February 18, 2009
NY Post’s Ape Cartoon More Than Harmless Satire
The New York Post and Sean Delonas have done it again. This time, Delonas, who draws the editorial cartoon that appears with the daily’s Page Six gossip column, depicted two police officers standing over the body of a dead monkey. One officer’s gun is smoking after just being fired.
The other officer says: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.â€
Without that caption,Â the cartoon would be pretty innocuous considering that in Connecticut Monday, a pet chimp was killed by local officers after maiming a friend of its owner.
The cartoon isn’t clever. It is simply offensive, racist, and totally uncalled for. Delonas, who is known to push the envelope with some of his cartoons, has pushed it right off a cliff. (For his many homophobic cartoons in 2008, GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, named Delonas one of its worst offenders.)
There is no misinterpreting this cartoon. Before folks over at the “No Spin Zoneâ€ — yes, I’m calling you out Bill O’Reilly and your colleagues at Fox News — say I and others are overreacting to a harmless satire, let’s analyze the cartoon.
Congressional Democrats under the leadership of President Barack Obama wrote the stimulus bill. The bill is being viewed by many observers as Obama’s bill. The officer refers to the dead chimp, which is lying in a pool of its own blood, as the author of the stimulus bill. This cartoon plays into the racist stereotype of depicting blacks as monkeys.
You see, this is why we must ignore calls to end Black History Month. Certainly, this country elected an African American president, but as this ignorant cartoon painfully illustrates, there is still a long way to go for full and complete equality.
Of course, the Rev. Al Sharpton has weighed in on the mess, accusing the New York Post of racism. “The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best, given the historic racist attacks of African Americans as being synonymous with monkeys,â€ wrote Rev. Al Sharpton, a crusader of civil rights. “One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this. … Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him, it is not a reach to wonder, ‘Are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?’ ”
Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the New York Post, issued the following statement in response to the cartoon and Sharpton: “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.”
I would like to think that Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments at the Department of Justice’s African American History month program were in response to the Post cartoon, but the reality is his speech