Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Media > Racism isn’t a joke no matter how it’s drawn

Racism isn’t a joke no matter how it’s drawn

LatinaLista — Do you remember when you were a kid and the butt of a particularly mean-spirited joke played on you by your older brother or sister or the bully on the playground?
The joke was sufficiently mean enough to make you cry and make you shout the infamous line heard in every family round the world, “I’m going to tell Mom (or substitute your own bully-protector) on you!”

New York Post editorial cartoon under attack for being racist.
That announcement usually instilled some level of fear into our attacker that he/she would immediately retort, “Can’t you take a joke?”
The older we got the more that line stopped us from tattling. We didn’t want to appear so uncool that we didn’t get the joke, which was always an “inside” joke at our expense. So we silently suffered through the so-called “joke” because we didn’t want to appear like we were too stupid to get what was supposed to be funny.
It’s the same feeling I get whenever I level a charge of racism. For those who are committing it, their denial almost always sounds like to me they are saying “Can’t you take a joke?”
Well, it’s taken a while to learn that a joke is only a joke when it tickles my funny bone as much as the jokester. If it doesn’t make me laugh but appalls my sensibilities disproportionately to the amount it delights the jokester, it’s not a joke but an insult that needs to be addressed.

Today, the New York Post ran an editorial cartoon spoofing the recent death of a chimpanzee that was in the news for suddenly turning violent after having spent its lifetime growing up as part of a human family. After mauling a family friend, the police had to shoot the animal dead.
The editorial cartoonist chose to make light of this tragic incident by recreating the police shooting the chimp — complete with blood splatter. However, the cartoon’s text wasn’t in reference to the chimp’s death but, of all things, the recent Stimulus Bill championed by President Obama.
The text, in a bubble over one policeman read, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
Of course, organizations and people of color have come out charging this cartoon as racist. And of course, the New York Post is defending it by saying it isn’t.
And I can’t help but hear that old line, “Can’t you take a joke?”
So, for the editors and the cartoonist at the New York Post who must be shown why this isn’t mere satire or a joke and why so many of us find it offensive, I would ask they consider the following:

1. It’s not funny. It’s not funny that a family who raised an animal from infancy and treated it as a member of their family should have to helplessly stand by and watch as it mauls a family friend and be forced to call the police to kill it.
2. Any slightly educated person knows the historically insulting comparison used by racists in this country of chimps/monkeys with African Americans.
3. With all the media coverage of President Obama promoting the Stimulus Bill, it’s common knowledge that everyone equates this bill with him. To provide text referring to who is pushing the Stimulus Bill, goes without saying that it is in full reference to President Obama.
4. This cartoon doesn’t represent some “inside joke.” It actually represents something much more disturbing — that racism has so infiltrated our social mindset that a cartoonist and a group of editors would not recognize that this would be offensive to African Americans and all of us who strive to see each other equally.

All of this boils down to one thing — the New York Post editors and publisher will have to do a better job of explaining this “joke,” because I for one do not get it and I’m not alone!

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  • Panchito
    February 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Some of my co-workers are just as rude and stupid as the New York Post. When I ask them why, their most common reply is: “because we can – it’s not against the law”.
    Bottom line – their Mama never taught them any manners.

  • Horace
    February 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Actually, it’s not racial at all, for it alludes to the intelligence level of those morons, Nancy Pellosi and Harry Reid, the real architects of the Democrat’s socialist wish list. The so-called stimulus package is really just the agenda that the frustrated Democrats have been waiting for years to foist upon the public. It’ ironic that one would expect fiscal responsibility on the part of everyone in government at such times as these, but the Democrat’s instinct is to squander billions on wasteful programs written in a bill that no one was given any time to read.
    If this squandering of taxpayer’s and their progeny’s future fails, which it is likely to do, the Democrats will be through as a party, but they don’t seem to realize this at the moment. In a few short years the balance of party will return to the Republicans. Just wait and see.

  • Horace
    February 19, 2009 at 5:51 am

    The problem with your hyperbole is that it misstates the facts. Although it’s called the president’s stimulus bill, he had very little to do with it. Everyone, literally everyone, knows that Nancy and Harry wrote that horrible legislation. I’d say that it would be safe to say that Nancy and Harry have the intellects of chimpanzees with alzheimers. Marisa, once again you find yourself as just one of the herd in your thinking. This is just another partisan pile one by a lock-step press that doesn’t think for themselves.

  • Alessandra
    February 19, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Who actually wrote the Stimulus Bill? It was Congress. Nancy Pelosi and her buds wrote the first draft at which the Republicans were not even present. After it was passed in the House, moderate Senators from both sides of the isle got together to try to eliminate some of the spending which had nothing to do with actually “stimulating” the economy. Obama might have signed the bill, but he did not write it.
    The “joke” was that even a chimp could come up with a “stimulus” that would do as much good as the one crafted by our government.
    I do believe it was in poor taste to use this tragedy to make this point, but I don’t think “race” played any part in it.
    The problem is that both the far left and far right are obssessed with race and see everything in a racial context.

  • Irma
    February 19, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    While I agree with your view that the cartoon was racist, I would invite you to also write about Eric Holder’s speech yesterday which was also racist and
    in my view -fascist. To such that Americans are cowards about race in light of who is now occupying the Oval office
    is simply whining and wrong. My signficiant other is not Hispanic and of a different ethnic group as myself, many of our professional colleagues are also similarly paired up. We tend socialize with each other – as there are few African Americans who do what we do – we dont socialize with them. There is simply no time in the day to go out and find new friends outside of the workplace. To suggest that people like us are “cowards” about race is ludricous and wrong. My friends and I have always included members of many groups. African Americans would be in our group too, but the fact of the matter is that for whatever reason, there aren’t in my profession at my institution.
    This is probably true for a lot of people.
    African Americans like Eric Holder need to stop looking back at the past, which apparently defines him.

  • Horace
    February 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Why don’t you write about your precious Nancy Pelosi’s and company’s congressional junket to Italy on the public dime, using a government plane at a cost of $200,000 for transportation alone? And that doesn’t include the other expenses, which I suspect to be substantial. We’d all like to hear of your righteous indignation on that one. Just what would provoke you into criticizing the Democrats? Isn’t it enough that our country is on the brink of financial disaster and that Nancy is off on a visit to the Pope and sightseeing in Italy, along with a lot of friends, all at government expense? Well, you advocates asked for a Democrat majority, and you’ve got it!

  • Horace
    February 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    The chimp represents the intellectual merger of Nancy P and Harry R, and the summing of their IQs, which I estimate to be 100. It’s not well known but the chimp was being vetted for Secretary of the Treasury. It was a close one, with the chimp owing only a thousand dollars in back taxes more than Getty.

  • Lea Ortiz
    February 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I need your explanation of how this racist.
    Were you this apalled when President Bush was compared to a chimp? Better yet, were you enraged as Condaleeza Rice was depicted as a black mammy? Neither Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson were bothered by it. Nor did they rush to her side.
    This man has acheived the most high office that can be bestowed onto an American. “America as a whole is now free of white guilt.” That from the NBRA. You know it would be wonderful to hear him acknowledge that fact. A little over half of America has voted him in. Uhm, I would just guess that a huge vote was from white democrats.
    All politicians and elected officials become the brunt of jokes. If Mr Obama or his supporters can not accept that he will be a target you are mistaken. Get used to it. This is what happens when you get what ask for. Take responsibility and own it.
    As a Republican American of Mexican descent I have seen racism from all directions.
    Let’s remove the chip on the shoulder, and not assume everything is about race. Perhaps it is political satire as with the former President.

  • Katrina
    February 20, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Not cool…at all

  • Panchito
    February 20, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    You’re looking for love in all the wrong places girl. Being a “Republican American of Mexican decent” is like a Jew proudly claiming to be a Nazi sympathizer. Don’t you listen to the news? Republicans don’t want us, don’t like us, and we have become their scapegoats. Even if you are a Republican – keep it to yourself. Stay in the closet, don’t ask, and certainly don’t tell!

  • Ken
    February 20, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Speaking of the so-called stimulus, I heard that Obama is urging the cities and states not to waste the money, and he’s asking the citizens to monitor for them for this. That’s a laugh when you consider that Obama has already admitted that the stimulus package itself has plenty of pork. If this is indeed Obama’s baby, a wastrel is urging others not to be wastrels. Some people might call that hypocrisy.

  • Panchito
    February 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Leave President Obama alone you Nazi lovers!
    The GOP lost- get over it. It took the GOP eight years to get us to the brink of economic disaster. Don’t expect President Obama to be able to fix it in one month. Stop playing stupid.

  • Horace
    February 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Panchito said: “You’re looking for love in all the wrong places girl. Being a “Republican American of Mexican decent” is like a Jew proudly claiming to be a Nazi sympathizer.”
    Does that make illegal immigrants Nazi’s too, because they’re invading my country. You’re funny Panchito, because it’s illegal immigrants that are violating this country’s sovereignty and laws, not Republicans who currently have the law on their side, not a small detail I might add. I’m sure that you would have defended the German right to immigrate to France riding tanks and towing artillery in 1940. After all, the Germans only wanted to have lebensraum; room to grow and make better lives for themselves, the manner by which the did it notwithstanding. In this respect illegal aliens are no better than the Germans. And traitors like yourselves are no better than the Qislings of Norway who betrayed their countrymen.

  • Panchito
    February 21, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Where did you learn to read? In the Federal Pen? I never said it was o.k. for people to come to this country illegally. And don’t give yourself too much credit. This is not “your ” country – this country belongs to all its citizens and we all get a vote. That is why we voted all the right wing morons like you out of office.

  • Lea Ortiz
    February 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    “You’re looking for love in all the wrong places girl. Being a “Republican American of Mexican decent” is like a Jew proudly claiming to be a Nazi sympathizer.”
    No. That statement is wrong. You Ponchito are wrong is stating that. Comparing me to a Nazi?
    “Republicans don’t want us, don’t like us, and we have become their scapegoats.”
    So in essence you are saying that the democrats do. Sorry, that just doesn’t compute. You see the Democratic Party gave birth to the KKK, deep in the south. The Democrats are the ones that provide the handouts and aid, that entrap the mentality of those that can do better for themselves if only given a chance. Like slaves. The Democratic Party now wants to keep ethnics enslaved in all these programs. Why???? For the vote. I refuse to live on that plantation.
    “Even if you are a Republican – keep it to yourself. Stay in the closet, don’t ask, and certainly don’t tell!”
    Here in lies the huge chasm between the cultures. Telling me what I can and can/t do. No, I will not keep what I am to myself. I am proud of being an American Woman. Not ashamed to say that I am a Republican.
    I have left that “poor us”, “bad them” mentality long long ago.

  • Michaela
    February 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Obama is now president. The buck stops with him. He has made it clear he will not tolerate vicious jokes or slander against himself or his family. However, this hypocrite had no problem with destroying Sarah Palin’s reputation and that of her family. This usurper had no problem with the lies being told about republicans. The man is a despicable whining hypocrite. He is a socialist who hates this country. He has surrounded himself with terrorists and America haters. He was raised in a Muslim country who seeks to destroy the infidels. Once a radical Muslim, always a radical Muslim. He does not deserve to be an American or even to live on our precious soil.

  • Panchito
    February 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    You keep digging yourself into a hole every time you post on this blog. Your lack of motivation and character has nothing to do with your political affiliation.
    Don’t blame it on the Democrats. You have one thing going for you – you finally found a home with the Republicans. They’re good at blaming everyone else for their problems.

  • Horace
    February 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Panchito said:
    “Being a “Republican American of Mexican decent” is like a Jew proudly claiming to be a Nazi sympathizer.”
    And then said:
    “….and character has nothing to do with your political affiliation.”
    Mexican American Republicans = Jews sympathizing with Nazis, ergo Republicans = Nazis?
    Please tell me what’s wrong with this picture. Personally I would call it character assassination by party affiliation.

  • Lew Waters
    February 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    “You keep digging yourself into a hole every time you post on this blog. Your lack of motivation and character has nothing to do with your political affiliation.
    Don’t blame it on the Democrats. You have one thing going for you – you finally found a home with the Republicans. They’re good at blaming everyone else for their problems.”
    Panchito, what is the problem with Lea thinking for herself and embracing the values she holds? Must all people of a certain ethnicity embrace only what you feel is correct? Is that not the group think you blame on Republicans?
    As for blaming others for problems, you need only look to your precious Democrats. I invite you to look back to 2003 and 2005 when Republicans tried to forestall the current economic melt-down by passing regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose failure is directly tied to today’s economic crisis and see just who among the Democrats refused to admit they were in trouble and blocked all efforts at reforming them.
    Now today, after the bottom fell out, who gets the blame? Not the Democrats who put on the blinders. They now blame Republicans.
    I’d be careful accusing Lea of a lack of motivation or character. She has so far displayed tons more than you by standing for her beliefs, values and sharing her own thoughts, not the group think lock-step you spew.
    Just what is it about strong willed women that you find so threatening?

  • Lea Ortiz
    February 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Your hate and disrespect are apparent. This is the so called all encompassing love of the liberal democrats. The way you speak to me for having a differing view is nothing new to me. This I have experienced first hand from the Hispanic Community and it is plain to see you fall in line with the norm.
    Perhaps machismo is attractive to some Latin women, but not this one, Panch. BTW, I have never known a Hispanic man refer himself in the cute nickname form as a child, PANCH.

  • Panchito
    February 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Lea,Lew, and Horace,
    I don’t like Republicans because Republicans don’t like me. Why do they not like me? Because my skin is brown and my last name ends with a “z”. Lea accuses me of being a “macho” man because I question her judgment for being sympathetic to the Republicans who scapegoat an ethnicity of which she is a part of. This has absolutely nothing to do with her gender – it is her poor judgment which is in question here.

  • Lew Waters
    February 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Panchito, that is about the most bigotted comment I have heard. Have you met all Republicans? Has Michael Steele sent you some hate mail? Your comment is what you accuse us of, is it not?
    If, as you say, Republicans hate Hispanics, how do you explain the Republican National Hispanic Assembly?
    Liberals love to play victim, Panchito and that appears to be what you are doing.
    You questions Lea’s judgment after you announced judgment on her?
    Why don’t you stop whining, man-up and actually check into what Republicans really believe, not what the Dictatorial Democrats tell you we believe?

  • Horace
    February 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    “I don’t like Republicans because Republicans don’t like me. Why do they not like me?”
    Could this be because that Latino advocates support amnesty and contempt for U.S. immigration law, and Republicans generally don’t? If not, what else do they object to that makes you think that they hate you? Except for illegal immigration, Latinos have no real bone to pick with Republicans.

  • Sandra
    February 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Panchito, it is utter BS that conservative Republicans don’t like Hispanics. If that were true no Hispanics would be Republicans and that simply isn’t true. Just because they are for the rule of law and want our immigration laws enforced, doesn’t mean they dislike Hispanics. If these were millions of illegal aliens from China, they would still hold the same views. Would that mean that they dislike the Chinese? Stick your race card where the sun don’t shine.

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