the new york post ran a cartoon depicting the author of the stimulus bill as a dead chimpanzee, shot & killed in cold blood by two befuddled looking white male cops. the caption comes from the cop standing behind the cop with the smoking gun in his hand and reads: "they'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." this racist cartoon, drawn by sean delonas, was strategically run on wednesday february 18, the day after president barack hussein obama signed into law the $800+ billion bill, his first major piece of legislation.
i contend ownership breeds oppression. new york post owner rupert murdoch, whom also owns the fox news channel, has historically attacked the beauty, dignity & hue-manity of black folk in one genre or anotha. to expect anything different from him or his employees would be insane. malcolm x once said, "if you're black & in america & don't know you're crazy, then you're really crazy." still, the timing of this cartoon is eerily similar to cnn producing black male comedian (instead of a black male activist, historian, journalist or professor) dl hugley's show, "dl hughley: breaking the news," a few short weeks b4 the election. any wonder why folks say the more things change the more they stay the same?
perhaps delonas did not intend to be controversial. nonetheless his cartoon has created a media frenzy. i peeped the news & witnessed various perspectives from cnn's anderson cooper, david gergen & roland martin, msnbc's keith olberman & the women on abc's daytime talkfest the view. i tuned on the radio (wbai-fm) & heard from bklyn councilman charles barron, whom, along with councilmembers eric adams & letitia james, as well as rev al sharpton, has organized a series of rallies in front of the post's mid-town nyc headquarters, in addition to otha pro-active initiatives. finally, i went online & got instructions from colorofchange.org & yourblackworld.com, two progressive organizations dedicated to social change, to boycott the paper & write the post's editors & corporate sponsors demanding a public apology & the immediate firing of delonas.
i just love it when folks talk about racism :-)
the cartoon, run on pg 12 of the paper & can also be seen on their web, was not funny, insightful or meaningful in any way. the post says the cartoon was meant to mock the contents of the stimulus bill by comparing the legislation to the now infamous pet chimpanzee who attacked a woman in connecticut. furthermore, the post's editor, col allan, defends the concerns of black & otha progressive folk stating, "the cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to with 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 political opportunist."
the post wants us to believe the cartoon is not about obama. but on the page preceding the cartoon there's a big picture of obama signing the bill. some pundits - not limited to republicans but also including well-meaning blacks & so-called liberal whites - who defend the post say the cartoon could easily be mocking nancy pelosi, speaker of the house or otha congresspeople who supported the bill. yet the historical legacy of apes, chimps & monkeys as racist symbols of black folk in america, used many times during the election attacking obama's character, are part of our ancestral cellular memory.
yesterday myself & otha journalists received an e-mail from the post's associate editor sandra guzman which reads, "thank you for your feedback. please know that i had nothing to do with the sean delonas cartoon. i neither commissioned or approved it. i saw it in the newspaper yesterday with the rest of the world. and, i have raised my objections to management." white house press secretary robert gibbs was asked about the image on air force one wednesday. he replied, "i have not seen the cartoon, but i don't think its altogether newsworthy that i don't spend a lot of time reading the new york post."
what is particularly troubling about the cartoon image is the increase in race-based violence in america. hate crimes are on the rise, ranging from arson on black churches to homosexual assalts to vandalism. in fact, obama survived an unprecedented number of death threats, reported or otherwise, during his historic journey to 1600 pennsylvania avenue. just a week ago, a man drove from louisiana to the capitol with a rifle b4 he was stopped by the police, whom he told he had a "delivery" for the president. in venezuela, hugo chavez had to pass a law against the right wing calling for his assassination over television. would a bigoted group be punished for doing the same thing in america?
a cartoon calling for the murder of a us president gets you prison time...
hopefully the black press and/or global journalists of color will seek to do more than write about how pissed off we are. its not enuf to be outraged when the life of a hue-man being is publicly attacked. the cartoon should serve as a lesson in white supremacy 101. rev dr king jr said, "a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere." the new york post should be held accountable financially, legally & socially for their crimes aganst hue-manity. if folks (americans, democrats, obama supporters, i.e.) allow the new york post to get away with the usual default apology for this blatant offense then the blame is on us not them.
in the late-80's i joined forces with cemotap - commitee to eliminate media offensive to african people - a queens-based non-profit, to boycott the new york post. among otha pro-active initiatives we disseminated fact sheets, marched in the streets of harlem, urged consumers to stop buying the paper & wrote editorials to raise folks' awareness & cultivate social change. the noted african-american historian benjamin mays once said, "a man's job may be finished, but his work is never done." in the spirit of mumia abu-jamal, anthony baez, sean bell, tawana brawley, eleanor bumphurs, larry davis, amadou diallo, michael griffith, fred hampton, rodney king, abner louima, anthony rosario & assata shakur i'm reminded of an ole skool cultural saying, "praise the lord & pass the ammunition."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.