Of course it was racist!

45146713 "The cartoon shows a police officer, after his colleague just shot dead a chimpanzee, saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Critics said yesterday that the chimpanzee served as a crude interpretation of Obama, the nation's first black president, who signed the $787-billion economic stimulus package into law Tuesday. The cartoon sparked a heated debate among journalists, elected officials and community leaders about the appropriateness of comparing an African-American president to a primate."  Newsday


I hate to agree with C. Matthews, but this cartoon was so obviously a crude, humorless, racial insult to the president and all Black people that one must take notice of it.  Newscorp and the Murdoch people everywhere should "examine their consciences" over this.  The reference to the stimulus bill makes the target of the cartoon as clear as it could be.

Some people have said that this cartoon might have been funny fifty years ago.  That is not true.  It would never have been funny.  Decent people have never thought that idiotic comparisons of Blacks to animal primates were amusing or acceptable as humor.

The New York Post has the largest circulation in the city?  Well then, there is an obvious corrective for this kind of behavior.

Don't buy it.  pl


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27 Responses to Of course it was racist!

  1. Matthew says:

    My lifetime boycott of the Post will continue.

  2. “Newscorp and the Murdoch people everywhere should “examine their consciences” over this.”

    How do you examine your conscience when you don’t have one?

  3. jamzo says:

    in my physician’s office there is a tv and it is always set on the fox news network
    i do not watch this news network and cannot imagine a situation in which i would
    over the years i have come to think of the doctor as “on a different side of the political table” from me
    during my visit last night he mentioned the controversy over the ad and proceeded to tell me that “blacks and others were destroying western civilization”
    my doctor is not just on the “opposite side of the political table”, he is on the opposite side of life
    he expressed a great deal of anger and hate towards people who are not white-skinned
    it is unfortunate that many people share these feelings
    i am pleased to see murdoch, the nypost and the cartoonist called on their hateful cartoon
    i told the doctor that i did not share his feelings and that i thought his opinion was wrong
    i am thinking about whether i want to change to a new physician because of our difference in feelings toward people

  4. What it says about Murdoch has been said before, but what it says about New Yorkers that they tolerate this is astounding.

  5. Rupert Murdoch equals Howard Cosell! Howard got his just deserts and now Rupert should get his!

  6. doug says:

    I’ve been around a while and still remember the ubiquitous racist missionary/boiling pot cartoons well into the 60’s.
    However, when I first saw this cartoon I connected stimulus and dead chimp (economy proxy) but didn’t connect it to Obama. If anything a “chimp” is more closely associated with Bush who was President during the 8 years prior to the crisis.
    So I can’t say for sure the intent was racist though it may well have been.

  7. fnord says:

    Sir, my assumption is that they want a repeat over the Muhammad cartoon issue from over here in Scandinavia. Its the anti-muslim reactionary “freedom-of-speech includes the right to be racist” movement. We have thousands in Europe. They fill the internet, all the news-blogs and commentsections.

  8. JohnS says:

    NYers are not “tolerating” this, Keone Michaels. From Yahoo News:

    The cartoon set off a furious response against the Post. Its phones rang all day with angry callers. Protesters picketed the tabloid’s Manhattan offices, demanding an apology and a boycott and chanting “shut the Post down.”

  9. White New Yorkers, many of them, have a longstanding race problem. Remember Howard Beach? Not just the murder of the hapless young man who wandered into the wrong neighborhood, but the vicious counter-protesters afterward when the Black community tried to get some justice. I lived in Brooklyn from 1984-1994 and I remember it all very well.

  10. Brett J says:

    I thought Reid and Pelosi wrote the stimulus bill? They do monkey around in the Capitol Building and the cloak room…

  11. Sven Ortmann says:

    I’m German, so not afflicted by the U.S. version fo racism at all.
    My first impression of the chimp caricature was that the made a connection between the stimulus and an amok run.
    I didn’t even think of Obama before I read the article that complained about racism in the caricature.
    I (vaguely) recall a quote of Jon Stewart from the Daily Show:
    He meant that the U.S. people should NOT get agitated about caricatures because they’re NOT like the Muslim extremists.
    I believe he has a point.

  12. bstr says:

    Dear Jamzo, I hope you were going for a laugh when you said you were “considering” changing doctors. One thing I know from experience is once having expressed your position clearly to a racist they will associate you with the object of their mindless hate. If this is the only doctor in your town “consider” seeing a veterinarian.

  13. NY Irish says:

    My recollection of all the NY ‘white on black’ racial incidents over the past generation is that they occurred in Italian neighborhoods – Howard Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, New Dorp. It happened to white people too – it was known as a ‘guinea stomper’ in my youth.
    re the latest outrage from the NY Post:
    For his treasonous intrigues on behalf of British interests, Sir Rupert Murdoch should have his naturalized citizenship revoked and be deported. Such foreign interests often play the race card with great effect in the U.S.

  14. Cujo359 says:

    I assumed this was a tasteless reference to the recent incident involving a chimpanzee that killed its owner’s friend and was then shot to death by a policeman. I still don’t see it as “obviously” racist, though that’s always a possibility. It might have just been a jibe at Rep. Obey, who is credited with writing the first draft of the stimulus bill (he’s white, BTW). Or, it could have been just a symbol of the somewhat hurried way in which it was put together – as in, a psycho chimp could have done it.
    I try not assume racism or other bigotry unless it’s pretty obviously not something else. In this case, there are alternative explanations.

  15. Ralph Anske says:

    Yes, boycotting does some good. So does burning news stands and delivery trucks. As a capitalist, I’d be comfortable with having the “artiste’s” hands cut off and mailed to Murdoch. It’s always good to have a few options in one’s quiver.

  16. Daniel Nicolas says:

    Bush was depicted as a monkey all 8 years of his administration.
    Apparently there is a double standard.

  17. shepherd says:

    If you’re not from the US, you don’t have the background for this one. And if you’re from the US and aren’t aware that primate references = racism, then you’re spending a little too much time in your fortified compound.
    Halfway through the election, someone marketed a “sock monkey” puppet of Obama. The person who made the monkey turned out to be genuinely clueless, and when the reference was explained, he quickly stopped selling the puppet. Nobody at the time questioned that equating monkeys with African Americans is racist.
    Here’s the link:

  18. Cujo359 says:

    Well, gosh, shepherd, don’t I feel silly. Clearly, in all rhetorical circumstances, “primate references = racism”. Just like “cigar = sex”, right?
    I always thought it was the simpleminded who could only see one possibility, but you sure set me straight. I guess I’ll just have to go out and work on my fortifications a little more to get ready for the primate references wars.
    Personally, I think a little foreign perspective is refreshing, given the circumstances.

  19. Eric Dönges says:

    If you’re not from the US, you don’t have the background for this one. And if you’re from the US and aren’t aware that primate references = racism, then you’re spending a little too much time in your fortified compound.
    Actually, anyone from Europe should have the background for this one as well, since comparing (black) Africans to apes and/or monkeys is as old as European colonialism in Africa and was quite common well into the 20th century.
    And Daniel, comparing Mr. Bush to a monkey is different, because it is a personal attack on Mr. Bush only, not an entire racial group. Caricaturists will simply have to come up with something novel for President Obama.

  20. DW says:

    There’s a long tradition in American cartooning of drawing people as monkeys/apes to show they’re subhuman. Thomas Nast did that with the Irish in the 19th century. It’s hard to believe a professional cartoonist would be unaware of that history or the implications of showing a black man as a monkey. Adding in cops shooting the monkey and you’d really have to be willfully ignorant not to understand why it’s offensive. Sadly, dumb insolence isn’t a crime.
    – DW

  21. shepherd says:

    “Well, gosh, shepherd, don’t I feel silly. Clearly, in all rhetorical circumstances, “primate references = racism”. Just like “cigar = sex”, right?”
    I obviously misspoke. A better way of putting it is that in this rhetorical circumstance it could mean that. And the publishers of the Post should have recognized their error, either before publication or as soon as objections were raised. Instead, they lashed out at their critics. I can easily forgive them for publishing the cartoon, but not for defending it.

  22. graywolf says:

    In this time of political correctness, it doesn’t take much to offend someone somewhere all the time.
    People need to take their grow-up pills – if that would do any good.

  23. Patrick Lang says:

    greywolf et al
    I write about the War Between the States, and in trying to write of the psychological realities of that time, I have found that the sensitvity levle of many americans of all races remains so high on the issue of race relations in the US that it is virtually impossible to write of the subject in what I think of as a balanced way without offending many.
    I just ignore that. Holder is right. pl

  24. verc says:

    I must confess that I didn’t at first glance find this cartoon racist. I actually roared out loud with laughter. Admittedly, my first encounter was a synopsis of it in print. I didn’t actually “see” the cartoon. But the line is hysterical.
    Now, in hindsight, I can see how some find it racist. I can’t testify as to the cartoon author’s intent.
    I hate the stimulus bill though, and it probably could have been written by a chimp. Heck, a chimp might have done better.
    I really don’t know what the cartoon author’s intentions were. I found the line funny though, and that had nothing to do with race.
    Bush used to get called a chimp all the time.
    Maybe this chimp/Obama comparison is overblown.
    I mean… to state explicitly that the cartoon is racist, would have to presuppose the author’s intentions.

  25. Highlander says:

    “Sometimes a monkey is just a monkey” Nothing less, nothing more. Political correctness continues to run amuck.
    But Obama is our President, and nothing should be done that anyone could construe as dishonoring him or the office. The Post has rightly apologized. Now can we focus on something else, like preventing the next economic world wide depression.
    I understand that for the most part. The stimulus bill was conjured up not in the White House, but in the halls of our very own congress.
    No matter what political party, over the years I have noticed a high correlation with congressional behavior and chimpanzee like actions.

  26. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Here’s an interesting hypothetical, at least to me.
    Suppose the same cartoonist for the same reasons drew the same cartoon but it first appeared in a newspaper in Evergreen, Alabama.
    Would the outcry be the same, less, or more? Would the NY Post crowd offer the same lame excuses about the cartoon (which, imo, is consistent with racist cartoons from the past) or would the editorial staff leap at the chance to describe the cartoon as racist.
    If history is an indication, odds certainly exist had the cartoon originated in Evergreen, Alabama, then C. Matthews would have aired his show from Evergreen for the next three weeks. It most certainly would offer movie of the week potential.
    And Susan Sherandon or someone of that ilk would lead protests in Los Angeles. Never mind that LA in the early 1990’s was the venue of some of the worse race riots in American history — riots that targeted innocent Korean Americans and left Koreatown looking as if it had been hit with cruise missiles. Speaking of which, will anyone ever apologize to the Korean Americans of Los Angeles? Maybe the US Attorney General has the courage to do so.
    So, perhaps, the message of the cartoon goes beyond just racism. It also reflects a very deep dysfunctional dynamic that is part of the American experience — the inability of at least some Americans to look within and transform themselves first. Instead, they project their racist attitudes onto others.
    After all, far easier for a Boston Brahmin to talk about Arkansas than south Boston or Beacon Hill, no?
    I don’t know if the wbs exacerbated this dynamic (the abolitionist Spooner thought so but I just dunno’). And I am not saying that racism does not exist in the South. Of course it exists. But the cartoon originated in the NY Post and therefore echoes the famous quote from DeTocqueville about race relations in America.

  27. optimax says:

    This John McWhorter interview on Bill Moyer’s Journal is enlightening:
    It made me realize many of us are still fighting the battles from the 60s while the battlefield has moved elsewhere. Sometimes the wisdom of the elders needs to be rejuvenated by the inteligence of youth.

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