The New York Post cartoon: this is my unsurprised face.

By now most of you have heard about the racist cartoon published in The New York Post. There’s a lot of good commentary out there on this already, and some calls to action, which I strongly urge all of you to heed.

That said, I haven’t said much about this before today because my feelings pretty much match Ta-Nehisi Coates’: meh. Maybe it helps to provide some “local context” here, because I think a lot of people don’t get what most New Yorkers do: the Post is crap. It’s a step above the National Enquirer in terms of quality, and that’s only because it doesn’t talk about aliens and its inanity has a focus — which is to be the voice of the substantial contingent of conservatives in this famously liberal city. It’s the paper version of Fox News, which isn’t surprising because it’s owned by the same guy. And because of this, I do not believe for one moment that the editor who approved that cartoon didn’t know exactly how it would be received. I think the Post is getting exactly what it wanted here.

Think about it. These are hard times for the Republicans right now. They’re struggling to find a way to reformat themselves in the wake of the backhand slap they received on November 4th. While the party’s leaders flounder in search of a vision/purpose/direction, however, the party’s ideologues don’t have this problem; they’re still repeating the same message they’ve been parroting for the past 20+ years. But with the leadership gone silent, the ideologues’ broken record is suddenly much more audible than it has been for the past couple of (campaign) years. Which is why we’ve heard so much lately from Rush “Crackhead” Limbaugh. He hasn’t been in rehab all this time, as I had naively assumed; he’s just popular again, largely because many Republican voters are desperate to hear someone, anyone, speak up for their side.

Likewise Fox News and, now, the Post. These media entities are jockeying for control of the party’s soul, in hopes of pushing back the darkness — pun intended — that might, just might, cause the Republican party to reform into something a little more representative of America and less representative of the angry white men who’ve been the party’s guiding light. So naturally we can expect some blatant appeals to the paradigms that have proven so effective for this group in the past. They’re gambling that this “back to basics” strategy will work. And it might. Despite all the slightly creepy “post-racial” camaraderie we’ve been seeing in the nation since Election Day, most of us know full well that racism isn’t dead and that a substantial percentage of the 46% who voted against Obama did so because they hate black people (even the ones who are half white). How does one rally this group in the wake of a national defeat, and let them know that somebody in Republican Land still loves them? This cartoon is one rallying cry. Expect more.

That said, I’m not certain this strategy will still work the way that Rush and the gang think. Sure, there are plenty of folks out there who will respond positively to this appeal to their baser nature. But there are also a lot of Republicans who are taking a hard look at themselves right now, and asking some hard questions about the tried-and-true ways of doing things. Already we’re seeing signs of an unheard-of revolt by some Post staffers in the wake of this cartoon. The Republican base might be OK with it, but the base is still the minority within the party, and it’s growing smaller as time passes. The rest of the Republicans, I’m guessing, are starting to read the writing on the wall: the old ways of doing things have got to change.

Before they do, though, I’m sure we’ll see a lot more dead monkeys.

14 Responses

  1. I agree, what comment is needed? The Post did it, meant it, and I hope it did anger many of its readers.

  2. So right. I did sign a petition and write them a letter, since that takes all of about 5 minutes, but really? The Post? If I spent my time working myself up over everything racist, sexist, homophobic etc et fucking cetera the Post did….I would have no time for more interesting outrages.

  3. Of course, they apologized to, in Miley Cyrus fashion. It wasn’t their intent, sorry to those who were offended. As though it was their fault for being offended. And then going on to say that the backlash was really because other newspapers don’t like them and then diverted the issue into something else completely.

    I, too, have no energy to spend on people who will never transcend their ignorance but why can’t they just keep their mouths shut? It’s bad enough to be insulted by the cartoon, I’d rather not be subjected to a half-assed apology that they feel I’m supposed to appreciate on top of it.

  4. I’m not surprised at all — even before I moved to New York, I knew the Post’s tendencies b/c Public Enemy had a song back in he day that went

    “Here’s a letter to the New York Post
    The worst piece of paper on the east coast”

    And when I moved here and saw the paper — wow. Their coverage of the Middle East in particular is just some of the most vicious, dehumanizing calling-for-Muslim-blood stuff I’ve ever read — including crazy right wing/white supremacist blogs.

    But I wish I could agree that most New Yorkers know the Post is crap. The sad thing is that it’s cheap, thick, and written at a sixth-grade level. There’s no similarly accessible, high page-per-penny value paper out there. Thus the Post and the Daily News sell to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t have the money or literacy training for a less racist/ less right wing paper like the Times. We need a cheap, daily simple-English paper that isn’t corporate fascist in its editorial politics. But that would require a non-evil Rupert Murdoch to finance it… What’s George Soros up to these days?

  5. Nojojojo,

    I wan to make some comments about the Onion Article that you linked to above.

    Reading about black folks being creeped out by over friendly whites, for better or for worse, made me laugh. Maybe it is because I do not think I have ever read anything quite like this.

    I wish I had a good explanation on why us white people in the U.S. behave the way we do:

    1) We punch out sharks that attack our pets.

    2) As DL Hughley notes: white people have an obsession with playing with death – fast cars, bungee jumping, skydiving, owning chimps or cougars, etc.

    3) We’ll rebuild our homes in places that continue to be high risk for hurricanes or floods.

    4) We drive for two miles to health club and then jog for two miles on the inside…and go to McDonald’s afterwards.

    5) Now we seeing the this cult-like, creepy, affectionate, overly friendly posturing that is making people feel unsafe. Well, there are lot white people who are also creeped out by other overly friendly white people as well.

    Then again, I will like to give my white co-horts just a little credit….just a little. With the explosion of information on the internet on racial matters, there are a lot of white people reading websites like these. (This site gets 16,000 hits a day, right?) The veil is being torn from many folks’ eyes. A lot of well meaning white people have been bothered by the fact they may have (unknowingly) made the work environment and public places uncomfortable for others. They do not want to do that anymore. I would not say it is “white guilt” – but a genuine intention to leave people in better condition then when they found you.

    Also, TV shows that are popular with whites- like “The Office” -show the absurdity of white behavior towards people of color. A few of my cohorts are catching on. I always have plenty to learn myself too.

  6. I’ve sent numerous comments to the so-called Air America Radio program hosted by Ron Kuby, “Doin Time,” protesting his 30 year old MALE sidekicks who keep insisting this is just a joke and not at all racist, and only old people would think it is.

    Air America is not American. The only voices are wealthy white males. Rachel Maddow, even, isn’t on, at least here in NYC, other than re-broadcasts long after the fact of her television MSNBC show, at 5 AM. There are no African American voices, no women’s voices, no Asian voices, no Latino voices. This is NOT America, whether South, Central or North.

    Love, C.

  7. I am just waiting for them to start hanging nooses around the White House. This crap is beyond f*cked up. What’s next? Rush L. in black face mocking the President? Too bad for him that Obama is far too intelligent to be imitated or mocked by someone of Rush’s intellect.

    I suppose any publicity is good publicity…..*sigh*

  8. Adam, I know you mean well, but this is a rare forum where I feel safe to call someone, you, on a tone and approach that is laden with race dynamics in more insidious form. If I can synopsize your comment:

    1) Let me explain (albeit jokingly) why white people are engaging in this creepy behavior a la the Onion article. I am an authority, so it is my role to explain things to this audience. I am being self-deprecating, so its okay.
    2) While I do the above, I’ll make reference to a black comedian, so you know I’m down.
    2) Then, on a more serious note, let me come to the defense of white people and this same behavior.
    3) While I do the above, I’ll demonstrate my empirical knowledge of ABW and seek to impress/intimidate with the officious use of numbers.

    /tangent

  9. I remember there was a cartoon in The Sun (another Murdoch tabloid that for some reason sells huge over here in the UK) about some fictional story about asylum seekers killing and eating swans. Thing that got me was the asylum seeker drawn in it looked EXACTLY like one of those propaganda cartoons of Jews that the nazi’s produced.

    Murdoch is an evil purveyor of crap, and the more people that boycott his bullshit, the better the western world will be. And for all the “oh we didn’t mean it like that” posturing, their intent seems to be getting more and more obvious with every editorial, manipulated quasi-”story” and cartoon that gets churned out by the murdoch press

  10. the use of the words “offend” and “offensive” are criminal in these half ass apologies. These things don’t merely “offend” they hurt, damage, murder, maim, what word is big enough to contain the damage? As soon as I see the word “offend” or “offensive” I know the apology is total crap.

  11. Just a heads up to you all, The Onion isn’t a real news site. Most of the articles are spoofs, satirical, or social commentaries. Most, if not all, of the people in them aren’t real.
    I hate to point this out, because it fooled me at first, and it’s a huge blow to the credibility of an argument if The Onion is cited. Sorry to have to point this out, but I cringed and had to de-lurk to let you know before you take too many things from it seriously.

    That said I’m pretty sure there are black people who’ve been unnerved and bothered by the sudden ‘hey, we’re buddies!’ attitude. I HAVE seen it and it annoys me. Singling out someone based on their skin color to be overly friendly to them is somehow almost more disturbing then the outright bigots.

    I just… don’t understand it all. None of it makes sense to me.

  12. Danielle,

    I ended my last post by saying that I have much to learn.

    Well….

    I am glad that you gave me the benefit of the doubt by stating that I meant well. I do mean well.

    My very elementary comments splattered all over this blog in the last year will immediately reveal that I am anything but an “authority” on dynamics of race.

    As far as my comments being an “insidious” attempt to downplay the awkward and uncomfortable experiences of people of color at the advances of whites while raising a defense for whites…. that was not my intention.

    Moreover, I will “eat the humble pie” on my poor and crude attempt at humor on a thread that is much more serious . I should not have tangented on this one.
    Lesson learned.

    All the best,

    Adam

  13. Danielle,

    I feel I owe you an apology if I have offended or disturbed you with my comments.

    I will refine my own approach and tone in the future for the sake of a productive discussion.

    Yours,

    Adam

  14. I have been reading comments here and thought I would finally sign up so I could post a comment now and then.

    Karen:)

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