Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black Reaction to Tasteless White Humor.

Attorney General Eric Holder,
Attorney General of the United States of America
U S Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D C 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General:

I know that I do not have to tell you or most Americans that for the past eight years the Constitution of the United States has been decimated and the Rule of Law has been totally ignored.

I inferred from listening to candidate Obama and now President Obama that one of the important initiatives of his Administration is to restore the application of both the word and the spirit of the Rule of Law and to abide by a full implementation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Based on this premise, I am calling your attention to an extremely dangerous and damaging climate and atmosphere in this country where a cartoonist is allowed to depict the President of the United States as a chimpanzee murdered by two uniformed policemen. The imagery that this conjures up is not at all humorous. It is vile, vicious, malicious and inciteful which most certainly poses a threat on the life of the President of the United States. This would not be tolerated in most countries throughout the world; and, must not be tolerated here in a country whose credo is that citizens are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I assume that that applies equally to the President of the United States. In looking up the definition of the word, treason, I find that an act of treason is an act wherein the life of the head of state is threatened, the act is treasonous. I, therefore, call upon you, as the Nation's chief law enforcement officer, whose duty it is is to insure that the human and civil rights of citizens are protected, to arrest and charge the cartoonist, Sean Delonas, with high crimes and treason. Delonas has planted the seed where haters, the lunatic fringe and copy catters could easily be aroused to fulfill the mission of the message of the cartoon.

There can be no denial that the cartoon specifically references President Barack Obama, when the words, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Who is considered the sponsor or advocate of the stimulus plan now known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? We have attributed ownership of that plan to the President. To add insult to injury juxtaposed in close proximity is a page which addresses the President's stimulus package. When one connects the dots, the end point leads one directly to the President of the United States.

Using a broad interpretation of torture, meaning extreme anguish of body or mind; agony, many Americans are very anxious and agonize over the safety of the Present of the United States who has had several death threats directed at him. I consider this not only traumatic for those of us who believe in the Rule of Law, but we feel tortured by being in a constant state of anxiety. This should not be tolerated in a Democracy. The mental health of the Nation is more important than one individual's devious behavior.

I will not rest until I see Sean Delonas removed from the general population. Ours is a popular President according to the most recent poll where President Obama outranks Jesus in popularity. As such, such a person is a figure of envy and a target for the deranged. Delonas appears, in his inflammatory cartoon, to be appealing to the base instincts of human behavior and that is dangerous.

Expecting swift action,

Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration

(Feb. 19, 2009) | The New York Post issued an apology “to those who were offended,” while maintaining that the cartoon was not intended to be racist.

Original Post | Gov. David A. Paterson, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, the Rev. Al Sharpton and others expressed concern on Wednesday morning over an editorial cartoon in The New York Post that showed a police officer telling his colleague who just shot a chimpanzee, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

Critics said the cartoon, drawn by Sean Delonas, implicitly compared President Obama with the primate and evoked a history of racist imagery of Blacks. The chimpanzee was an apparent reference to the 200-pound pet chimpanzee that was shot dead by a police officer in Stamford, Conn., on Monday evening, after it mauled a friend of his owner.

Speaking at a conference of the New York Academy of Medicine on Wednesday morning, Mr. Paterson said that while he had not seen the cartoon, he believed that The Post should explain it. Given the possibility that some people could conclude the cartoon had a racial subtext, Mr. Paterson said the newspaper needed to clarify its meaning.

“It would be very important for The New York Post to explain what the cartoon was intended to portray,” Mr. Paterson said in response to a question about whether the cartoon’s depiction of a monkey was racist, as Mr. Sharpton has suggested. “Obviously those types of associations have been made. They do feed a kind of negative and stereotypical way that people think. But I think if it’s enough that people are raising this issue, I hope they would clarify.”

Senator Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, said in a statement: “I found the Post cartoon offensive and purposefully hurtful. This type of cartoon serves no productive role in the public discourse.”

City Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr., a Queens Democrat, called for a boycott of the newspaper. “To run such a violent, racist cartoon is an insult to all New Yorkers,” he said in a statement. “This was an unfortunate incident in which a human being was seriously injured- not an opportunity to sling dangerous rhetoric. It is my belief that The New York Post owes an immediate apology to this city for demonstrating such terrible judgment and insensitivity.”

Mr. Comrie urged New Yorkers to “demonstrate their displeasure with the New York Post by writing letters to their advertisers and simply stop purchasing a publication that clearly has no respect or sensitivity for people of color.”

On Wednesday evening, the Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz, also weighed in, saying:

My office has received complaints about this so-called cartoon, and I can see why. If its disturbing connection to reprehensible racial stereotyping was unintentional, it just proves once again how disconnected The Post is from New York City and its residents. And for such a weak joke? There’s no excuse. The ‘editors’ overseeing such content should be ashamed—and held accountable. The Post is always quick on the attack, so now we ask that they do the right thing and apologize to all who were offended by this tasteless cartoon.

A newsroom employee at The Post, who spoke on condition of anonymity because employees were not permitted to comment on the matter, said its newsroom received many calls of complaints on Wednesday morning after the publication of the cartoon. “Every line was lit up for several hours,” the employee said. “The phones on the city desk have never rung like that before.” Many Post staff members were dismayed by the cartoon, the employee added.

The cartoon was on Page 12 of Wednesday’s edition, next to the paper’s Page Six gossip column. On Page 11, the reverse side, was a photograph of President Obama signing the stimulus bill into law in Denver.

Mr. Sharpton, who has been an unflattering subject in cartoons drawn by Mr. Delonas in The Post, said in a statement on his Web site:

The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best, given the racist attacks throughout history that have made African-Americans synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual inference to this form of racism when, in the cartoon, the police say after shooting a chimpanzee, “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 whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it?

In a statement, Col Allan, editor in chief of The Post, denied Mr. Sharpton’s assertion that the cartoon was “racially charged.” Mr. Allan said:

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.

A 2001 cartoon by Mr. Delonas depicted Fernando Ferrer, the Bronx borough president who was seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor that year, kissing the buttocks of Mr. Sharpton — a depiction that was widely criticized as demeaning, and even racist.

In a phone interview, Mr. Sharpton said he planned to hold a protest outside The Post’s Midtown offices at noon on Thursday.

“What does shooting a chimpanzee have to do with a stimulus bill?” Mr. Sharpton said. “This raises all the racial stereotypes we are trying to get away from in this country.”

He added: “I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or the chimpanzee. I‘m speaking on behalf of the offended African-American community.”

Mr. Delonas has drawn ire from a number of groups for past cartoons in The Post. In 2006, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation denounced a cartoon of his that showed a man carrying a sheep wearing a bridal veil to a “New Jersey Marriage Licenses” window, a reference to the State Supreme Court’s ruling that year requiring the state to grant same-sex couples the same legal rights and benefits as heterosexual couples through civil unions.

Andrew Rojecki, associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of “The Black Image in the White Mind” (University of Chicago Press, 2000), a study of racial attitudes and their relationship to mass media content, said he found the cartoon deeply troubling.

“Of course I would say it’s racist,” Professor Rojecki said in an interview. “There’s no question about it.”

He added, “The cartoonist, whether he did this consciously or not, was drawing upon a very historically deep source of images about African-Americans that African-Americans do not have a lot of control over.”

Such images are harmful on a number of levels, he said. “Even people who do not harbor deep-seated prejudices, because they have stereotypes deeply embedded in their consciousness, may react unconsciously when those associations are triggered,” he said.

Professor Rojecki rejected Mr. Allan’s assertion that the cartoon was devoid of racial content. “It strains credulity to imagine that there is any association between a chimpanzee that was shot because it had attacked someone and a bill that has successfully passed through Congress,” he said. “It makes no sense. What possible explanation could there be?”

Jan Nederveen Pieterse, a professor of global studies and sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of “White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture” (Yale University Press, 1995), said, “I agree the cartoon is racist, without a doubt.”

Professor Pieterse, who is Dutch, said that portrayal of non-Westerners as primates became well-established in both the United States and Europe in the late 19th century, and has affected not only Blacks, but also the Irish and Chinese, for example.

It’s absolutely outrageous,” he said of the cartoon, “and I think people are concerned because it sets a nasty, mean, very aggressive tone. You can’t get any lower.”

(7/29/2009-BOSTON)White Police Officer Calls Prof Henry Gates a jungle monkey.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis placed Police Officer Justin Barrett, 36, on administrative leave pending the outcome of a termination hearing.

"Commissioner Davis was made aware of a correspondence with racist remarks and removed the officer of his gun and badge."

The email describes Harvard Professor Doctor Henry Luis Gates, who was arrested and briefly detained earlier this month at Harvard, near Boston, as a "banana-eating jungle monkey" .

The city's mayor, Tom Menino, was quoted referring to Barrett as a "cancer in the department" and calling on him to be fired.

Gates became the center of a national debate on racism when he was charged with disorderly conduct after arguing with police sent to investigate a suspected burglary at his home near Harvard University.

President Barack Obama became embroiled in the uproar when he said police acted "stupidly."

But the email has reignited the controversy and dealt Boston's police a severe image blow just when they and the White House were hoping to calm tensions.

The email allegedly written by Barrett lambasts Gates for getting into an altercation with police.

"I am not a racist, but I am prejudice towards people who are stupid," reads the alleged diatribe -- containing frequent grammatical and spelling errors -- against Gates and local newspaper the Boston Globe.

"He has indeed transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey."



Blogger ichbinalj said...

John Legend's Open Letter to the New York Post

Open Letter to the New York Post Yesterday at 8:02pm Dear Editor:

I'm trying to understand what possible motivation you
may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the
shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you
thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was
responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation
must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged,
violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger
community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion
would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and
the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our
President has been receiving death threats since early in
his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have
historically been compared to various apes as a way of
racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these
painful themes when you printed the cartoon?
If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and
willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily
connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you
obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and
offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans.
Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and
the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can't
imagine what possible justification you have for this.
I've read your lame statement in response to the outrage
you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and
then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev.
Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It's about
the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.
I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to
print what you want. But freedom of speech still comes with
responsibilities and consequences. You are responsible for
printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real
consequences for it. I'm personally boycotting your
paper and won't do any interviews with any of your
reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the
entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your
advertisers to seriously reconsider their business
relationships with you as well.
You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging
that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and
should not have been printed.
I'm well aware of our country's history of racism
and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this
filth. As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and
look toward a better future, we don't need the New York
Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new
administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel
free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President,
but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.
John Legend

3:58 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Apparently the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new economic stimulus package....
The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.
The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.
The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.
Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'
The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."
The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

3:50 PM  

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