning.

Admittedly the cartoon on its face does not appear racist. Had the image of the cops shooting the chimp been left alone, it would have been viewed by many animal lovers as insensitive, but that would have been the end of the furor. Its the accompanying text combined with the imagery that is causing the uproar around the country.

Now I must be a downright fool to believe what Col Allan, editor in chief of the New York Post said in his comments today. "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy." I urge everyone to help me figure out where the correlation between the chimpanzee story in Connecticut and the stimulus signing. The only comparison is that the two stories occurred on the same day. If that is enough of a correlation to warrant the publication of this cartoon, then either it was a slow day, or the editors of the Post need some lessons on diversity sensitivity. And in the next breath Col Allan goes on to say that "Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist." Now for the New York Post to defend themselves by deflecting criticism to Sharpton is inexcusable. I have not always been a fan of his, but in this case he is right to be as upset as he is. The Post clearly doesn't see their fault in this and that is as upsetting as anything else.

Now bear with me as I detail why this image is racist. Blacks being portrayed as primates goes back to colonial times. Portraying people as sub-human was a way to justify much of the barbaric and inhuman behavior that blacks suffered. This remained part of the lexicon of racist imagery throughout history. This is clearly common and should have not been a surprise to anyone at the New York Post.

The connection of cops shooting blacks has always been a contentious issue in society. Blacks and police departments have always been at odds. In more recent times because of the many shootings and fatal beatings of black men (often unarmed) by white police officers. This has especially been a problem in New York City during the past two decades. As a major newspaper publication that deals with stories from New York, one would assume that the Post would be more sensitive. Apparently not.

The election of the first black President of the United States has been a big deal. I have a hard time believing that if the President had been white, there would have been a cartoon made of this magnitude. Furthermore as news editors, one must think about the connotations that images have. It is clear that there were not any members of this editorial board that are black. And if they were, they should be ashamed of themselves for not speaking up about this cartoon.

Now combine the imagery of two (white) cops shooting at a monkey (black man and first black president) who also happens to represent the writer of the stimulus package and one clearly sees why people are angry today.

Some may argue that the image isn't racist, but merely ignorant. I am tired of this argument. We as a society can not continue to feign ignorance when it clearly is more. The connotations of these images are clearly well-known. These editors, I assume all went to good colleges and have received a good education. I refuse to believe that they were ignorant to these themes and images. Let's call a spade a spade and call racism what it is, where it is and how it is. I would do the same if the images were offensive to whites. I expect others to do the same here. We can't continue down this road of blatant racism and making it seem like much less.

I fully support a ban of the New York Post and a full apology and removal of the editor(s) who approved this cartoon. Nothing less should satisfy!!!!


Natasha said…
Thank you for writing this! I saw the cartoon and seriously wondered why this was supposed to be funny. Some people just don't get it and others (worse yet) feign ignorance. I'm actually not surprised though. The post is the written equivalent of fox news. Anything of importance is always littered among racist trash...
I am happy that someone else noticed this. I would also like to point out that you said "let's call a spade a spade" towards the end of the post, since spade was a heavily used racial slur for blacks.
Still though, I appreciate the fact that you spoke on this, which a lot of people are unwilling to do.

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