Friday, February 20, 2009

The Cartoon


Here's why the now infamous New York Post cartoon didn't cut through me as deeply: I equated the animal with Congress in general, not the president. The language ("They'll have to find someone else to WRITE the next stimulus bill") also indicates the intent of the satire. Obama never WROTE the bill...that's Pelosi's and Reid's baby; if anything THEY ought to be offended. But in any case, I filtered it through my personal lenses and I realize those are of a white, foreign-born, middle class man. I am hyper-aware of that.

That being said, I get it. I see how it may cross lines...divisive lines, hurtful lines, historical lines. I understand the protests in front of the Post building yesterday, especially coming on the heels of Attorney General Holder calling us a "nation of cowards" when it comes to racial dialogues. I think the Post's apology was the right thing to do. It was insensitive to run the cartoon and I personally believe both artist and the paper knew this was coming. I don't trust corporations; this stinks of a benign-enough stunt for the Post to pull, then ameliorate the situation with a quick apology to the African-American community. The press it has generated for the paper is gargantuan...and invaluable. I believe the Post weighed its options and decided this was a good enough risk to take.

What I loathe is the reactionary furor from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson---now longtime stalwart leaders of the African-American community---who need to realize that their time and glory days have passed. These are the community's dinosaurs who, much like parasites, now thrive on static and the toxic puss flowing from re-opening racial wounds perpetually. With these two men around there will NEVER be any progress made between the races; I whole-heartedly believe these men's personal and financial well-being is based upon widening division lines between whites and blacks. I am convinced that these two are detrimental to the African-American community.

The days are approaching when a new generation looks at a cartoon like this and does not let it divide and conquer its communities. That new generation is our children, raised by us to understand that the only race is the human race, and that color is absent, and equality and rights do not cut one way or another. Nor are they bought and traded like commodities. That new generation will shake its head at the insensitivity of such cartoons, understanding fully the history and struggles of the African-American community in this country, as well as the complex inter-relationships of human beings in general. The new generation will take unified, appropriate, consumer action against companies and corporations like the New York Post. It will speak with its all-inclusive, cohesive processes and will effect change by flexing its all-powerful consumerist muscles against all perpetrators or perpetuators of racism, bigotry, and exploitation.

I truly believe these days are coming. Personally, as a father, I am doing my bit to ensure I am privy to living in these times before my jig is up and they discard of me properly in a six-foot hole. That is my hope.

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