I am not quick to call something racist. In fact, I wrote an editorial pleading with everyone not to call the NY Post chimp cartoon racist. I went on MSNBC and defended that position. I’m afraid calling someone racist often times shuts off dialogue and should be reserved for only the clearest and worst cases. I also defended Don Imus and insisted he should not be fired for his comments.
So, I have some credibility here when I say conservative talk show host Jay Severin should absolutely be fired for his racist comments against Mexicans on the radio. I hesitate in writing about this because Severin is a pathetic nobody who might be looking for national attention by making these kinds of incredibly ignorant comments. But, on the other hand, there have to be consequences for this kind of deeply hateful speech. And if people don’t argue forcefully enough against it, there won’t be enough pressure on the station to get rid of this hateful racist.
To make a long story not so long, it’s because they’re pulling at straws. They are appealing to the most basic, race-baiting tendencies of the American people, and using the most transparent tactics imaginable. They have no ideas. They have very little credibility. They represent an increasingly small percentage of the American demographic — primarily old, white and Southern voters.
Check the way Rush “Boss Hog” Limbaugh calls the Somali pirates black, teenaged community organizers. Get it? Because after all, Barack Obama was once a community organizer. And he says a white Republican president would have been criticized for giving the shoot to kill order. This, of course, came only a day or so after he called Obama a woman for not killing the pirates.
Just process the state of American politics. We have two major parties. The Democrats are led by President Barack Obama. If nothing else, he’s a lesson in leadership. He’s actually achieved more in the first 12 weeks of his administration than the Bush Administration did in four years.
Then on the other side of the field, we have the Republicans. They are apparently being led by Limbaugh, a man who not so very long ago faced criminal drug charges for his OxyContin addiction, a radio personality mostly known for being a bombastic bully who likes to make fun of the homeless. A man who has been divorced three times, flunked out of college and in addition to his legal wrangling over OxyContin was also detained by the Drug Enforcement Administration for trying to smuggle Viagra into this country.
I have to say, this exchange has been mad interesting. We’re winding it down, and I’ll try to get my final thought out before I head to Austin TX this weekend for SXSW Interactive.
We’ve had a few other folks chime in with their own video responses. I’ll continue posting those and trying to centralize them at http://letstalkaboutrace.wordpress.com so there’s an archive of this experiment.
Dayam, y’all! See that’s what I love about Color of Change: they ain’t playin’. And they got the cops involved. Read below for details. Let it be known to those who attack Obama and Black America = we are prepared to come over to your house and look you in the eye. And dump 100,000 angry letters on your doorstep in a maneuver that will only make your doorman hate you more than he probably already secretly does. We gotta stay vigilant, MLK-style non-violent but direct in demanding accountability and action.
Last week, the controversy surrounding a cartoon by Sean Delonas, the New York Post editorial cartoonist, vaulted the New York City-based tabloid into the national spotlight. As we’ve written about here and here, the cartoon from Wednesday, February 18, depicted police officers having shot and killed a chimpanzee and made an implied reference to President Obama, saying, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
Soon after the edition of the Post with Delonas’ racist cartoon hit newsstands, a chorus of voices began questioning and condemning both Sean Delonas and the leadership at the New York Post, focusing on Col Allan, the Post’s editor-in-chief.
The Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, the NAACP, ColorOfChange.org, New York Governor David Patterson, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and many other local and state officials were some of the first voices in a loud and growing outcry over the Post’s ugly defamation.
OK, I added that last part about the begging for mercy. But you and I know that if we had not risen up against hatred in such a strong visible way, i.e. taking to the streets, raising our voices, sending in tens of thousands of emails, and talking about boycotts — shoot, you KNOW we wouldn’t be seeing the man himself come down from the mountain to say this:
As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.
Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.
Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.
We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.
If I had time, I’d deconstruct this apology line by line, but let’s just say that crotchedy old ultra-conservative Rupert appears to have gotten our message and maybe some calls from pissed off black people he actually knows. Good for them. This is a much more appropriate apology than their first back-handed and defiant attempt. I don’t expect them to admit to their threatening and dehumanizing racism: people rarely do so. I do expect them to apologize for it and do better — so I appreciate the last sentence greatly. Though the subtext is clear — black people: please stop the protests, calls, emails. We hear you.
Much has been said and written about the NY Post’s racist cartoon that likened President Obama to a slain monkey, and rightly so. Jack and Jill Politics blogger Baratunde Thurston posted a must-read article about the connection between Blacks and apes, citing Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff’s thoughts on how this cognitive association leads to increased racially motivated violence in our society. (Thurston and Young Turks host Cenk Uygur are holding an ongoing YouTube conversation on the issues of race surrounding this cartoon.) Open Left’s Paul Rosenberg has a good piece breaking down “colorblind racism.” And Earl Ofari Hutchinson took Rupert Murdoch and New York Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan to task for the Post’s pathetic attempt at an “apology.”
But what hasn’t been discussed nearly enough is that this is the same type of racially loaded trash we’ve seen from News Corp time and time again. The Post has a long history of publishing racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic cartoons, and that’s just from the cartoonist who penned last week’s gem. Then there’s Murdoch’s other right-wing mouthpiece, Fox News. It’s hard to know where to begin describing the prejudice we’ve seen from Fox over the last few years, but for a sampler, check out Fox Attacks Obama, Fox Attacks Obama 2, Fox Attacks Michelle Obama, and Fox Attacks Black America.
Talking on television is always a challenge cause you’re trying to get out your points in the very limited amount of time the medium allows. I was trying to get a few more details into my MSNBC appearance yesterday but didn’t get it all out.
Now, I’ll do you one better. The psychologist is Dr. Phillip A. Goff. I actually attended undergrad with him which is why I’m familiar with his work. He’s been putting me on to his analysis and the applications of his research for years, and I’m finally in a position to help bring it to a larger audience. He was the first person I called after I saw the cartoon, and the timing around this cartoon, the Oscar Grant murder and upcoming events next week could not provide a better introduction to his work.
We first created FOX Attacks Black America two years ago in an effort to illustrate FOX’s penchant for airing bigoted views. Not only do they bring on racist guests, but some of the most inflammatory remarks come from African Americans guests like Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson–FOX’s insidious attempt to lend credence to their racial prejudice. And despite Barack Obama’s historic election, the network continues to smear the President and black America with the same kind of hateful rhetoric we saw throughout the election cycle.
On Sean Hannity’s show last week, Peterson said, “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people.” Now, Hannity pretended to be shocked by Peterson’s words, but as News Hounds noted, Hannity has had Peterson on the show repeatedly over the years to spout similar bigotry. In December of 2006, for instance, Peterson told Hannity, “Racist blacks have the freedom of expression when it comes to the issue of race and morality… but white folks are made to be quiet and not even mention race.” How did Hannity reply to Peterson during that segment? He merely said, “Always love having you,” and that he was proud to be on the advisory board of Peterson’s organization, BOND Action.