'Racist' cartoon causes stir

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AtlasDrugged
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby AtlasDrugged » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:38 pm UTC

What is Obama primarily known for? Being president, or being black?


This is the issue I think. If society had truly moved past racism, Obama being black wouldn't even have been mentioned in the campaign; yet, Obama's cultural image was partially built around the idea of him being the first black president - his supporters and enemies alike treated his colour as something significant rather than what it really was (something completely insignificant). That is why all the people saying that Obama's election would break down the racial divisions in America and the world were being both tragically ironic and moronic, because they only confirmed that the idea of colour being significant was still ingrained upon the national psyche.

And even if we were talking about that, your whole point is BS anyway. Being President doesn't invalidate the fact that he's a Person of Color. Context matters. If a guy's mom just died, you don't throw Your Mom jokes at them. If a guy's race has been the victim of stereotypes, you don't throw those stereotypes in his face. Why is this difficult for you to grasp?


Do you really not see the difference between being sensitive towards someone in mourning and constantly looking at Obama through the lens of colour and not based on who he is as a person?

Racism: when people are treated differently based on their race. So, yeah. It isn't racist to call a white person a "nigger", but it is racist to call a black person that. Agreed? Now substitute "monkey" for "nigger" and magically my point should become clear.


Racism is treating someone differently based on their race. You're saying that black people should be treated differently based on their race. Do you spot the problem here?

If the speaker is responding to, say, a comment like "There are a lot of teenagers on the roads today," then the statement "they are all bad drivers" should not be interpreted as a racist remark.


Of course not; it would be an ageist remark, yet you don't seem to be complaining about that?

Even if the word "lazy" is meant to apply to that one person and has nothing intentionally to do with his race, there are still racial undertones to it and it is still going to offend people.


The fact that it's going to offend people is not in itself reason to condemn it.

If you call a white person "lazy", no racial connotations exist in that direction, and so it isn't racist in that case.


So calling an idle black person 'lazy' is worse than calling an idle white person 'lazy', despite the fact that in that case the description is perfectly accurate and that 'lazy' is the word that best applies to them?

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Malice » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:57 pm UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:
What is Obama primarily known for? Being president, or being black?


This is the issue I think. If society had truly moved past racism, Obama being black wouldn't even have been mentioned in the campaign; yet, Obama's cultural image was partially built around the idea of him being the first black president - his supporters and enemies alike treated his colour as something significant rather than what it really was (something completely insignificant). That is why all the people saying that Obama's election would break down the racial divisions in America and the world were being both tragically ironic and moronic, because they only confirmed that the idea of colour being significant was still ingrained upon the national psyche.


Yeah. Society hasn't moved past racism. And it won't in our lifetimes. But do you not see the difference between believing his skin color is significant because somehow that would make him a worse President and believing his skin color is significant because people with his skin color have been oppressed in the past?

Basically it is the difference between saying:
"Black people are different because they are less intelligent and lazier"
and saying
"Black people are different because their race has had different historical experiences."

Both are forms of "discrimination", in the sense of differentiating between two separate things, but only one is a prejudicial remark.

Racism: when people are treated differently based on their race. So, yeah. It isn't racist to call a white person a "nigger", but it is racist to call a black person that. Agreed? Now substitute "monkey" for "nigger" and magically my point should become clear.


Racism is treating someone differently based on their race. You're saying that black people should be treated differently based on their race. Do you spot the problem here?


I'm saying black people should be treated differently based on their racial history. I'm saying, "Black people have been oppressed in the past, therefore be careful about calling up associations with that historical oppression." Do you really object to that sentiment?

If the speaker is responding to, say, a comment like "There are a lot of teenagers on the roads today," then the statement "they are all bad drivers" should not be interpreted as a racist remark.


Of course not; it would be an ageist remark, yet you don't seem to be complaining about that?


I'm simply demonstrating that the context changes the interpretation.

"Yet you don't seem to be complaining about that?" Hold on, I feel the need to curse: what the fuck are you talking about? Do you think I need to manufacture fucking outrage over a fucking hypothetical ageist person that I just fucking made up? Is this a discussion or a motherfucking contest? If the latter, congratulations, you win ten points. 600 more and you get a cupie doll!

*deep breath* Okay. I will now resume assuming that you are a rational human being.

Even if the word "lazy" is meant to apply to that one person and has nothing intentionally to do with his race, there are still racial undertones to it and it is still going to offend people.


The fact that it's going to offend people is not in itself reason to condemn it.


You're right. Offense isn't the most important thing in the world. If you could demonstrate a positive effect that outweighs the offense, sure, make a racially-motivated statement. Good luck doing that, though. And even if you do that doesn't make it not racist.

If you call a white person "lazy", no racial connotations exist in that direction, and so it isn't racist in that case.


So calling an idle black person 'lazy' is worse than calling an idle white person 'lazy', despite the fact that in that case the description is perfectly accurate and that 'lazy' is the word that best applies to them?


Yes. Because calling a black person lazy has side effects, like reinforcing the stereotype in people's minds and calling up bad memories of oppression, that simply aren't present when you call a white person lazy. You cannot simply ignore the fact that some statements will make people unhappy. You can say those statements anyway; but you can't argue that the emotional reactions do not exist.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby luketheduke » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

Belial wrote:This isn't criticism. This is racism. And it hurts EVERY BLACK PERSON, not just Obama. That is kindof its nature: by attacking Obama's race, intentionally or unintentionally, you're not just attacking him. You're attacking his race. The whole thing. Every person in it.

General Note: Race is still a construct of society, not an actual biological fact, and mankind would be so much better a place to be if the idea of race didn't exist. If we want to end racism, we need to keep that in mind.

And to all the people who say "Only racists can see racist things; I am not a racist, therefore I cannot accept that anything ever can be racist" - you are stupid.
YES, people who are aware of the implications race has in this society, is a racist if you look at the word itself and strip it from context. But we are the good racists, those who notice racism and then say "this is bad you should not do this". We good racists are, I believe, better than people who turn a blind eye to racism - because that won't make it go away. It might in your privileged circle, it will not in society as a whole.
Yeah, this might be an opinion. If we could switch off the racism in everybody's brain at the same time, then it would just cease to exist. But we can't do this. My position seems to be the more logical to me.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby AtlasDrugged » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:32 pm UTC

Yeah. Society hasn't moved past racism. And it won't in our lifetimes. But do you not see the difference between believing his skin color is significant because somehow that would make him a worse President and believing his skin color is significant because people with his skin color have been oppressed in the past?

Basically it is the difference between saying:
"Black people are different because they are less intelligent and lazier"
and saying
"Black people are different because their race has had different historical experiences."

Both are forms of "discrimination", in the sense of differentiating between two separate things, but only one is a prejudicial remark


Yes; but it's a massive leap from assuming the second statement to concluding 'therefore we must treat them differently'.

I'm saying black people should be treated differently based on their racial history. I'm saying, "Black people have been oppressed in the past, therefore be careful about calling up associations with that historical oppression." Do you really object to that sentiment?


No, I don't. But tiptoeing around the issue in an attept to avoid anything that possibly be misconstrued as racist is in itself a reminder of historical oppression.

Do you think I need to manufacture fucking outrage over a fucking hypothetical ageist person that I just fucking made up?


You evidently feel the need to manufacture fucking outrage over a fucking cartoon in a fucking newspaper, so it was the next logical step.

You're right. Offense isn't the most important thing in the world. If you could demonstrate a positive effect that outweighs the offense, sure, make a racially-motivated statement. Good luck doing that, though. And even if you do that doesn't make it not racist.


If I did (and I think that accurately conveying an argument outweighs the possibility of offending the sensitive), why would the possibility of it being misconstrued as racist matter?

Yes. Because calling a black person lazy has side effects, like reinforcing the stereotype in people's minds and calling up bad memories of oppression, that simply aren't present when you call a white person lazy. You cannot simply ignore the fact that some statements will make people unhappy. You can say those statements anyway; but you can't argue that the emotional reactions do not exist.


And calling a white person lazy might lower their self-esteem and make them feel like other people look down on them. So what? The fact that some statements will make people unhappy has no bearing whatsoever upon whether making those statements is right or wrong.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Malice » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:
Yeah. Society hasn't moved past racism. And it won't in our lifetimes. But do you not see the difference between believing his skin color is significant because somehow that would make him a worse President and believing his skin color is significant because people with his skin color have been oppressed in the past?

Basically it is the difference between saying:
"Black people are different because they are less intelligent and lazier"
and saying
"Black people are different because their race has had different historical experiences."

Both are forms of "discrimination", in the sense of differentiating between two separate things, but only one is a prejudicial remark


Yes; but it's a massive leap from assuming the second statement to concluding 'therefore we must treat them differently'.


Do you think we should not treat different people differently? Should we expect people in wheelchairs to run footraces? Should we pretend that an overweight person is just as healthy as a thin person? Should we tell "your mom" jokes to a person who has just lost their mother in the interest of equal treatment? Or should we accept what our eyes tell us: that some people are different than others and require different treatment, ie., the category of statements that will make them unhappy has different things in it depending on who they are.

I'm saying black people should be treated differently based on their racial history. I'm saying, "Black people have been oppressed in the past, therefore be careful about calling up associations with that historical oppression." Do you really object to that sentiment?


No, I don't. But tiptoeing around the issue in an attept to avoid anything that possibly be misconstrued as racist is in itself a reminder of historical oppression.


Do you see the difference between an editor at the paper going, "Hey, this is going to make thousands of people unhappy, let's not run it", which reminds HIM of historical oppression, and the editor going, "Looks fine to me!", which ends up reminding thousands of people of historical oppression?

Do you think I need to manufacture fucking outrage over a fucking hypothetical ageist person that I just fucking made up?


You evidently feel the need to manufacture fucking outrage over a fucking cartoon in a fucking newspaper, so it was the next logical step.


Actually, I'm not outraged at all about this cartoon. I said on the first page that it looks to me like an unintentional association brought about by poor panel composition. Intentional racism requires outrage. Unintentional racism merely requires that you inform someone of their ignorance. It only becomes frustrating when they don't listen to you.

You're right. Offense isn't the most important thing in the world. If you could demonstrate a positive effect that outweighs the offense, sure, make a racially-motivated statement. Good luck doing that, though. And even if you do that doesn't make it not racist.


If I did (and I think that accurately conveying an argument outweighs the possibility of offending the sensitive), why would the possibility of it being misconstrued as racist matter?


Why does the possibility of your statements being misconstrued at all matter? You just said you value accurate communication. How much of the dialog about this cartoon is about whether the people who wrote the stimulus bill are as stupid as monkeys? The author totally fucked up his point by accidentally making reference to something that tends to make people angry. It would have been better if he had avoided the racist interpretations altogether. They're not only unnecessary to his point ("monkey" is not the only "dumb animal" he could have referenced), they're completely counter to his goals.

Yes. Because calling a black person lazy has side effects, like reinforcing the stereotype in people's minds and calling up bad memories of oppression, that simply aren't present when you call a white person lazy. You cannot simply ignore the fact that some statements will make people unhappy. You can say those statements anyway; but you can't argue that the emotional reactions do not exist.


And calling a white person lazy might lower their self-esteem and make them feel like other people look down on them.


Which means that might not be the right thing to say, either. But the reason for that has nothing to do with racism.

So what? The fact that some statements will make people unhappy has no bearing whatsoever upon whether making those statements is right or wrong.


I believe people have a moral obligation not to cause other people undue harm--that it is wrong to hurt other people without overriding need. That includes making them unhappy. That does not apply when that harm is due. If you disagree, then we simply look at the world in a fundamentally different way. I feel comfortable labeling your way as "sociopathic". How else can you honestly believe that people shouldn't bother trying to not be dicks?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:42 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:General Note: Race is still a construct of society, not an actual biological fact, and mankind would be so much better a place to be if the idea of race didn't exist. If we want to end racism, we need to keep that in mind.
I understand your sentiment but the goal of ending racism is not to end the concept of race anymore than the goal of sexism is to end the idea of 'male' and 'female'. People need to maintain the right to self-identification; we just want to avoid oppressing others over arbitrary distinctions--like the shape of their genitalia, the color of their skin, or their preference in a sexual partner. If I'm going to oppress someone, I want it to be for a good reason--like listening to Rush Limbaugh unironically.
Malice wrote:I believe people have a moral obligation not to cause other people undue harm--that it is wrong to hurt other people without overriding need. That includes making them unhappy. That does not apply when that harm is due. If you disagree, then we simply look at the world in a fundamentally different way. I feel comfortable labeling your way as "sociopathic". How else can you honestly believe that people shouldn't bother trying to not be dicks?
To add to this, I think it goes a little beyond just making certain people unhappy; failing to call this sort of shit out creates an environment of acceptance for racist bull shit. If you're at all interested in a progressive society, you probably don't want to take part in creating that environment.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby i » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

Belial wrote:The existence of an alternate, perhaps even deeper (I reject that characterization, but I also find it irrelevant) interpretation of the work does not negate the others.

Whatever else RE5 is about, it's also about a civilized white man shooting african "savages". Likewise, whatever else this comic is about, it's also about equating obama to an ape (following an established racist narrative) and then killing him in effigy. Layering another meaning above, below, or beside that doesn't change it, with the possible exception of one that actively subverts it (and even then you have to be very careful), which is not the case in either work.


Okay, now I will quote Dee Snider:
SENATOR GORE:There is a reference to someone whose hands are tied down and whose legs are strapped down, and he is going under the blade to be cut. So it is not really a wild leap of the imagination to jump to the conclusion that the song [Under the Blade] is about something other than surgery or hospitals, neither of which are mentioned in the song?

MR. SNIDER. No, it is not a wild jump. And I think what I said at one part was that songs allow a person to put their own imagination, experiences, and dreams into the lyrics. People can interpret it in many ways. Ms. Gore was looking for sado-masochism and bondage and she found it. Someone looking for surgical references would have found that as well.


So, no. It's not about killing Obama in effigy any more than Twisted Sister was trying to corrupt are children into a life of sadism.

And there are still people standing outside the Post's offices calling for blood, despite their apology! The Muslims calling for the death of Dutch cartoonists were more justified than today's reaction--at least in that case, the artists intended on breaking a Muslim taboo.

As for allecto's review of firefly....I have my objections to it, but I doubt they align with yours at all.

As for this. Using only her criterion, I could call A League of Their Own an all-out attack on feminism. Her review is THAT arbitrary. But that has nothing to do with comics about monkeys does it? :P

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby luketheduke » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:06 pm UTC

i wrote:And there are still people standing outside the Post's offices calling for blood, despite their apology!


Link?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Lóng the Dragon » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:48 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:
i wrote:And there are still people standing outside the Post's offices calling for blood, despite their apology!


Link?


Link.
I'm just being bilingually redundant.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby luketheduke » Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

Ah well, I had meant something like a full transcription of the editorial. But this suffices. "No, this wasn't racist. Period. We apologize to everyone who was offended." Not the best way to apologize...
But I think nobody in here is calling for having the Washington Post shut down, which is a ridiculous consequence to demand. So... the "calling for blood" is more "demanding the editor-in-chief gets sacked for that incredible blunder". Which I can agree with.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

i wrote:So, no. It's not about killing Obama in effigy any more than Twisted Sister was trying to corrupt are children into a life of sadism.
Except, you know, there's not actually a widespread culture of negative BDSM sado-masochism being fueled and reinforced by the music industry in America. There is a widespread culture of racism in America--specifically, black people being compared to apes--that is being reinforced by media like this.

Like most people who are arguing this point, you drag the situation out of its specific cultural context ("Is it racist to lynch effigies of black politicians in a country governed predominantly by black politicians? No? THEN LYNCHING BLACK EFFIGIES IN AMERICA IS NOT RACIST!") and then soundly trounce it. Congratulations! You've defeated racism by ignoring the context! Meanwhile, the point remains that there's a cultural background that is still going on today involving the comparison of apes to black people, and reinforcing that stereotype is not a good thing.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:02 pm UTC

T-Form wrote:
Nougatrocity wrote:If you took away the politician part and just compared any of the individual white politicians to an ape, it's still primarily "I guess that guy's an idiot." If you take away that Obama is president and make the comparison...now you're comparing a black guy to an ape, which is pretty racist.

I can see how it seems racist to depict Obama alone as an ape, sure. But what about a cartoon that depicts both Obama and Bush as apes? Or Obama, Bush, and Clinton? Or a chimpanzee version of Mount Rushmore? That's much the same thing as continuing from the practice of depicting Bush as a chimpanzee, yet it doesn't seem so racist when the white presidents also get the chimpanzee treatment in the exact same cartoon.

This actually occurred to me last night in the form of Obama and all of the Democratic legislators being depicted as monkeys. No, that wouldn't be racist, unless you went over the top on monkifying Obama. Most of the people you're comparing to apes in such a case don't have a racial history of that, and so the immediate context of that would outweigh the racism of doing so with Obama.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

Malice wrote:Or should we accept what our eyes tell us: that some people are different than others and require different treatment, ie., the category of statements that will make them unhappy has different things in it depending on who they are.


It's not even about making people unhappy or offending them or upsetting them or whatever-the-fuck. And I think as long as we continue to play to the idea that it is, these concerns will continue to be trivialized.

It's about contributing to oppression. Doing racist things, saying racist things, creating racist things contributes directly to the social institution of Racism. By doing so, whether you mean to or not, you are making the problem worse. Not hurting someone's feelings, not making someone angry: those are side effects. No, the problem is that you're directly contributing to the structure that keeps them second-class citizens. And once you realize that that's what you're doing, apologizing and trying not to do it anymore seems like the best call.

People get angry and hurt when someone kicks them in the stomach, but the problem isn't the anger and hurt: the problem is that you just KICKED THEM IN THE STOMACH. Trying to change the discussion to center around how hurt they are, and pretending that it wouldn't be a problem if they just didn't react to it, is just absurd. It's victim-blaming of the highest caliber.

(Not picking on you, Malice. Just irritated at how successful racism-apologists always are at re-framing this sort of discussion into something so bloody petty, and I find that passage indicative. Even the anti-racists get pulled into it.)
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby william » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:12 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
punkymonkey wrote:I know that he got over 90% of the black vote

Can you cite that for me please?

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15297.html says he got 96%. It's worth remembering that most Democrats get 90% of the black vote by default though. I wonder why?
Sal-Paradise wrote:The editorial staff should never have let this cartoon run. As an editor of a newspaper, I can honestly say that there's no way this cartoon would have made it through a first glance, let alone to publication.

That's because you edit a reasonable newspaper. This was published in a Murdoch rag.
luketheduke wrote:But I think nobody in here is calling for having the Washington Post shut down, which is a ridiculous consequence to demand. So... the "calling for blood" is more "demanding the editor-in-chief gets sacked for that incredible blunder". Which I can agree with.

For one thing, it was the New York Post that printed the paper.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby luketheduke » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:17 am UTC

...fuck me, I WANTED to check that one more time.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Diadem » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:20 am UTC

Malice wrote:Racism: when people are treated differently based on their race. So, yeah. It isn't racist to call a white person a "nigger", but it is racist to call a black person that. Agreed? Now substitute "monkey" for "nigger" and magically my point should become clear.

Calling a white person a nigger is actually racist. "Nigger" is a racial slur for a black person. You're insulting someone by saying he's a member of a specific group. The implication being that membership of this group is a negative thing.



Back to the ape-calling. Obviously calling someone an ape is an insult. But is it a racially motivated insult? As many people have pointed out, it certainly can be. But it does not have to be.

An interesting question: If Obama had been white, all other circumstances being the same, would the cartoonist still have made this cartoon? One can never be 100% sure, but it seems to me that the answer is 'yes'. Evidence for this is that comparing politicians with apes has been done hundreds of times before and is in fact a pretty standard way of criticising them.

And if this is true, if the cartoonist would have made the same cartoon if Obama had been white, then he is actually colour-blind. Which is the opposite of racism.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby luketheduke » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:22 am UTC

Calling a white person a nigger is actually racist. "Nigger" is a racial slur for a black person. You're insulting someone by saying he's a member of a specific group. The implication being that membership of this group is a negative thing.

Werner Heisenberg was insulted as a "white Jew" actually... so yeah, it works that way.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby william » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 am UTC

Diadem wrote:And if this is true, if the cartoonist would have made the same cartoon if Obama had been white, then he is actually colour-blind. Which is the opposite of racism.

The cartoonist doesn't matter. The cartoon is still racist.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:01 am UTC

Diadem wrote:An interesting question: If Obama had been white, all other circumstances being the same, would the cartoonist still have made this cartoon? One can never be 100% sure, but it seems to me that the answer is 'yes'. Evidence for this is that comparing politicians with apes has been done hundreds of times before and is in fact a pretty standard way of criticising them.
No. That's not an interesting question. It's not even a relevant one. I don't care what the artist would have done in some sort of hypothetical bizarro world where black is white and women oppress men.

How many times do we have to point out that the intention of an artist bares no relevance towards the message that the work delivers? If I produced a work of art that depicted you having relations with a swine while smearing yourself in feces and told you it was a post-modern view on the industrial revolution, would your response be: "Oh, okay", or "What? No, fuck you, you just drew a picture of me fucking a pig while smearing shit all over myself"?

Diadem wrote:And if this is true, if the cartoonist would have made the same cartoon if Obama had been white, then he is actually colour-blind. Which is the opposite of racism.
Yes, that's right. Being unable to see race is the opposite of racism. Being unable to see gender is the opposite of sexism. And being unable to see that a man is in a fucking wheelchair is the opposite of able-ism. See, all we really need here is more ignorance.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby william » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:07 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:How many times do we have to point out that the intention of an artist bares no relevance towards the message that the work delivers? If I produced a work of art that depicted you having relations with a swine while smearing yourself in feces and told you it was a post-modern view on the industrial revolution, would your response be: "Oh, okay", or "What? No, fuck you, you just drew a picture of me fucking a pig while smearing shit all over myself"?

Oh, and we didn't mean to draw you, it's actually an evil clone of you!
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:15 am UTC

william wrote:Oh, and we didn't mean to draw you, it's actually an evil clone of you!
You can tell by its beard.

Its invisible beard.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Lucrece » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:19 am UTC

Dear god, Great Hippo, that swine counterpoint was just too precious.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Diadem » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:37 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Diadem wrote:An interesting question: If Obama had been white, all other circumstances being the same, would the cartoonist still have made this cartoon? One can never be 100% sure, but it seems to me that the answer is 'yes'. Evidence for this is that comparing politicians with apes has been done hundreds of times before and is in fact a pretty standard way of criticising them.
No. That's not an interesting question. It's not even a relevant one. I don't care what the artist would have done in some sort of hypothetical bizarro world where black is white and women oppress men.

Wait, what? A world with a white president is suddenly 'bizarro world'? What have you been smoking?

I'll explain again. Nothing is inherently racist (or inherently not racist). Context and intent matter. Calling a black person lazy because he's black is racist. Calling a black person lazy because he's lazy is not. In the former you treat him differently based on his race. In the latter you don't care about his race, but about his actions. So how do you distuingish between these two situations? Well, that's easy. Imagine the exact same situation, but with the guy being white. All other circumstances staying the same. In the former case, you wouldn't call him lazy anymore, but in the second case, you still would. This is clear proof that the second situation is not racist. Calling a black person lazy because he is lazy is thus perfectly acceptable.

The same logic applies to Obama. Comparing Obama to an ape because he's black would be racist. Comparing him to an ape because he's a politician is not.

The Great Hippo wrote:How many times do we have to point out that the intention of an artist bares no relevance towards the message that the work delivers?

At least once more. Right after you're done explaining that 2+2=5. Mind you, I won't believe either. And for pretty much the same reason: It's complete and utter nonsense. Are you seriously claiming that the intended message of the artist is irrelevant for the message of the work, or are you just trolling?

The Great Hippo wrote:If I produced a work of art that depicted you having relations with a swine while smearing yourself in feces and told you it was a post-modern view on the industrial revolution, would your response be: "Oh, okay", or "What? No, fuck you, you just drew a picture of me fucking a pig while smearing shit all over myself"?

Because obviously lying about not intending something and actually not intending something are one and the same thing...


The Great Hippo wrote:
Diadem wrote:And if this is true, if the cartoonist would have made the same cartoon if Obama had been white, then he is actually colour-blind. Which is the opposite of racism.
Yes, that's right. Being unable to see race is the opposite of racism. Being unable to see gender is the opposite of sexism. And being unable to see that a man is in a fucking wheelchair is the opposite of able-ism. See, all we really need here is more ignorance.

No, we need less ignorance. Especially on your side. Since you seem unable to tell the difference between ignorance and indifference.

Ignorance about someone's race: Stupid. The colour of someone's skin is not that hard to figure out!
Indifference towards someone's race: Good.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Garm » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:01 am UTC

Diadem wrote:The same logic applies to Obama. Comparing Obama to an ape because he's black would be racist. Comparing him to an ape because he's a politician is not.


Honestly you're just splitting hairs here. You're trying to use some sort of semantic dodge and it's kind of pathetic. Politicians as monkeys isn't really a strong stereotype. You're trying to make it one but it's not. W was compared to a monkey because some people thought it was clever to juxtapose his facial expressions with those of a chimpanzee. Ronald Reagan was associated with a monkey because he was in a movie with one.

A quick google search tells em that blacks and monkeys are associated over 23 million times (tho' this number is probably somewhat over inflated because of the recent brouhaha) while politicians are associated with monkeys just over a million times. Obviously The Google isn't the end all and be all of cultural knowledge but I think you can see that a 23:1 ratio represents a pretty stark comparison.

I love watching all you folks try to decontextualize or recontextualize this cartoon. Yes context matter but contrary to some people's opinion that context has very little to do with the artist or those duller elements of society who dont' realize that this is racism.

Heisenberg, you say that this cartoon targets Sen. Obey, Mr. Limbaugh is saying that the monkey represents Ms. Pelosi. Who is it exactly? Seems like both of you are making excuses. This cartoonist is obviously very homophobic. I'll reserve judgment on his racism and instead call him sub-literate and quite stupid. To produce such a piece without considering the ramifications is so incredibly foolish that it borders on the absurd.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:30 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I'll explain again. Nothing is inherently racist (or inherently not racist). Context and intent matter.
Why is intent important? Saying 'spic' has the same effect (reaffirming an environment where racism is acceptable) regardless of your intent. It's not magically different because you weren't aware that the word 'spic' has a racial connotation; people who are eager to demean People of Color will hear you using the word and will find encouragement to continue demeaning. All we're saying here is that words have consequences; the word 'spic' is intrinsically racist in this context. You might not be a racist (I highly doubt this, of course; everyone's racist, but that's not the point), but--wittingly or not--you're reaffirming racism.
Diadem wrote:Because obviously lying about not intending something and actually not intending something are one and the same thing...
What if I'm not lying? What if that's what I honestly believe? If you think this example is far-fetched, you obviously have never been in an art class.
Diadem wrote:Ignorance about someone's race: Stupid. The colour of someone's skin is not that hard to figure out!
Indifference towards someone's race: Good.
Yes, let's be indifferent about people's race! Maybe if we all simultaneously go 'meh' loud enough, the sheer volume of our indifference will cause Louis Farrakhan's head to explode! Because God knows that black people have benefited immensely from us being indifferent about their race. The Civil Rights movement was all about apathy, right?

You're pulling a Colbert here. You're thinking it's ideal to be 'blind' to race; that's not the goal of anti-racism. That's a stupid goal. We're not trying to annihilate racial identity, or even the perception of racial identity. We're trying to do away with a form of oppression and tyranny.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Sindayven » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:56 am UTC

The monkey isn't supposed to represent anyone. The joke is that they got a monkey to write the bill instead of a real politician, and that's why the bill sucks. The policeman would have been much better off saying "Obama will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill". I'd chalk this up to the editor's fault for not seeing the possible racist context.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:09 am UTC

Sindayven wrote:The policeman would have been much better off saying "Obama will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill". I'd chalk this up to the editor's fault for not seeing the possible racist context.

That actually would have saved a LOT of trouble.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:16 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Are you seriously claiming that the intended message of the artist is irrelevant for the message of the work, or are you just trolling?
Is this really a novel concept to you? The irrelevance of authorial intent has been an accepted part of literary theory for almost a century.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby sje46 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:43 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:
Diadem wrote:Are you seriously claiming that the intended message of the artist is irrelevant for the message of the work, or are you just trolling?
Is this really a novel concept to you? The irrelevance of authorial intent has been an accepted part of literary theory for almost a century.

Yeah, it definitely isn't trolling. It's a pomo world.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Freakish » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:the comparison of apes to black people, and reinforcing that stereotype is not a good thing.

It's the people screaming "RAC(ist/ism)" that are enforcing this stereotype. When you have such a gag reflex to racism and you over react, you can turn a perfectly fine cartoon into a racist one.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:23 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:It's the people screaming "RAC(ist/ism)" that are enforcing this stereotype. When you have such a gag reflex to racism and you over react, you can turn a perfectly fine cartoon into a racist one.
Oh wow, you're absolutely right. It's recognizing racism that's the problem here! If all those uppity 'negroes' would just stop getting offended every time someone makes something that has a racist interpretation, it wouldn't be such a problem! Boy, I sure wish that Al Sharpton would stop reinforcing racism. And you know, while we're at it, if everybody would just calm the fuck down every time someone uses the word 'fag', or 'nigger', or 'spic', that'd be great. Thanks!
TheAmazingRando wrote:
Diadem wrote:Are you seriously claiming that the intended message of the artist is irrelevant for the message of the work, or are you just trolling?
Is this really a novel concept to you? The irrelevance of authorial intent has been an accepted part of literary theory for almost a century.
Yeah, I'm somewhat surprised there are people around who still think authorial intent is relevant (except--maybe?--when the authorial intent is actually part of the work itself, which is something you might see in stuff like performance art and post-modern work--but that's clearly not the situation here).

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby mercurythief » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, I'm somewhat surprised there are people around who still think authorial intent is relevant (except--maybe?--when the authorial intent is actually part of the work itself, which is something you might see in stuff like performance art and post-modern work--but that's clearly not the situation here).


It's relevant when people are demanding that the author/editor be fired, or even that they offer an apology.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby roc314 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

mercurythief wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, I'm somewhat surprised there are people around who still think authorial intent is relevant (except--maybe?--when the authorial intent is actually part of the work itself, which is something you might see in stuff like performance art and post-modern work--but that's clearly not the situation here).

It's relevant when people are demanding that the author/editor be fired, or even that they offer an apology.
No, no it's not. As a parallel, say I'm a security guard at an airport and I let some people in the back door because they tell me they left a bag behind. While in there, they plant a bomb.

My intention was to help some people out. The consequences were a bomb going off and several people dying. The second is much more important in determining if I should be fired than the first.

(I don't think the cartoonist should be fired. A public apology should be sufficient.)
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby mercurythief » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:(I don't think the cartoonist should be fired. A public apology should be sufficient.)


Would you think that a public apology is sufficient if there was evidence that the cartoonist was a racist, and intended the racist interpretation of the cartoon?

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby roc314 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:15 pm UTC

mercurythief wrote:
roc314 wrote:(I don't think the cartoonist should be fired. A public apology should be sufficient.)

Would you think that a public apology is sufficient if there was evidence that the cartoonist was a racist, and intended the racist interpretation of the cartoon?
Yes, because everyone behaves racistly. There's no reason to single out this one person for it, if he is willing to admit he was wrong and change (which is what an apology entails).

EDIT: That's if you meant racist as in he intended the cartoon to play on that racial slur (which is how I interpreted it). If you meant overtly racist, as in he belonged to white supremacy groups and actively campaigned against civil rights, then he probably should never have been hired in the first.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Govalant » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

Ok this thread is a fucking wall of text so let me say something that I don't know if it has been posted before.

If the cartoonist made a racist cartoon. So what? He can draw whatever he wants. It is up to the newspaper to fire him or not. It is up to you if you buy the paper or not. If coca-cola changes it's flavor you don't go to the factory and bitch about it, because it's a private company (If this newspaper is public I just got into deep shit). So stop arguing about how this should be interpreted, since that belongs only to your mind, and just fuck it. The newspaper will decide what to do, you'll decide whether to buy the paper or not, and the government will carry on with it's business (Hell, it's not the first time a cartoon criticizes the government).

EDIT: Still, I do think they should have been more careful.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby roc314 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:53 pm UTC

Govalant wrote:Ok this thread is a fucking wall of text so let me say something that I don't know if it has been posted before.

If the cartoonist made a racist cartoon. So what? He can draw whatever he wants. It is up to the newspaper to fire him or not. It is up to you if you buy the paper or not. If coca-cola changes it's flavor you don't go to the factory and bitch about it, because it's a private company (If this newspaper is public I just got into deep shit). So stop arguing about how this should be interpreted, since that belongs only to your mind, and just fuck it. The newspaper will decide what to do, you'll decide whether to buy the paper or not, and the government will carry on with it's business (Hell, it's not the first time a cartoon criticizes the government).

EDIT: Still, I do think they should have been more careful.
1, The argument that private companies should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want does not work. Law, court decisions, etc. have consistently said otherwise.

2, Prejudice absolutely should be stood up to, especially when it's being perpetrated by companies like this.

3, This is not something that "belongs only to your mind". Racism is not something that only affects society if you think about it.

4, The problem is not that the cartoon is criticizing the government; it's been pretty much universally agreed that not only is that not a problem, but that is a good thing. The problem is that the cartoon is racist. The cartoon being a (poor) criticism does not mean it should be allowed to get away with being racist.

5, Yes, a lot of what you said has already been discussed in this thread.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby william » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

1) Criticizing the government is good
2) Racists criticize the goverment
3) Racists are good!!!11111
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

Govalant wrote:If the cartoonist made a racist cartoon. So what? He can draw whatever he wants. It is up to the newspaper to fire him or not. It is up to you if you buy the paper or not. If coca-cola changes it's flavor you don't go to the factory and bitch about it, because it's a private company (If this newspaper is public I just got into deep shit). So stop arguing about how this should be interpreted, since that belongs only to your mind, and just fuck it. The newspaper will decide what to do, you'll decide whether to buy the paper or not, and the government will carry on with it's business (Hell, it's not the first time a cartoon criticizes the government).
This is an irrelevant point. The discussion is not: 'Should we be allowed to say racist things?'. The discussion is: 'Is this racist, and if so, should we discourage it?'

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:14 pm UTC

Govalant wrote:Ok this thread is a fucking wall of text so let me say something that I don't know if it has been posted before.

If the cartoonist made a racist cartoon. So what? He can draw whatever he wants. It is up to the newspaper to fire him or not. It is up to you if you buy the paper or not. If coca-cola changes it's flavor you don't go to the factory and bitch about it, because it's a private company (If this newspaper is public I just got into deep shit). So stop arguing about how this should be interpreted, since that belongs only to your mind, and just fuck it. The newspaper will decide what to do, you'll decide whether to buy the paper or not, and the government will carry on with it's business (Hell, it's not the first time a cartoon criticizes the government).

EDIT: Still, I do think they should have been more careful.

Nobody is forcing the paper to do anything. People are voicing their disagreement with the company, picketing, and boycotting. People are letting them know "hey, we all think you made a poor decision, and we won't support you until you apologize for it."

If Coca-Cola changed their recipe, and a lot of people disliked it, you can be guaranteed that they would get angry calls and letters and probably articles written about it, and people refusing to buy their drinks until they change it back. And there would be nothing wrong with that. So how is it that, when people are doing the same thing with something that actually matters, they're over the line?


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