The NY Post has issued a editorial statement about “That Cartoon”. Here is the text of the editorial by Col Allan, in full, so you don’t have to visit their site if you have ethical reasons for not wanting to. (I don’t blame you. I went there so you don’t have to.)
Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.
It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.
It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.
But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.
This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.
However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.
To them, no apology is due.
Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.
As you can plainly see, this is not an apology. An apology is, according to my Random House College Dictionary, “an expression of one’s regret for having injured, insulted, or wronged another.” I see no regrets in that statement, especially the latter third, which is clearly directed at The Reverend Al Sharpton, who is leading protests outside the offices of the New York post. This is not the first time he has done so, nor is it the first time it was necessary that someone do so.
‘So, if you were offended by our offensive cartoon, we apologize. But if you’re one of those people who isn’t happy with us no matter what we do, then we’re not sorry at all that you were offended’, is basically what they’re saying. As Eugene Robinson asked on Countdown tonight, “What if you’re a member of both groups?”
This is one of the problems with latent racism in this country. Non-overt Racists (not the KKK types) tend not to understand why they are racist. They are so out-of-touch with race issues, that they have no idea why what they do is offensive. Sometimes they use words or images that, for all they’ve ever known growing up, is the way you describe some people. Usually it’s their ignorant parents we can thank for that, because people are not born hating people of different races. They learn to hate people of different races from their parents, who usually learned it from their parents, who learned it from who knows where? Bill O’Reilly has said that his grandmother is afraid of young black men. She thinks every one that she sees might try to mug her. Where did she get that idea? Did she have a week where every black kid who walked past her took her purse? I seriously doubt that. But every time she sees some young black kids ahead on the street, she goes to the other side. “That’s not racism,” says O’Reilly, “That’s just fear.”
Some will argue that people are born instinctively wary of those who look different from the people around them, as some kind of survival instinct. But that instinct is no excuse for being nurtured through life in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society such as ours. We aren’t tribal hunter-gatherers out foraging for food, like we were tens of thousands of years ago. When you were out looking for food, and you came across someone who clearly didn’t look like they were from your tribe, you had to fear that they would take your food. I can understand that. There was no “civilization” to speak of in those days.
But we have a civilization because of people who overcame that initial instinct to be wary, and learned that the people who simply looked different weren’t any different in just about any other way. That’s how we came to know the people we know who look different from us today. Because someone, tens of thousands of years ago, overcame that fear and found it wasn’t necessary to be fearful of everyone, once you got to know them. And the more people who were different from you that you got to know, the more you learned we are all more alike than we think. People learned that tens of thousands of years ago.
Why can’t we learn that today?