The New York Post and Racist Cartoons: Undermining Press Integrity?

Published on 23rd February 2009

The racists know that there is no open season on President Obama or any other member of a minority. In their apology, they claimed that the joke was aimed at the stimulus bill, but they did not say that the bill was bad or ridiculous. However, the cartoon did indicate that the "author" of the bill was shot, so that he would not be able to write another. You be your own judge as to what they really meant by the cartoon.

The New York Post has apparently decided that our new president reminds them of an ape. Perhaps I am wrong, but my investigation has led me to believe that there is no other explanation for this unbelievable portrayal. Perhaps it was a misguided reference to the fact that the cartoonist has a problem with the nature of the last stimulus package.

But it is certainly lack of cultural competency which leads this organization to think that it might be alright to portray an African American as a monkey. This goes back to the fact that as long as "mainstream" media maintains its commitment to segregation among hosts, editors, and producers, we are always going to have this problem.

This cartoon is very serious, for many reasons. Here are some undeniable facts:

1) The New York Post had better start explaining things fast. You've seriously undermined your journalistic integrity with a cartoon that is not funny, insightful or meaningful in any apparent way and also appears to be horrifically offensive.

2) This cartoon appears to be making a joke about killing the President, which is both unpatriotic and a serious threat to the Obama family and our nation. I can't recall ever seeing the New York Post or any relevant publication having the audacity to make jokes about shooting The President of the United States.

3) Referring to our first Black president as a monkey reminds us that the rise of Barack Obama may bring out the most beautiful parts of America and the ugliest. To have executives at such a powerful news organization sign off on this kind of juvenile, vile, and frightening work tells us that our country still needs a racial overhaul.

4) If the New York Post is unable to come forth with a reasonable explanation for this cartoon (I am not sure what shooting a chimp has to do with the Stimulus Package), all fair-minded Americans should not only write and complain to the Newspaper, but they should boycott and voice their concerns with any corporation choosing to supply this newspaper with advertising revenue.

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Finance Professor at Syracuse University
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