I Just Don’t See It *Edited*

There’s a whole lotta hoo-ha over this cartoon from the New York Post.


The allegations are that the cartoon is racist; that the monkey is representative of Obama and that it calls into play issues of police violence against black men and a history in this country of referring to blacks as monkeys.

I get all that – I really do – but I DON’T see this as a pointed attack on Obama.  Sure, I don’t think it’s a great leap to see the comic as having racist undertones, but taken with some modicum of thought, the comic comes off as decidedly unremarkable, not particularly funny or ironic, and certainly not worthy of all the attention being paid to it.

If you get enough monkeys in a room full of typewriters, the theory goes, one of ’em’s going to come up with Shakespeare (or, you know, a stimulus package).  Bush was blatantly compared to monkeys all the time.  I’ve heard Congress referred to as a bunch of baboons more than once.  I seriously doubt the artist intended the comic to be racist (though, of course, not knowing the artist, I can’t say with any authority WHAT s/he was thinking) but, as a consumer of this comic, I can say for sure that “racist” wasn’t the first place I went with it.


*Edited to include:  Okay, I’ve been doing some reading.  While I still don’t think that the cartoon deserves the vehemence it’s receiving, this helped me to understand a bit better what the discussion is really about….



Filed under backyard wildlife, ideas and opinions, politics, Questions, social issues, strange but true

15 responses to “I Just Don’t See It *Edited*

  1. I suspect it wasn’t intended to be racist but the fact of it is that every media outlet in creation has billed it as “OBAMA’S STIMULUS PACKAGE” so if someone’s going to get shot for it, it’s going to be him. That being the case, portraying the African American POTUS as a monkey is pretty tasteless. I mean, we’re just not far enough removed from the sort of racist art that was billed as kitschy in the 50s for this comic to fly. Whether it was meant to be racist or not someone should have seen the potential problem well before national publication.

    On a less related note, the monkey who got shot who inspired this drawing both freaks me out and makes me really sad.

  2. I don’t think it was intended to be racist, but I think it was pretty stupid to not expect it to perceived as racist. Unless maybe the cartoonist realized it would and wanted some drama.

  3. Racist undertones for sure… but the bigger issue is that the President of the United States is being compared to a violent wild animal who needs to be shot and killed in the name of public safety. THAT’S a much bigger deal to me.

  4. I’m not usually overly sensitive to things like this but I found the comic somewhat tasteless. Not only does it conjure up racist images that used to be fairly prevelent, it also makes fun of a tragic incident. How would you feel if you were the person who had her face ripped off by the chimp? And although I blame the woman who thought she could live with a wild animal like it was her child, I still have empathy for her loss.

    I’m a little sick, however, of people getting all upset and crying “racism” when things like this surface. Instead of getting all upset about relatively insignificant things like comics, let’s get upset about the fact that we live in a society that fosters things like this. Let’s start seeing the forest instead of the trees.

  5. Very interesting article you link to. My initial reaction to the cartoon was like a jolt. I like what Jules said, it is time to see the forest for the trees.

  6. I think it is worth the attention it has gotten. Regardless of if it was meant to be racist or not, the fact is that black people were/are referred to as monkeys which makes the cartoon racist.

    Remember when I told you about the dumbass I chewed out for saying that she “Jewed” the guy down? Same deal.

    Plus what ImprobableJoe said.

  7. Ok, reading the Feministing link actually revised my opinion too. The guy did mean it to be racist. At best he’s a grandstander willing to do anything for some press and at worst he’s a fairly dangerous bigot with a national platform. Did you click through to his other offensive cartoons?

    And what Improbable Joe said.

  8. I saw this and immediately thought it was racist. I also thought the artist knew that some people would see that it cold be viewed as the whole monkey/Shakespeare thing and felt that he had enough wiggle room to get away with it. I call bullshit on that. I’ve seen this artists other work — his response to gay marriage? A cartoon of a guy with a sheep under his arm applying for a marriage license. Yeah, nothing ambiguous about that. His track record with offensive work doesn’t lead me to conclude that this is anything other than a racist jab at Obama.

    Oh, and what Improbably Joe said.

    Going to read the Feministing article now. It will probably get me fired up even more.

  9. twoblueday

    Didn’t Howard Cosell lose his “Monday Night Football” gig for saying something like “look at that little monkey run?” That was how long ago?

    I think the cartoon was consciously intended to be racist by its creator and the publisher.

    Further, I have yet to decipher what substantive message was intended. Can anyone enlighten me.

    Oh, yeah, the worst crime of all for a cartoon: It wasn’t a bit humorous.

    So sayeth me.

  10. twoblueday

    And isn’t the New York Post a Rupert Murdoch mouthpiece? Pretty much a rightist scandal sheet?

  11. Oh, what the hell – I’ll chime in and make people dislike even more…

    1) yes, the cartoon was racist and not even remotely funny. No arguments from me there.


    2) iJoe – are you bothered that “A” President of the United States is being compared to a violent wild animal who needs to be shot and killed in the name of public safety, or are you bothered that a DEMOCRAT President of the United States is being compared to a violent wild animal who needs to be shot and killed in the name of public safety?

    Would this cartoon have bothered you as much if it were taking a shot at GW? Bush, Sr.? Reagan?

    3) TwoBlue – yes, the Post is a rightist scandal sheet.

    As much as the New York Times is a leftist one.

  12. i know I’m late but I’ve done posts about monkeys and blacks and racist perceptions. . . Some TIME AGO . It was racist plain and simple. The artist knew it. America knows it and I’m tired of the denial . . . how is it that such material can be produced and America has to argue about it. And then we call people like Sharpton an opportunist b/c he brings it to national attention–this infuriates me. This cartoonist has been stuff like this for years and AMERICA allows him to do it. So, I agree with one of the previous comments .. . America has to stop allowing such garbage to be produced. . why are allowing it? Shouldn’t freedom of speech have boundaries?

  13. some1

    this is very racist

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