Race And Politics

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Positive Real Estate Professionals

It has taken me a day to figure out what I wanted to say about a cartoon I came across on several blog posts yesterday. To set the scene the cartoon was published in the New York Post by one of their regular cartoonists named Sean Delonas. The cartoon came a day after the tragic attack by a chimpanzee on its owner and her friend in Stamford, Connecticut that resulted in the hospitalization of the two women and the shooting death of the chimpanzee. It also came on the heels of President Obama signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It should also be noted that the US Attorney General had admonished in a speech the same day of the cartoon's release that Americans don't talk about race and its impact on many Americans everyday life. I do not know what any of your reactions might be to the cartoon, but my reaction was one of visceral revulsion.

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Rainer
207,504
Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

Lane I dont think you understand the history involved in this image. I wont stoop to that level and post something here but there is no way that anyone involved in media is not familar with this image. It would be like showing a burning cross and claiming its just really zealous christians.

Feb 20, 2009 02:44 PM #5
Rainer
38,809
Michelle Chamberlain
Above All Financial Services -Pennsylvania Mortgage Broker - Secane, PA
Suburban Philadelphia Mortgage Broker

Ok, I have not commented on other posts realted to this topic but I am commenting now.  I agree with Lane.

1) The president does not write the laws , nor did he write this bill.  Congress does.

2) The whole point of the cartoon was that the bill was poorly written and could have been written by a monkey.  Monkeys doing simple work of humans is a common cartoon image, it has nothing to do with race.  Furthermore if you've ever read a politcal cartoon the author always makes it very clear what and who the images are supposed to represent.  Since the caption reads "They'll have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill" and Obama is still around, how can one conclude that this is referring to Obama? 

3) The real one who should be offended is the monkey, since he is being compared to the likes of Reid and Pelosi or that he was dumb enough to write such a crappy bill.

4) It is not the cartoon that is fueling the fires of racism but rather those like Al Sharpton who wish to find racism where there is none. 

Michelle

Feb 20, 2009 02:56 PM #6
Rainmaker
342,854
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

There's nothing innocent about this image. It is unconscionable and the connection is undeniable. To suggest that the racist connotations are imaginary is absurd.

Liz

Feb 20, 2009 04:12 PM #7
Rainer
279,387
Libby Cousins
Extraordinary Processing - Spokane, WA
Contract Mortgage Processor, licensed in WA

IMHO- I would never have written/drawn something like this anyway. Even if it is not directed at Obama (which I hope and don't think it was) or any one person, or even political party, it is not in good taste. I think that what the chimpanzee did to that poor woman was horrific and reading about it made me a little sick to my stomach. I wouldn't want to see anything like this especially so soon after the incident and think it was in poor taste to the injured woman, her family and friends, the owner and her family and friends and people in general.

Doesn't it make sense that you would get a few opinions first before publishing something like that and see how it is interpreted? I would think people would try to steer clear of anything that could be construed or misconstrued as racism.

Feb 20, 2009 05:23 PM #8
Rainmaker
116,834
Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

Rich: I never would have seen it that way...It is clearly an attack on the shoddily (is that a word?) thrown together stimulus package that this cartoonist obviously thought any chimp could have written.

However, kudos to you for bringing this up as a topic. I believe it is exactly what US Attorney General Holder was urging us to do -- having more frank and open discussions about race.

 

Feb 20, 2009 11:09 PM #9
Ambassador
535,524
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Rich...We do not always understand the sensitivities of others.  It is interesting to see how different people interpret this drawing in different ways.

Whether it was meant to depict President Obama, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, or only the Democrats in Congress, or the entire membership of the Congress, I have no idea.  I cannot get into the mind of the cartoonist.  I can only know for sure how it looked to me.  It appeared to me to be about President Obama.  If it was not that I misunderstood.  If it was, I am disappointed.

A great many other people felt that President Obama was the target of the "joke".  If that is the case, they certainly have the right to be offended.

As far as the sloppiness of the bill, I'm much more concerned about the shoddy way we have been governed for the past several years.  Perhaps if we did not have the huge deficit that we currently have we would have been able to weather this storm much better.  Perhaps we wouldn't even have this crises.  I'm a little less inclined to favor the judgment of those that were in leadership positions during this meltdown.  That is why they lost power.

Yes, I know that many, many people do not believe going from a surplus to a deficit has weakened the economic stability of our country.  Oh well, I guess that's just one more thing we cannot agree on.

It is easy for the dissenting side to stand back and criticize.  If they had the right answers why didn't they put them in place when they were in the majority?

Thank you Rich for your continued interest in decency and accountability.

Kate

Feb 21, 2009 01:39 AM #10
Rainmaker
430,556
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

This is shocking that The New York Post would publish something so shocking and in poor taste. If I had a subscription to that paper I would cancel it and write a letter as to why. This was in inappropriate on many levels.

Feb 21, 2009 03:18 AM #11
Rainer
130,286
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Bo - That was my gut reaction too.

Lane - While that could be a valid interpretation, the racial overtones are undeniable and inappropriate.

Justin - I agree and that is why I felt compelled to write about it and took time to think about what I wanted to say before doing so.

Shane - The attempt to divide a diverse population along racial, religious, etc. lines should be offensive to all who have read and believe in the words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Michelle - I do hope you are correct in your assessment that this was a comparison of Congress acting in simplistic ape-like fashion. If this is what was intended then the question which begs to be asked is: Was the cartoonist subtly advocating violence against members of Congress? And is this an acceptable way to resolve their simplistic ape-like actions? Either way, I do believe that the cartoonist should have displayed more racial sensitivity.

Elizabeth - That is how I feel as well.

Libby - It was definitely in bad taste and not well thought out. I too am surprised it made it past the editors.

Kim - I would think that the cartoonist and editorial staff of the NY Post would have tried to make sure there would be no room for misconstruing, if this is what has happened, the meaning or intentions of the cartoon.

Kate - It sadly appeared about President Obama as he is pretty much the one this new law is associated with; he will ultimately get the credit if it works or the derision if it doesn't. I was similarly upset during the campaign last fall when it seemed the news media would continuously fall back on sexist arguments when discussing Sarah Palin. HERE is that post.

Betina - I concur.

Feb 21, 2009 05:21 AM #12
Ambassador
535,524
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Rich...I beleive it was meant to depict President Obama but I can not prove it.  Now people are trying to shift the meaning anywhere but towards him.

Meanwhile, I am hoping that instead of many looking for the stimulus bill to fail they will begin to understand what dangerous territory we are in and put the country ahead of party or their own political future.

Kate

 

Feb 21, 2009 06:58 AM #13
Rainer
92,300
x Bye Bye
x - Bay Minette, AL
Delete Account

I agree this cartoon is poor taste; but its from a New York newspaper, so what can you say.

I do find it interesting that in almost every issue someone will always bring up racism.  Now the word racism is really in most cases wrongly used from the original meaning; but that is probably from our substandard schools. 

What I think most people really need to do is tough their skin a little. 

Feb 21, 2009 08:16 AM #14
Rainer
130,286
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Kate - I agree that it was probably meant to depict President Obama and that is sad and wrong. As to your second point, I think that many people try to find the opening for personal advantage where ever they can. While it is not bad to have political goals and ambitions it becomes bad if they usurp your constituents. I do hope that the new law succeeds and I agree with you that everyone should hope that as its success would be much more beneficial than its failure.

Brian - I am glad you agree that the cartoon is in poor taste. I do not subscribe to the notion however that people bring up race on a whim but rather when it is apparent that race had a role where it did not have to. A tougher skin usually forms from callouses but if callouses are frequently ripped off then the tougher skin is not given the time necessary to form.

Feb 21, 2009 08:44 AM #15
Rainmaker
146,615
Nogui Aramburo
Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® - Raleigh, NC
Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area

This cartoon is offensive on so many levels. I guess only if you've been a victim of racism could you adequately see the racism inferred by associating a monkey with the Stimulus bill. Sure the President didn't write it, but its being suppoorted by the Democratic party, which he just so happens to be leading at the moment.

From WIKI: Racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. People with racist beliefs might hate certain groups of people according to their racial groups.

Connecting an image of a monkey to our current leadership, the people behind the bill, being led by a black man is making the same old connections of how whites used to degrade blacks by calling them monkeys. Does anyone recall that blatant racist George Allen who called that Indian kid macacca (another monkey term) becuase of he was the only dark skinned person around IN FRONT OF CAMERAS??

 

Feb 21, 2009 11:58 PM #16
Rainer
302,425
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL

Yeah Rich, what we all need is a tougher skin!  Hard to believe that comment could even be thought of, given the overt subject of racism in the cartoon.  I guess if you're a white guy, who hasnt been the subject of dergatory rhetoric, the defense would be to just grow a thicker skin.  Personally, having lived in the segregated south and growing up in the non-segregated military, anything that smacks of racism is abhorrent.  If anyone wants to incite racism in this country, that cartoon is a perfect example.  Especially because we have a black president.

Feb 22, 2009 12:16 AM #17
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Inexcusable, inappropriate, disrespectful. misleading (using a lot of lattitude here), inciteful. racist, bigoted, hate mongering, fear mongering, and 100% assanine.

Just a few things that came to mind.

Feb 22, 2009 01:40 AM #18
Rainer
130,286
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Nogui - Ah yes, the macacca comment. Though I may have forgotten about it, I am fairly certain that the kid it was directed at has not. This cartoon in particular is full of racial coding.

Terry - I agree that growing up in a divided south, nothing gets my hackles up quicker than something like this which seems to negate the progress the south has worked hard to achieve. It is ironic that much of the overt racism like this cartoon that we see, now comes from regions other than the south.

Carol - I had similar thoughts myself.

Feb 22, 2009 02:09 AM #19
Ambassador
891,651
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

This is a problem that will HAVE to be overcome.  First, here is the statement of the Post:

"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."

And secondly, here is the statement of Congressman James Clyborn:

...but Clyburn said he was particularly taken aback by southern governors who said they might decline it.

"These four governors represent states that are in the proverbial black belt," Clyburn said.

"Knowing my history and knowing Texas history, all of this, it was a slap in the face of African-Americans," Clyburn said.

So, for many, opposing the stimulus is actually racist.  But, for the rest of us, as long as people have that attitude, claims of racism will be empty.  It equates to feigned outrage.

So, Rich... maybe you should contact Representative Clyburn's office, as well as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to give them your quote... 

Shane - The attempt to divide a diverse population along racial, religious, etc. lines should be offensive to all who have read and believe in the words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

So, if you take race out of the picture (aside from putting a lot of "leaders" out of a job) it is obvious that the cartoon is mocking the idiots in Congress that wrote this TERRIBLE bill.

Feb 22, 2009 02:53 AM #20
Rainer
130,286
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Lane - Opposing the stimulus bill is NOT racist. When opposing it is framed in historically racist language and/or imagery, as is implied by the cartoon, then that makes a racist argument.

You can also rest assured that I am quite active in e-mailing, letter writing, and phoning both local and national community leaders and elected officials when I feel it is necessary. In fact here is an article I wrote on my Rich Talks Real Estate blog entitled Speaking Up - Your Right & Responsibility that addresses this very issue and here is the response from my US Congressman entitled My Congressman Listened!

Again, opposing the stimulus bill is not, in and of itself, racist. Nor is opposing President Obama, Congress, individual Congressmen, a political party, etc.

Feb 22, 2009 04:23 AM #21
Anonymous
Aldon @ Orient Lodge

My immediate reaction was that it was highly offensive.  I do not know if the cartoonist intended it to be highly offensive, but that it how it came across to me.  I don't know if an editor reviewed the cartoon and realized that many would find it highly offensive.  If an editor did review it and knew it would be highly offensive, then there is something wrong with the edtior for running something that is highly offensive.  If the editor did not realize this was something many would find highly offensive, then there was something wrong with the editor.

If the cartoonist wanted to comment on the stimulus bill, then he is a failure because his choice of images that many find highly offensive derailed the discussion about the stimulus bill.

I also wonder if Charla Nash, who last I knew was in critical condition in the Cleveland Clinic after being attacked by the chimp would find the cartoon in good taste.

Feb 22, 2009 06:57 AM #22
Anonymous
Bob

I think it's racist also. Besides that monkey looks more like G.W. Bush than Obama.

Feb 22, 2009 07:24 AM #23
Rainer
130,286
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Aldon @ Orient Lodge - Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I find it offensive as well. I cannot imagine what that poor woman who was attacked would think of the cartoon.

Bob - Thanks for reading and commenting. I will be happy to provide a backlink to your website if you have one and provide the address.

Feb 22, 2009 08:31 AM #24
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