Anyone with even the most passing sense of this nation's checkered history when it comes to race relations should be able to understand that using primates and African-Americans in the same context JUST. ISN'T. FUNNY. No matter how you try and present it, the historical and moral baggage associated with the juxtaposition of African-Americans and primates is so historically loaded as to be offensive to even the most casual of observers. There's nothing that could be found even remotely funny about the comic posted in yesterday's New York Post by cartoonist Sean Delonas.
To make matters worse, both Delonas and his editor have taken it upon themselves to assume the role of aggrieved party, as if they've somehow been wronged and misjudged by the PC crowd (translation: G-----n Libruls....). The fact that African-American groups have uniformly, eloquently, and vociferously stated their considerable outrage seems lost on these fools. OK, so you tried to make a joke, and it backfired (horribly). Why should it be so hardly to do the right thing and admit your mistake? No one's calling (at least as far as I know) for Delonas and his editor to be tarred and feather, but for them to act as if they're the ones who've been wronged is beyond ludicrous.
Of course, no reasonable person would ever accuse the Post of being a newspaper worth of the appellation. Truth be told, it's the worst kind of Right-wing propaganda rag, prone to inflammatory rhetoric, sensationalism, lies, and propaganda...essentially whatever it takes to sell papers. That the Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch only serves to burnish it's patina of foaming-at-the-mouth Conservative wingnuttery.
While this might help to explain why Delonas' cartoon would be published, it in no way excuses the egregious, distasteful racism that's the hallmark of this travesty. Delonas is hardly the first Right-wing cartoonist or pundit to paint President Barack Obama in a poor racial light, and he certainly won't be the last. Even with this country's first African-American president, there are still far too many for whom racism is like breathing- it's just what they reflexively do.
I suppose this is what can be expected when ignorance and racism are given free reign.
I can only presume to speak for myself, of course, but it should come as no surprise that I was highly offended by Delonas' cartoon...and I'm not a person who takes offense easily. I understand that jokes backfire. While I don't necessarily believe that Delonas is guilty of willfully perpetuating racism, he IS guilty of being just plain stupid. No reasonable person would, could, or should expect that this sort of thing is acceptable in even the most passing sense. Given this nation's history when it comes to race relations, this cartoon is the equivalent to pouring salt into an open wound...and for many African-Americans racism is still very much an open wound.
It would be easy to chalk up Delonas' stupidity and insensitivity to the ignorance of a clueless, careless White Conservative thoroughly convinced of his own brilliance. The problem here is bigger than one very unfunny cartoonist guilty of indulging in some very blatant racist imagery. No, while Delonas' attempt at humor is both insulting and not funny, the demands for accountability should travel much far up the food chain at the Post. You can't credibly tell me that no one with editorial authority recognized the potentially incendiary and offensive nature of Delonas' cartoon. These sorts of things don't happen in a vacuum. Someone, likely several people, knew EXACTLY what the reaction to the cartoon would be...and they decided to run it anyway. These folks deserve to be frog-marched out of the Post's headquarters...right behind Sean Delonas.
Then again, accountability has never exactly been a big-ticket item on the Right, has it??