On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, the New York Post was distributed as normal; the content web-available. Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to jump out of me, except one particular cartoon.
Before I read any commentary or news, my face contorted in disbelief at the image of a monkey being gunned down with the words, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
The Post has issued an apology to those offended by the drawing and insists it meant only to mock the federal system and the stimulus bill to jump start our ailing economy. The apology though, is not for those who are simply looking for revenge, dubbed "opportunists," to whom, according to the apologizing editorial, "no apology is due."
Although interpretations can vary from beholder to beholder, this seemed to just make my skin crawl just by a brief glance at it. I read it as comparing our newly minted President, a multi-cultured man who is half African-American, to a dead monkey. Did anyone - from the cartoonist, Sean Delonas to the Editor-in-Chief Col Allan - understand the history of racial stereotypes and hate thrown to the Black community in the image of a monkey?
But Allan insists and unleashes, "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'm pretty weary of Al Sharpton myself, but even I have difficulty swallowing the so-called apology when its last line reads:
"Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon..."
Where is the accountability? Responsibility? Sharpton and "opportunists" aren't the only ones who see this as vile, racist, and unacceptable.
Once again, the politics of the situation have overshadowed the issue: the Post ran what many thought was a racist cartoon.
Next time you apologize, Post, give it some thought.