Friday, February 20, 2009

If I React Negatively To NY Post Cartoon Am I Hypersensitve or Hyperaware?

On Wednesday, the New York Post released a cartoon likening the author of the stimulus bill, with a crazy chimpanzee.

Take a look and tell me; If I, as an African-American am offended by this cartoon, am I being Hypersensitive or Hyperaware?

There has been wide-spread negative reaction to the cartoon within the African-American community, including from such notables as the Reverend Al Sharpton and Roland S. Martin. Sharpton and Martin see the cartoon as a "not so subtle" way of insulting President Barack Obama and called for an apology from the NY Post. Sharpton said the Post should clarify the point it was trying to make with the cartoon, which was parody off Monday's rampage by a pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., that left a woman severely mauled and police had to kill the chimp. Martin also said that the post should have done a better job editing this cartoon as the US has a history and legacy of racism. Martin had a particularly emotional exchange on CNN:

Others take the opposite view because, in their minds, the President didn't even write the stimulus package. They say the cartoon was aimed at the drafters of the Stimulus Bill, Speaker Pelosi and the Congress. They see Sharpton's criticism as an attempt to inject race.

Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: "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."

Now, I don't know what was in the hearts of the NY Post when they released this cartoon. IMHO it showed VERY poor judgement. I remember, early on in my communications classes, that you should always make your presentation with your audience in mind. Perhaps they did.

But for me, the issue here is not what the NY Post meant by this piece. I think the real issue here is that race is still an issue in this country: whether real or contrived in a given situation. Americans still have a lot of healing to do and will have to talk through a lot of flack before we truly resolve our differences and solve our problems.

So, what do you think? Does this cartoon have racist overtones? I'm troubled by the use of violence in the cartoon. Many countries have accused the US of only taking this approach to solve our differences with them. Is there any validity to this claim?

IamRobert and I welcome your comments.

"Got An Issue? Say What's On Your Mind!"


Len said...

This cartoon was in extremely poor taste, whoever its target may be.

Personally, I think the racial overtones are extremely strong. I do not understand how anyone can look at this cartoon and not see the racism so blatantly present in it.

Like you pointed out, though, the New York Post is most definitely catering to its audience.

Iam Robert said...


Thanks so much for sharing.

You are absolutely right, the overtones are strong. And, what about Roland Martin's point that the Post should have done a better job of editing the piece? These folks are supposed to be professionals, so I'm sure someone looked at it. Could it be that it was left to the imagination purposefully?

Anonymous said...

Hey I posted a little but about this on my blog. It isn't really a comment to your post, but it will work as one.

Iam Robert said...


This was a difficult one for me also. At first look at the cartoon, I didn't see overt racism. But then, I sort of agreed with Roland Martin: the Post should have edited the piece better instead of leaving it to the imagination.

And you're right, we need to have honest discussions about the ISSUES.

And you're right; we are not in a post-race society. That's why I find it troubling that many are questioning the reason for Black History Month, African-American media, and African-American websites in particular.