And what if the monkey were an albino?

Have you seen “that cartoon”?

Of course once Al Sharpton laid his bulgy, ever-offended eyes on this one, he brought out the pitchforks and cried racism, claiming it was a stab at Obama and his African-American roots.  Alright.  If that’s what that cartoon means (and who is responsible for providing a definite answer to that?), eff that cartoon.  Seriously.  I do not condone racism nor do I leave it alone and let it be.  It’s one of the most unfair, sick inventions of the human mind.  But I intend to talk about something completely different.   

First of all, I think it’s pretty unfair and ridiculous to expect the New York Post to take into consideration everyone’s feelings before they publish an issue. That’s the magic of the New York Post–it’s chockfull of opinions you couldn’t find anywhere else but the Big Apple. That’s also the magic of the free press in general. The Post just happens to be a pretty important limb of that traditional watchdog position of media in today’s American society. [But that’s why you have NPR, one of the most truly unbiased purveyors of news out there, and it’s not really a coincidence in my opinion that if you sound out the acronym it sounds like “nipper.” Which would make NPR the teeth of the watchdog… because they nip it in the butt without breaking the skin.] The New York Post does not owe anyone an apology. It is its own entity and its own business. So why not take your mama’s advice and mind your own?

The Post did, however, issue an apology… sort of. Keep in mind that the newspaper, not Sean Delonas, the artist, was the one who apologized. Look, the cartoonist does not make the media… he simply submits his artwork to a media outlet and they, in full faith, print it. Think about when Oprah vehemently defended A Million Little Pieces writer James Frey. She brought him back to chastise him because she felt foolish for defending his honor. The New York Post takes this much more lightly. Because like it or not, a seasoned group of journalists knows it’s hardly a question about content; it’s a question of how content is being read, and they, like the cartoonist, have no control over that, no matter what gut feelings may have been involved before the actual publication.

Fellow WordPress blog The Zoo gave its take. I’ve got a lot of cents in my pocket, so here’s my two (I left a comment on The Zoo’s entry).

I don’t agree or disagree with what’s being said. And that’s the basis for what I’m going to say next.

Put aside the conundrum of whether or not those offended should accept the cartoonist’s piss-poor apology or refuse it as an offensive defense manuever. Dig deeper to the underlying issue: that people jump to conclusions in general, about rhetoric or cartoons and arbitrarily place a label on them–in this case racism. That train of thought says something about the way racism has framed every thought we have about anything, ever. To claim that the monkey is representative of an unfortunate socially-driven outlook is like receiving a plain cupcake and choosing to slather doo-doo on top as icing.

Whether or not the cartoonist is guilty of viewing blacks that way is irrelevant; it seems to me the problem is how guilty are we of assuming that we are being offended?

We all know the saying about assumptions.

My friend Gloria also provided her thoughts on the whole deal.

Unfortunately, daily newspaper cartoonists are cursed with the lack of color options, and doomed to black and white ink until the end of time. This however, does not mean their arguments are as stark.
As an Asian-American, I feel left out. I move newspapers provide cartoonists with colors to represent every race. This would be not only fair, but also prevent situations like this in the future.

Ha ha! Sarcasm really does just win all the time. But I think we know what happens when we bring the yellow dog inside. People just aren’t ready!

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