By now you have seen the infamous cartoon published by the New York Post — the one where upon having shot a rabid chimp, a policeman comments, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” Apparently it was a reference to the recent case of the woman in Connecticut who was attacked by a chimp. It has sparked an outcry among people such as Al Sharpton, accusing the cartoonist of racism.
At best, the cartoon may be suggesting that the stimulus was so poorly written that it could have been done by a monkey. However, the image of a chimp associated with the first African American President’s stimulus plan references the tired and ugly stereotype of blacks being closely related to monkeys. Not to mention that the violence brings to mind police brutality, which is still too common in the black community. (See Oscar Grant)
Apparently the author has a history of producing tasteless cartoons, and while one response could be to sigh and continue on with the day, or brush it off and declare people too sensitive, another response could be to have a conversation about the matter.
First off, I am definitely for free speech. Criticism and debate is vital in a democracy, and no party or institution should be off limits. But there is also the question of taste. If a prominent leader was depicted as decapitated, there would surely be outrage. This cartoon similarly shows disregard for an African American male life Whether the racist inferences were intentional or not, they are still there and still continue to perpetuate damaging ideas within society. Ultimately the cartoon fails to deliver any real satire or witty insight into the stimulus package.
If you would like for the cartoonist Sean Delonas and the New York Post to issue an apology for the cartoon, please sign the citizen petition.
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