LatinaLista — In the aftermath of the now-infamous editorial cartoon that ran in the New York Post this week, the editors issued an apology. From the wording used, it’s pretty clear that this is an apology issued under duress. In other words, they’re only apologizing that people were offended who didn’t get the cartoon.
They still think it’s clever and funny.
Yet, word has come that other editors and reporters at the paper didn’t agree with the editorial department and have gone on record stating their displeasure with those editors for giving the green light to run the cartoon.
But if a recent survey is any indication, the NY Post’s editors’ reaction to the cartoon shouldn’t be surprising — but rather, predictable.
A “race and media” survey targeting journalists of color and conducted by an African American website and the journalist of color organization UNITY found that
An overwhelming 92% of those surveyed believed the mainstream media was still not effectively covering race relations in a multiracial society.
There are two predominant reasons why these journalists felt this way: First, the downsizing of newsrooms across the country is also downsizing diversity out of the offices as well. Secondly, these journalists cited a lack of understanding from those editors/producers in charge.
It is an understanding of how certain images and words are perceived by communities of color as offensive and meant to demoralize them.
While the editors at the NY Post still don’t really see how the cartoon is considered racist by communities of color, it shows an extreme lack of sensitivity on their part that an animal that has been historically used in a derogatory manner when referring to African Americans would be considered funny in reference to President Obama.
Though the cartoonist and the editors said that the chimp was not meant to represent President Obama, they are either misrepresenting themselves or inadequate news journalists because though there are many authors of the Stimulus Bill, there is one man who is the “face” of the bill — Obama.
As the survey illustrated, journalists of color who are in these newsrooms, that were finally achieving some diversity, a.k.a. sensitivity and understanding of how Americans of color feel, are quickly returning to those days when journalists of color were not considered “qualified” enough to oversee news sections or the paper itself.
It may be a new administration and a new season for hope but it’s the same old problem with same old attitudes.
It is time for change but this is one issue where change can’t be forced but must be felt. Only then does change happen.