Double Standards

I am going to post a response I did on an African American History discussion board. I did not obtain an adequate response from my fellow classmates so I wanted to hear from my fellow bloggers! I am going to post the question given to us as a class and then my response. Tell me what you think! Oh and I’m including the link to the cartoon for those who have no idea what we are talking about! The link is

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/chimp-stimulus-cartoon-raises-racism-concerns/

Question:
What do you guys think about the racist cartoon in the New York Post, depicting the wild monkey that attacked the lady being shot by two cops saying that’s how you get rid of the person who created the Stimulus package? And what do you think about singer John Legend’s letter to the Post blasting it for being racist and insensitive? You can find a copy of the letter under Supplemental Readings (go under Course Documents to get there).

My Response:
I think the cartoon was pretty irresponsible of the New York Post to publish. The subject was obviously intended to offend others. I think that the guy should be fired that decided to draw this cartoon and the person in charge of publishing this paper should be questioned.

And I know I am going to go a little off topic but I hate how we often have a double standard in this country. We often judge others but some others can get away with “racist” comments. A perfect example would be of President Barack Obama. Within the last month he was on the Jay Leno show and was talking about a recent bowling game he participated in. He later states and I quote “It’s like the Special Olympics or something,” after he bowled a 129. That statement obviously was a racist comment against people with mental disabilities and or phyical disabilities. Except he’s the President and he does not get any mainstream spotlights on this ridiculous statement. My mother works with mentally handicapped people and I find this completely offensive because I know a lot of her patients.

Anyways what I am saying is that there is blatant racism all over the U.S. (including the ENTIRE world) and we often only focus on one group of people instead of all of the different races or minorities that are attacked. ALL RACISM IS BARBARIC. I am attaching a youtube video to his special olmypics comment and the story published online.

Links on the stories posted:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/03/president-ob-15.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb-ZSZNaCc0&feature=related

~ by branhow on May 3, 2009.

3 Responses to “Double Standards”

  1. Brandon,

    A few thoughts:

    * First, President Obama’s statement was not racist. It was prejudice toward people with disabilities though. Racism is specifically prejudice based on race.

    * The published cartoon and off the cuff remarks are different. The Post had time to review and consider the publication of their offensive cartoon before the fact. President Obama didn’t, otherwise he obviously would not have said it. That doesn’t make what he said ok but the scrutiny the Post was able to give the cartoon before publication is part of the reason why there was so much more outrage over the cartoon.

    * I don’t agree with your assertion that Obama got less criticism because he is President. He did get criticism, as pointed out by the first article you linked to by ABC News. I agree that he got less criticism than the cartoon but that was based both on the nature of the comment (the fact that it was off the cuff) and the fact that President Obama recognized what he said was offensive and called the chairman of the Special Olympics to apologize before the show even aired.

    * I also don’t agree that anyone should be fired over the cartoon published by the Post. The editor should certainly get a good scolding for their lack of judgment but that is about it.

    Those are my 2 cents.

    • i agree with you that I did not utilize the word racism in the right context. I was merely looking at the definition of the word as having negative preconceived ideas of a group of people or showing an outward expression against that group of people. But prejudice would of been a better word.

      **side note** the author of the cartoon was in fact fired. I think that this cartoon had to be intended to be racist, there is no other way to interpret it. Not only do I think it was necessary for the author to be fired because of this blatant racism, but in order for the New York Post to gain some credibility back, it seems to be necessary. Also these negative ramifications might detour people from expressing racism. I think one reason why racism is still being dealt with is because racist people are in high places.

      President Barack Obama did receive more criticism on the internet, but try and find the airtime on ABC’s national televised news or CNN’s.

      I think your idea of off the cuff remarks is interesting. That is a point of view I didn’t even contemplate. But I still don’t know if you can justify that. Racism or discrimination against others often starts as a joke and then turns into something more. We can obviously see Obama was laughing at his own joke, so he honestly thought it was funny. So whether or not he meant to say it out loud he still had that preconception of mentally disabled people not being able to achieve things like normal people. But that is an interesting view on why the news did not make more of a deal out of the issue.

      Thanks Forrest for the reply! I wish my class would of stood up to the competition but I knew my blogger friends wouldn’t disappoint me! 😛

  2. I didn’t know the artist got fired for this cartoon. I completely understand why the Post would fire him and don’t think they necessarily did the wrong thing but I think the editor should have more responsibility for publishing it.

    When the cartoon came out I thought it was blatantly racist and saw no other reasoning behind it too. From the first link in your post though, I learned that it was intended to reference a 200-pound pet chimpanzee that viciously mauled a woman he had known for years. That is too coincidental for me not to believe that was at least the original basis of the drawing. Again, that doesn’t make it ok but it does make it more understandable. Personally, I give a more weight on intent for things like this. Maybe the intent was dual purposed (the chimp story and a racist jab) though. You can only take the Post’s word for that.

    I watched Leno that night and remember when President Obama made his comment about the Special Olympics. I was shocked then and knew that there was definitely going to be some backlash. I was glad to find out he realized quickly that he shouldn’t have said it and apologized quickly.

    You bring up a good point about the underlying prejudice in our society. Racism is something we as a nation are very touchy about after founding the country on slavery, with racism written into the constitution (3/5 compromise) and Jim Crow laws that were on the books through the mid 1960s. People with special needs are also the victims of prejudice but that is not something as a country we are as aware of. Prejudice is not something you can easily just wish away either. It takes time and understanding. I find this fact, from the ABC News article, priceless: “The son of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy pointed out that in Detroit there’s a Special Olympian who has bowled three perfect games.”

    One other thought about Obama laughing at his own joke: He was definitely going for a joke of self deprecation and laughing at himself, not people with disabilities. I wish he had thought of a better comparison as to why he sucks at bowling. We know he does too. That still doesn’t make his comment ok.

    Hopefully Obama’s comment will actually help the cause of the Special Olympics and bring light to the fact that as a country we do have prejudices that we need to be conscientiously aware of.

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