'Racist' cartoon causes stir

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'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby michael24easilybored » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americ ... 45.stm?lss

My initial reaction was to assume the cartoon was mocking the bailout - saying it was a stupid idea dreamed up by an ape. Not that Obama or anyone else in politics is a monkey, but that the monkey had the idea. However, now that everyone's decided it's a racist statement advocating assassination, I can't see how the cartoonist will persuade anyone to think otherwise. It's a bit of a shame how the these things get blown up out of proportion, presumably by commentators with an agenda to discredit the right (and I say that as an Obama fan).

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:22 pm UTC

michael24easilybored wrote:My initial reaction was to assume the cartoon was mocking the bailout - saying it was a stupid idea dreamed up by an ape. Not that Obama or anyone else in politics is a monkey, but that the monkey had the idea.


Obama and other Democrats had the idea. Transitive property and all that.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "blown out of proportion." Given the racist caricature of black people as monkeys, it makes perfect sense to criticize the violent racial undertones of the comic.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby michael24easilybored » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

what I mean is, my interpretation is that the cartoon is saying 'the bailout is such a dumb idea it was probably thought up by this monkey' - not that the people who actually thought it up are monkeys

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Reaper » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

My initial reaction to that cartoon is that the stimulus bill was made by a monkey on a typewriter. Thought I suppose I can see why some people might think its a racist cartoon. However, they do draw republicans as elephants. -shrug- and monkeys do fling shit. -_- maybe people should stop being so racially trigger-happy. then, less fights about stupid shit, less racism from fights about stupid shit.... its like a downward spiral into peace. ;_;

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

1) Calling conservatives and republicans out as bigots is a good pastime, when justified.

2) There was an incident where 2 cops shot a monkey in conneticut(?). And this cartoon was using that incident to make a political point. I thought the cartoon wasn't very clever but I don't think the intent was racist.
Its being blown out of proportion.


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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Lumpy » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

I'll be eagerly awaiting the cartoonist's next non-racist current events cartoon whenever salmonella is discovered in the watermelon industry.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby The Reaper » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:1) Calling conservatives and republicans out as bigots is a good pastime, when justified.

2) There was an incident where 2 cops shot a monkey in conneticut(?). And this cartoon was using that incident to make a political point. I thought the cartoon wasn't very clever but I don't think the intent was racist.
Its being blown out of proportion.


Ixtellor

Oh wait, you're right... I made that connection now.... Haha. Poor chimp.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7894196.stm
for anyone wondering.


EDIT: monkeys dont like zannys.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:39 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:maybe people should stop being so racially trigger-happy. then, less fights about stupid shit, less racism from fights about stupid shit.... its like a downward spiral into peace. ;_;


Err, no. Racism predates anti-racism, and it won't go away if we just shut up and ignore it.

Ixtellor wrote:2) There was an incident where 2 cops shot a monkey in conneticut(?). And this cartoon was using that incident to make a political point. I thought the cartoon wasn't very clever but I don't think the intent was racist.
Its being blown out of proportion.


Regardless of intent, the comic resonates with the porch monkey slur within our particular cultural context. Nobody cares if the cartoonist himself is prejudiced, but it becomes a much bigger problem when his comics reinforce racist stereotypes among his audience.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

It didn't resonate that way with me, and i never would have made the association without you guys. Please don't put words in the mouths of the American people.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Lucrece » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

Actually, if anyone has bothered to research the cartoonist, you can see that he's a pretty homophobic guy. Depictions of Jim Mc Greevey (or however the gay ex-NJ guy is called) as a flimsy ballerina, commentaries on same sex marriage as men marrying sheeps.

It's not that much a stretch to believe that a guy very potent in a particular bigotry might possess some other bigotries as well.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby segmentation fault » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

racism? more like implied assassination.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:It didn't resonate that way with me, and i never would have made the association without you guys. Please don't put words in the mouths of the American people.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
Lumpy wrote:I'll be eagerly awaiting the cartoonist's next non-racist current events cartoon whenever salmonella is discovered in the watermelon industry.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:47 pm UTC

Considering that it's widely regarded as Obama's bailout, and the history of monkey imagery, some motherfuckers should've been aware of the context.

It doesn't matter whether they *meant* to send an offensive racial message, they did. And really, someone should've caught it somewhere in the editorial process.

And now that everyone in the whole process has shown how incredibly white privileged they all are, someone should maybe apologize instead of hiding their heads under a rock and claiming that ignorance makes it all better.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby michael24easilybored » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

you have a point, I discovered a while ago that pretending to be sorry about something, even when you think it's bullshit, saves you a tonne of bother

this might be further prove of my total discontent with the entire world of late, I just don't care about my own pride anymore. I'll take the blame for anything if it just makes whatevers happening hurry up and end.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby apeman5291 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Err, no. Racism predates anti-racism, and it won't go away if we just shut up and ignore it.

Not to start this debate again, but racism is an idea. If no one (as in 0% of the population) has that idea, then that idea no longer exists. The effects of people having that idea in the past would still be around, but those can be fixed. This is only hypothetical anyway, and really doesn't matter.


Anyway, it was clearly intended to parody the monkey story and the stimulus bill at the same time. It might have fallen short of its intended mark, but it wasn't supposed to be racist. Like if I said "You people are crazy" while referring to a group of skydivers who happened to be black, I wasn't being racist. If everyone who heard me interpreted "you people" to mean African-Americans, I still wasn't being racist. The cartoon speaks for one man, Obama. It compares that one man's ideas to those produced by a monkey. The generalization is done by the reader, not the artist.

I'm not saying that the artist's ideas behind drawing this weren't at all racist. Given his history of cartoons, they very well might have been. I'm just saying that if I was given this one cartoon, without an artist name, with no idea of his previous work, I wouldn't chalk it up in the "offensive" category.

Plus, political cartoons always exaggerate. If a cartoon depicted anything exactly as it was, nothing would be eye-catching about it. The artist might as well have just written an article. At the very worst, this one just exaggerated too much and in the wrong direction.

EDIT: Along with michael24easilybored and Belial, I do think that an apology would do a lot better than defense in this case, just to settle everyone down.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby headprogrammingczar » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:11 pm UTC

This reminds me of "lipstick on a pig"...
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:12 pm UTC

Ah, yes. You know what they always say... "Like monkeys on a stimulus bill."
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

michael24easilybored wrote:you have a point, I discovered a while ago that pretending to be sorry about something, even when you think it's bullshit, saves you a tonne of bother


I suppose if you're intent on learning the absolute bare minimum amount from the experience.

this might be further prove of my total discontent with the entire world of late, I just don't care about my own pride anymore. I'll take the blame for anything if it just makes whatevers happening hurry up and end.


Aww, you poor little martyr you.

apeman5291 wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Err, no. Racism predates anti-racism, and it won't go away if we just shut up and ignore it.

Not to start this debate again, but racism is an idea. If no one (as in 0% of the population) has that idea, then that idea no longer exists. The effects of people having that idea in the past would still be around, but those can be fixed. This is only hypothetical anyway, and really doesn't matter.


Right. Because the ideas (the whole host of them, conscious and subconscious) will just magically vanish if we just stop talking about them.

How long after that do we get our magical flying faerie horses?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

I'm going to start saying that.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

apeman5291 wrote:Not to start this debate again, but racism is an idea. If no one (as in 0% of the population) has that idea, then that idea no longer exists. The effects of people having that idea in the past would still be around, but those can be fixed. This is only hypothetical anyway, and really doesn't matter.


Even if I accepted that racism is only an idea, and not a social institution, The Reaper is arguing that anti-racists should ignore apparent racism because their reactions might somehow perpetuate racism. I think that this is a very flawed approach, because racism is clearly capable of arising and thriving without any anti-racist antithesis.

apeman5291 wrote:The generalization is done by the reader, not the artist.


Of course the link from signifier to signified comes from the audience, but this does not change the fact that the link exists. Racism in the cartoon is entirely independent of the cartoonist's intent, and, as Belial said above, it should have been noticed and edited somewhere before publication.

apeman5291 wrote:Plus, political cartoons always exaggerate. If a cartoon depicted anything exactly as it was, nothing would be eye-catching about it. The artist might as well have just written an article.


There is a difference between exaggeration and stereotyping. A cartoon can be eye-catching without invoking offensive racial metaphors.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Malice » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:22 pm UTC

After looking at that comic I'm convinced the composition is the issue. The author has either no idea what the punchline to his joke is or no idea which direction comics are supposed to be read. If you reverse the image and read it properly, you first get the situation, which is "two cops have shot and killed a monkey", reminding you of the news story. Then you get the punchline, which is "now I will apply this situation to politics, ie., monkeys wrote the stimulus bill."

The other issue is that "monkeys wrote the bill" is clear and non-racist, while "a monkey wrote the bill" is unclear and seems racist.

So I don't think this cartoonist set out to make a racist statement, I think he just screwed up. But that still makes him an idiot.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:28 pm UTC

I know that if I accidentally made something racist and publicized it nationally, I would be horrified and embarassed. Apologies would probably follow.

I find it telling that this guy doesn't appear to feel similarly.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:32 pm UTC

And if you made something that you DIDN'T believe was racist, but someone went out of their way to interpret it as racist so they could act offended and cause an uproar?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

I know that if i accidentally made something that some subset of America thought was racist i wouldn't give two shits.

That said, if Lucrece is right then your version is probably more accurate.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Quixotess » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

He's a cartoonist. He has editors and shit. It is his job and their job to account for reasonable interpretations of the work.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

True enough, but the problem becomes determining what is "reasonable." Let's say that 99.9% of America saw this, thought "monkeys with typewriters," and moved on, not thinking it was racist at all....except for one person, maybe, with a chip on their shoulder, who automatically looks for a racist interpretation of anything, just cos they're wired that way. They voice their interpretation, and others (not wanting to look insensitive), go "You know, I never thought of it that way." Movement picks up steam, and suddenly everyone is viewing it as racist and insensitive.

Not saying that's definitely the case here, of course, since others have pointed out that the cartoonist in question may well be a bigot, but it's still something to take into consideration. You can't just ALWAYS cave in as your default reaction upon being labeled racist....critical thinking and further examination of the material is necessary, first.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:And if you made something that you DIDN'T believe was racist, but someone went out of their way to interpret it as racist so they could act offended and cause an uproar?


If I only have to say two single-clause, true sentences to make it apparent how it's racist, I don't really think it's a stretch.

"You know it's Obama's plan, right? And you know there's a racist history of portraying black people as apes, right?"

"OH FUCK ME"
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

Did you know about the black=ape thing before this? How much of the U.S. did? I for one had never heard of it, but of course, that can reasonably be put down to the white=racially ignorant thing....but how well known is this among the African American population of the country? If almost no one knows/remembers this implication, is it still relevant? When does it STOP being relevant?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:58 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:Did you know about the black=ape thing before this? How much of the U.S. did? I for one had never heard of it, but of course, that can reasonably be put down to the white=racially ignorant thing....?


Yes, I did.

A significant enough portion that this was immediately identified as racist.

Yes, it can.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

/Shrug, okies, then Editorial Fail, I guess....
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:00 pm UTC

Holy shit, seriously? I'm growing up in about as white-bread of a town as you can find, and I know that monkey is a racial slur. If you just haven't heard it, then fine, but it's definitely known well to the population in general (black or white), and still very relevant.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

This is causing flashbacks to middle school, when i almost got my ass kicked because i thought 'porch monkey' was an actual species of monkey...

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Quixotess » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:Did you know about the black=ape thing before this? How much of the U.S. did? I for one had never heard of it, but of course, that can reasonably be put down to the white=racially ignorant thing....but how well known is this among the African American population of the country? If almost no one knows/remembers this implication, is it still relevant? When does it STOP being relevant?

uhhh

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Seriously, I guess I may just be ignorant in slur terminology, and I always thought it was just as well, since I don't really have a reason to need to SAY such things....
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:05 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:
Aikanaro wrote:Did you know about the black=ape thing before this? How much of the U.S. did? I for one had never heard of it, but of course, that can reasonably be put down to the white=racially ignorant thing....but how well known is this among the African American population of the country? If almost no one knows/remembers this implication, is it still relevant? When does it STOP being relevant?

uhhh

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And, wasn't that Totally Not Racist™ back when it hit the news?
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Belial » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

Yes. As were the dozen other republican-produced Obama<->Monkey items.

Totally not racist, guys. Stop being so uptight. Gods.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Jebobek » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:12 pm UTC

Perhaps some people recognize the "black=monkey" slur, but they've seen Bush looking like a monkey in 8+ years worth of political strips that they don't immediately realize that switching over to monkifying this new president is now officially racist?

People need to understand that you can't use the same kind of jokes on the same type of people because of racial undertones.
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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby punkymonkey » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Quixotess » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:/Shrug, okies, then Editorial Fail, I guess....

It's not as light as an "editorial fail."

This cartoonist, whether he meant to or not (and I sorta suspect he did although he'd insist it's not racist) just depicted our president as a rabid chimpanzee, and depicted him shot. How is this not extremely serious? Inciting violence is all about dehumanization.

Seen this on HuffPo?

In one study, participants who were made to think about apes were more likely to support police violence against black (but not white) criminal suspects. The association actually caused them to endorse anti-black violence. Most disturbing of all, however, was a study of media coverage and the death penalty. Looking at a sample of death-eligible cases in Philadelphia from 1979 to 1999, the more that media coverage used ape-like metaphors to describe a murder trial (i.e. "urban jungle," "aping the suspects behavior," etc.) the more likely black suspects, but not white suspects were to be put to death.

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Re: 'Racist' cartoon causes stir

Postby Clumpy » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:17 pm UTC

If the cartoon was an Obama reference then the outrage would be justified. You can't negate centuries of racial undertones. Yet the cartoon is so over-the-top and clearly not about the president or anybody else that it's hard to take seriously.


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