Saturday, June 25, 2011

On John Hammer's Apology

"I apologize for the offensive political cartoon in this week's edition of The Rhinoceros Times.

The cartoon appears to be two black male prisoners using poor grammar talking about being in jail.

The males are supposed to be two white men.

Why don't they look like the white people Geof usually draws?

We regret the error and offer sincere apologies to everyone who is offended by the cartoon.

We are also offended by the cartoon.

Why wasn't John offended until others were offended?

As it appears in the newspaper it is racially insensitive
and promotes a negative racial stereotype we find offensive.

Who's we?

How could it have been non-offensive before it was?

Both the cartoonist and the graphic artist who colored the cartoon
were shocked today at how it appeared in the newspaper.

The cartoonist said he was sick when he opened the paper and saw his cartoon.

He said he drew the characters as New York mobsters.

What stereotype are "New York mobsters" supposed to look like?

Why don't they look like the white people Geof usually draws?

How many New York mobsters
are stereotypically wearing orange jumpsuits?

Why would New York mobsters
complain about not getting "three squares and cable"?

Why would New York mobsters
complain about being under house arrest
so the "Man" can pay for a new jail?

...we have removed the colorized cartoon from the website
and replaced it with the original pen and ink drawing, which we find acceptable."

So stereotyping is OK if they are Italian, Irish or "insert ethnicity" Americans,
as long as they are not Black?

Is some bigotry more acceptable than others?

John Hammer
The Rhinoceros Times

I Googled the phrase "dey puts us."

Among the hits: a book about African Americans
who served in the Regular Army between the Civil War and World War I;
three references to Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery; a Texas Slave Narrative;
and a book called Yule Log with a racist chapter title I won't repeat here.

Nothing about New York mobsters.

The phrase "three squares and cable" is limited to blog and forum comments
from people who may or may not be New York mobsters.

Guilford County Jail Current Inmate List; Report Run on 06/23/11 at 22:05:00; Total = 883

Black or African American male 554
White male 229
White female 48
Black or African American female 37
Indian or Alaskan Native male 8
Asian or Pacific Islander male 4
Other 2
Indian or Alaskan Native female 1
(No specific listing of New York mobsters.)

If it's a cartoon about two black males on house arrest from the Guilford County jail,
it does capture the jail's largest demographic,
but the way the men are portrayed is, indeed, shocking and offensive.

If it's a cartoon about two New York mobsters on house arrest from the Guilford County jail,
it's still offensive, but it makes no sense. New York mobsters? What?

michele at Ed Cone

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