Friday, February 20, 2009

“They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill”


This racially charged cartoon was published in the New York Post on Wednesday, February 18th.

In a statement, Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: "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.”

Please tell me, is there anyone who can explain to me what the depiction of a police officer shooting and killing a monkey (sorry! Chimpanzee) has to do with an economic stimulus bill? Please clarify for me the “clear parody” of the current news event of the shooting of a violent chimpanzee to an economy in distress? Without any other explanation of its intent, which a cartoon should not need -- it should be self-explanatory in-and-of itself -- please tell me how this depiction mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy?

Lola Adesioye of The Guardian at wrote, “This is where Delonas's sketch becomes problematic. If you were one of the many people in New York or elsewhere who hadn't heard about Travis the chimp, the sketch simply should not really have made much sense when you looked at it. But instead, when stripped of its local context, the image still contains a great deal of meaning – very ugly, racist and violent meaning.”

Lola continues: “It's hard to believe that this cartoon was not created to be deliberately ambiguous. Virtually everything in it – from the chimpanzee to the policemen to the random "beware of dog" sign – is a double entendre. The heading, which reads "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," refers to a single person. Considering that most people associate President Barack Obama, not Nancy Pelosi or Congress, with the writing of the bill, it is not far-fetched to think that most would think that the chimpanzee is a caricature of the first African-American president. That is highly offensive, especially considering the long history of dehumanising black people by associating them with monkeys.”

It’s hard for me to believe, also, Lola, for it is clear to me that the related news event here is the comparative racist stereotype of blacks looking like monkeys with Obama, an African-American, which has everything to do with the economic stimulus bill, since it was his legislative initiative that drove the economic stimulus bill to fruition.

The New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch who imported the sensationalist "tabloid journalism" style of his British tabloid papers. Because of this, the good news is that it is not a paper taken very seriously for its news content.

Nevertheless, the cartoon to me is and was intended to be racist with very disturbing overtones.