Some have interpreted a New York Post cartoon as comparing President Barack Obama to the fed up chimpanzee that went berserk and was gunned down by police drew criticism from racially sensitive civil rights leaders, elected officials, and others who said the cartoon reflected racist stereotypes of blacks people as monkeys and lower primates by people in the dominant community. The cartoon by Sean Delonas refers to the chimpanzee that was killed by police in Stamford, Connecticut, after it mauled a friend of its owner. Some added the fact that the cartoon suggests that Mr. Obama should be or would be assassinated. Some urged a boycott of the New York Post and the companies that will continue to advertise in it without voicing some kind of outrage.
Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton described the cartoon as troubling given the history of racist attacks on the black people as being synonymous with monkeys. T-shirts portraying Obama as the children’s book character Curious George, a monkey, made occasional appearances among audience members at Republican rallies during last year’s election campaign, and a similar stuffed doll continues to be advertised online.
However, Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post, defended the work saying, “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.”
Maybe Mr. Sharpton is doing nothing but looking for more work because issues of racial disparity have shriveled up like the rest of the economy. But if the American people would take a more sensitive approach towards matter of race then we wouldn’t have this problem. Instead, so many people want to excuse even the most disgusting forms of racial insensitivity as just a prank or a joke or a private matter.
In the recent past we’ve seen people come out the woodwork to defend the bounty hunter who refers to his son’s black girlfriend as little more than a gold digging nigger out to take everything the bounty hunter has worked for. We’ve seen people come out to defend senators who stand in front of campaign rallies who point to the lone black person in crowd and very publicly used a racial slur in reference to the minority to a roar of applause. People defend white students hanging nooses off of school trees as little more than fun loving scamps. People jump to the defense of the talk radio program host who refers to black women as nappy headed ho’s. And people jump out of this same woodwork to defend portrayals of Mr. Obama as a derivative of Curious George because it is nothing more than the nature of the political campaign beast.
And that’s just the recent racial disparity that we tolerate. There are years, decades, even centuries of racial disparity, racial hypocrisy, racial subjugation, racial inequality, racial caricatures, and so much more that constantly portrays black people as the inferior of white people. We’ve gone through entire eras of institutionalized slavery, Jim Crow laws, separate but far from equal, white only conveniences and facilities, and a very long list of etcetera.
Because we as a national collective choose to avoid issues of race we can never meet the challenges of our racial dysfunction that continues to percolate beneath the surface. Black people can deal with a lack of education and employment and the like. For years, black people have dealt with issues of foreclosure and the lack of employment in the black community. But as soon as these conditions hit the broader, racially generic dominant community so thoroughly controlled by white people then we have to have a stimulus package. What’s good enough for the black goose is never good enough for the white gander.
If we were to ever make an honest, concerted effort to confront our racism head on we could perhaps get to a point where people wouldn’t feel so free to wear their racist fueled social impairment on their proverbial sleeves and others would not feel the need to wear a racially charged chip on the shoulder.
Unfortunately, to even make the suggestion that we should take the time to confront this issue as a nation of people with a common goal for a better future is to invite ridicule. Mr. Obama said as much last year when he gave his first speech to distance himself from Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Obama’s call for racial healing was met with derision from people like ultra conservative Pat Buchanan who responded that black people should be on their knees thanking white people for our perpetual state of racial inequality. And true to form, people from the dominant community defend other people from the dominant community who defend the racial disparity of the status quo.