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Al Sharpton Upset Over New York Post Comic

"The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys."



Monkeys and Stimulus Bills


Here's the full statement by Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post:

The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist. HuffingtonPost

Rev. Al Sharpton has weighed in on the cartoon in a statement:

The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that "Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill. . .  . Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?HuffingtonPost

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February 19th, 2009

Dear Rudolph,

Yesterday, the day after President Obama signed the stimulus bill [18 February 2009], his first major piece of legislation, the New York Post ran a cartoon depicting the bill's author as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police.
In the face of intense criticism, The Post's editor is standing by the cartoon, claiming it has no racial undertones, that it's not about Obama, and that it was simply referencing an incident earlier this week when police shot a pet chimpanzee (an argument that pundits and analysts simply aren't buying).

It's impossible to believe that any newspaper editor could be ignorant enough to not understand how this cartoon evokes a history of racist symbolism, or how frightening this image feels at a time when death threats against President Obama have been on the rise.

Please join us in demanding that The Post apologize publicly and fire the editor who allowed this cartoon to go to print: New York Post: This isn't funny!

The imagery is chilling. There is a clear history in our country of racist symbolism that depicts Black people as apes or monkeys, and it came up multiple times during the presidential campaign. We're also in a time of increased race-based violence. In the months following President Obama's election there has been a nationwide surge in hate crimes ranging from vandalism to assaults to arson on Black churches. . . .

But let's be clear about who's behind The Post: Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, the Post's owner, is the man behind FOX News Channel. FOX has continually attacked and denigrated Black people, politicians, and institutions at every opportunity, and we've run several campaigns to make clear how FOX poisons public debate. . . .

James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani and the rest of the team

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The message in the cartoon is very clearly ambiguous.  It reflects extreme dissatisfaction with the authors of the stimulus plan, and it certainly includes President Obama as one of the authors.  How one reads the cartoon pivots on the wording "to write" rather than "to sign." If one conflates writing and signing, it is most likely that the cartoon is a fairly sophisticated signal of the racism embedded in the American social contract. It speaks for those Americans who have chosen to remain silent about their real thinking about our new President, and it is a teaching moment for people who want to think we have entered a post-race stage of national development.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
New Orleans, LA

 The Katrina Papers, by Jerry W. Ward, Jr. $18.95  /  The Richard Wright Encyclopedia (2008)

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Jerry, one message in the New York Post cartoon is clear: there is hatred in some sectors of America for Obama's Stimulus Package. We have indeed seen that from the Congressional Republicans. Are they the two cops in the comic? 

Let’s take a second look. We have the image of two cops: one, holding a gun in two hands, who has just plugged a bleeding and dying prostrate monkey with two huge bullets holes in the abdomen; the second, his side kick, making the comment, "Now they will have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Are these cartoon cops stand-ins in for the Republicans, a kind of wishful-thinking regarding Dems (“they”). Are there Republicans who metaphorically want to murder the leaders of the Democratic Party, Obama aside.

This comic was composed by Sean Delonas. We know little or nothing about Delonas, his intent, or his background. I have seen one other cartoon by him. It was about bailouts: the taxpayers, it was suggested, were not being bailed out, while the bankers were taking home the big bucks. Well the Stimulus Package intended to do just that: bail out taxpayers, in the short term, at least. If you are a Republican, you say no: what we have is welfare and wasteful spendingl.

All art creates a demand for interpretation. How literal or imaginative that interpretation will be is determined by what the viewer brings to the work and often the readers own prejudices and fixed political views. Some artists live in a socio-cultural bubble and are unaffected or lack concern for what goes on outside that bubble. That might be the case with Mr. Delonas. This kind of misunderstanding occurs often with white writers and artists who don't do extensive homework or who conveniently restrict their cultural focus. They might not care a rat's ass about the social history or social sensibility of Negroes and monkeys, especially signifying monkeys. They leave that kind of social agitation and social enlightenment to Al Sharpton and Skip Gates. Artists long to be free, at least the best of them. And it is clear that Mr. Delonas is exceedingly daring, playing near the abyss.

For me I do not know the racial intent or if  there is any intent of Mr. Delonas, other than his artistic representation of a violent response (verbal and physical) by opponents of the Stimulus Bill. Opposition is not the problem: it is the fundamentalism or the extremism that the cartoon represents that the artist suggests exists within the nation. I do not know that the cops represented in the comic are either Mr. Delonas or Mr. Murdock. I doubt it. If that kind of certainty about the ownership of the ideas exists, the Secret Service should haul Mr. Delonas and/or Mr. Murdock in for questioning. And put the fear of God we trust in them.

I have faith that the Secret Service will do their duty in protecting Mr. Obama if that is a real fear of those who oppose Mr. Delonas' monkey comic. I will not be joining Mr. Sharpton on the line in front of the New York Post, nor will I be sending the Post protest notes. I will sleep soundly tonight knowing that Mr. Delonas and Mr. Murdock will be more circumspect about suggestive comics which might raise questions about violence against the President.Rudy

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. . . it is a teaching moment for people who want to think we have entered a post-race stage of national development. Ward

Absolutely. I was outraged, and that seems to be the response of most African Americans. It brought to mind the incendiary cover of an earlier issue of The New Yorker, as well as of Rush Limbaugh's hateful words. Miriam

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This is also about the woman who raised the monkey like her child then had to shoot "him" yesterday because he turned vicious and attacked her friend So monkeys and negroes are dangerous. The news says the woman and the monkey bathed together. Joyce

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I have a comment on the New York Post and racism. That is, cartoonists reflect their backgrounds and the New York Post guy, Sean DeLonas had a mindslip that reflects institutionalized racism and his acceptance of it as a member of this society.. 

His editor, who jumped on Al Sharpton, is straight out racist if he expects anybody to believe that it was an accident that the cartoon appeared right after an article on the stimulus package.  There was no relationship between Travis the xanax - deranged chimp and the stimulus package...ergo no reason to go there. 

The editor is the person most responsible for selection and placement and his choice makes him the truly guilty person in this instance.  His attack on Al Sharpton is a typical racist response to questions about intent. I haven't always agreed with Rev. Al or President Obama, but I can respect their right to differ without resorting to ink slinging.  (Okay, so I was hard on George Bush but I tried to stay on point . . . and stick with the humor).

The reason I always send three cartoons is so that the editors can select the one (or more) works for their publication.  When I publish my book then I am the last word. I don't forgive the cartoonist and I didn't think it was funny.  Political cartoons don't have to be funny but should display an understanding of the situation being satirized or parodied.  Ethics should never go out of the window and slander cannot be called parody.

Of course, the staff of the New Yorker should be made to take a Peoples' Institute antiracism workshop or they should get to know Lance Hill at Tulane Univ. kindness, joy, love and happiness to you.  Chuck

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Nobody finds it more than a coincidence white folks from such diverse publications as the New Yorker (the New Yorker cover with the Obamas as terrorists) and the New York Post have difficulty framing their political comments without a negative racial framework?  Jean

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What is confounding for me, Jean, is that monkeys always equate Negroes in some people's minds. This mixture of fiction and fact is always a certainty in racial polemics. Some have deign to read Sean Delonas' mind. Most know nothing about Delonas. I agree with Al Sharpton, the larger issue here is the suggestive use of political violence as a means of settling political arguments and disagreements. We see that so often in cases of police brutality and violence against blacks. If that is the case, this is a federal issue.—Rudy

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NYPost cartoon depicts President Obama as a "Chimp Shot by Cops"The scandalous New York Post may have gone too far when it published yesterday an extremely racist cartoon depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee lying dead on the ground with two bullet holes through his chest. The insulting and obnoxious cartoon also shows two police officers, one with a smoking gun, standing over the dead monkey and a caption that reads. "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Aztlan

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Simulating Murder by Amiri Baraka Naturally we are outraged by Rupert Murdoch's low rag The New York Post's depicting of Barack Obama as a monkey, whatever garbage they use to lie about this racist attack. But even more deadly is the fact that the Post in that cartoon is actually Calling For The Assassination of the President of the United States!! And this is punishable by prison.

Can you imagine anyone drawing a picture of Bush being slain and what the consequences would be? In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez had to pass a law against the right wing calling for his assassination over television. What would be the penalty for some group calling for the assassination of past presidents of the United States by public media?

We can not just be outraged by the racism of Murdoch's disgusting infamy. We must call for the prosecution of the publisher and all involved with it. It is not just racism, it is a threat to the chief executive of the United States. This is one of the aspects of Barack Obama's election to the Presidency, that this New York Post brand of racist slander now is an attack on the President of the United States, and Murdoch and company must be made to pay for it. SeeingBlack

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Dear Brother Rudolph,
I am totally in support of all opponents of this vicious, racist, attack, that is an invitation to murder, harassment, and ridicule of a very articulate, politician. This is an attack on all African Americans, and also on all others in the United States of Criminal Insanity, who have been oppressed in various ways from 1789 to the present (and it will not begin to end until the victory of a total social revolution, that is representative of all of the oppressed)  day.
My total opposition to the politics of Obama, is not based on the politics of individualism. For over 50 years, I have been totally opposed to the entire system of capitalism/imperialism, no matter who represents it. And at this time, Obama is the best representative of American Capitalist interests, and that is why the American ruling class supports him. This is well documented, and every day brings more proof of that. I would not support my son, or any other individual past or present that supports capitalism/imperialism. Both parties are capitalist/imperialist parties.
There is no difference between Obama sending more troops to Afghanistan in defense of American Imperial interests, and maintaining troops in Iraq, also in defense of imperialism, and supporting Zionist criminals in their robbery and oppression of Palestinians, and the actions of 19th century presidents (including the arch criminal Abe Lincoln) in sending troops (even during the Civil War) to steal land from Native Americans, kill them, and put survivors in concentration camps that were and are called reservations. If you associate with criminals, support their criminal system of domestic and international plunder, then you are a criminal. So, Barack Obama is a criminal, and currently the figure head leader of the greatest criminal organization in world history.
I and many others with similar views, are willing and able to demolish Baraka in a public or written debate. Yours in the hope that eventually you will learn the truth, Kwame

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That cartoonist, Sean DeLonas, has done some other things that weren't kosher and I'm willing to wager that he was prodded in that direction by the editor.

I understand, having been an editor, that it is your prerogative to use (or not) anything that I send that could be considered offensive to your readers.  However, because of our association, I feel comfortable that you, Renette, or Kojo would ask "why" first and make me defend the position.  I would do that and expect the same from those who use my work.  Journalism is a collaborative medium also, though a lot of the modern crew that use the term too loosely are more interested in spectacle than reportage.

I appreciate that.  My wife, Rhonda and my brother are two of my hardest (note, I did not say harshest) critics.  Rhonda teaches government and we have deep discussions about current events and, it seems, there is a news channel on in the house most of the time. That in addition to the massive amount of reading that we do aside from work.

The point is that, I'm committed to honest and, definitely, anti-racist commentary.  I don't belong to a political party or religion because they are all fair game for my pen.  Like Kalamu, I believe that the pen can and should be use for peace though it can be a weapon used to defend people and our cultural ideals which are always under attack. Kindness, joy, love and happiness. Chuck

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I have never heard of a monkey writing a stimulus bill. I agree with you, I think the Secret  Service will probably find the matter of interest, regardless of whom  the monkey was intended to represent.Wilson

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There is supposed to be something comic about Toons by definition. There is nothing funny about a cop killing a monkey, whether or not he may or may not be a writer. That is the bottom line for me. The political speculation is another matter. Delonas failed the first test of the art of Toons.—Rudy

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That cartoon/drawing (I tend to categorize it as a failed attempt at a comic drawing).  Political cartoons are supposed to make a point and represent the attitude of the creator. If you recall the Jena cartoons and the taser incident that I did, they were NOT supposed to be funny but definitely WERE a commentary on the situation where the picture was supposed to be worth that thousand words by provoking thought.

What DeLonas provoked indicated that he was in line with the institutionalised conception that we define as racism which requires power and privilege (and I might add broad public support and acceptance).

My antiracist background is a part of what propels my attitude.  When I'm just being funny, it's for the sake of creating laughs and provoking thoughts. People like those at the POST are why we need ChickenBones.—Chuck

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Statement from Rupert Murdoch

By Rupert Murdoch

February 24, 2009

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me. Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you—without a doubt—that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community. NYPost

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Rupert Murdoch, the man behind The New York Post and Fox News Channel, hates to acknowledge public pressure. He never apologizes personally, no matter what his divisive news outlets do. But he just did.

It took almost a week after The Post published its sickening "chimp" cartoon, but after nearly 110,000 members demanded a real public apology and the firing of the editor who approved the cartoon, Murdoch actually apologized. It's unprecedented. And it would not have happened without your voice. According to Murdoch's biographer, Murdoch will very likely fire Col Allan, The Post's editor in chief, once things have quieted down—as he should.

Let's be real about what we're up against. Murdoch has done nothing to address the root of this problem. There's a longstanding pattern of vicious attacks on Black America by Murdoch's media outlets. There's a lot more work to be done to stop the poison that constantly comes from Murdoch's media empire.

But this is an important victory. Forcing Murdoch into the public conversation around this cartoon has helped expose the connection between race-baiting at The Post and Fox News, and Murdoch's News Corp., which owns them both. The clearer it is who is ultimately behind this, the easier it is to put pressure where it counts—on News Corp's profits. It sets the stage for stepped up activism and systemic change. . . .

Thank you again for joining us in this fight, and stay tuned.—James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani and the rest of the  team

February 26th, 2009

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The New INAUGURATION ISSUE OF UNITY & STRUGGLE, Amiri Baraka' historic newspaper, came out a few days before the great event, the inauguration of President Barack Obama. We will send you one dozen issues for 5$.

Analysis of President Obama's election victory and what it means for all of us. Contributions by Marvin X, Ed Bullins, James Early, Jubilee Shine, Rich Quatrone, Kofi Natambu, Pili Simanga, Langston Hughes, Fernando Suarez del Solar, Jamil Mangan, Union del Barrio, Quincy Jones and a new summation of the election by Amiri Baraka, "We Are Already In The Future".

Send check or money order to AB 808 S.10th St. Newark, NJ 07108

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Gingrich Confronts History in the South—William Loren Katz—25 January 2012—“It’s not that I’m a good debater. It’s that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people,” announced the victorious Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. Republican voters [only 2% were African Americans] saw his tough, angry, racial language as straight talking. He eagerly strummed racial themes—Black urban pupils serve as assistant janitors to learn what is really needed in school which is how to stick to a job, make and spend money. And then he suggested the urban poor need to get a job and learn decent work habits rather than accept handouts from the “greatest food stamp president.” He was also comfortable with violent rhetoric.

To a voter who suggested he punch President Obama in the mouth, he responded, “I’d like to knock him out!” As for the Second Amendment—it is “not just for hunting pheasants” but a “political right.” He tongue-lashed a TV journalist for questioning his casual approach to marriage. He not only slapped down the African American Fox News’ moderator Juan Williams for questioning his racial appeals, but then ran his rant against the African American as a campaign add. Gingrich is the winner, and so is his in-your-face, openly racial, campaign style. We have repeatedly tried to walk away from this kind of divisive, nasty politics.—Counterpunch.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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posted 19 February 2009




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