Thursday, February 19, 2009

Offensive Cartoon?

It is not often that I agree with The Reverend Al Sharpton. My memory of his actions and rhetoric go back to the Twanna Brawley scandal, which still taint his actions and pronouncements to this day.

But I do agree with him partially in his criticism of the New York Post newspaper and it’s editorial cartoon that either directly or inadvertently led to an interpretation that a Chimpanzee could be equated with President Obama.

The cartoon reeked with symbolism well beyond what was probably intended by the cartoonist. Hopefully that was the case. Somebody at the Post didn’t look at all the possible meanings and the offense it might cause.

I don’t agree with Sharpton that the cartoonist and the editors should be punished. Just bringing insensitivity to light is enough in this case.

For the record I thought the cartoon cover on the New Yorker Magazine several months ago showing Obama wearing an Islamic robe and turban while Michelle Obama is shown in military fatigues with a Kalashnikov on her back was also in poor taste and subliminally racist.

Also yesterday Eric Holder, the nation's first black US attorney general, said Americans "simply do not talk enough with each other about race and he called us a “nation of cowards”.

I think his choice of words was inappropriate. I think we are a nation of many closet racists and they are the cowards who refused to confront their bigotry and prejudice, but we are also a nation, a majority of sensitive souls, who just want to get along without offending the hypersensitive of any race, culture, religion or gender.

Prejudice is inherently abhorrent to the human spirit because deep within we know the miracle of life is in its oneness, not in its diversity.

Prejudice and its aliases of racism and bigotry can disguise itself in the illusion that one is better than another. It can hide in the way we say words to describe others, Mexican, Gringo, Jew, Black, and even in non-personal words like immigrant and foreigner and the slang terms of rag-head, gook, sloap, honkey and Heb.

Prejudice can also manifest in rules and regulations, and in walls and fences, real and imaginary. A comfortable commonality for all people is found in the open front yards of our hearts, not in the cemented courts of intolerance however the ego builds them.

We must remember that prejudice grows from many seeds; statements without truth, judgments without justice, belief without compassion, conversation without courtesy and even cartoons without thought.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation