Another day, another accusation of racism via an editorial cartoon. This one is from the Oklahoma City News regarding Supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
Just as I argued with the now infamous chimp cartoon from the NY Post, I don’t think this strip is at all racist. Racially insenstive, perhaps. Intellectually lazy, for sure. But I wouldn’t go as far as to call it racist.
Like most editorial strips, I think the artist was trying to draw upon certain ideas that – quite frankly – I’ve even argued myself. Old, white men in the GOP have been finding their hands tied with the Obama administration as of late. While I’m sure there are some bigots in the GOP who are only challenging Sotomayor because of her minority status(es), I think there are others who truy want to get at her qualifications. However, the long and storied history of legitimate racism in this country makes it very difficult for any white person (especially of the Republican ilk) to offer criticism toward a minority…even if the criticism is valid. The troubled looks on the faces of those elephants, I’d say, represent the GOP’s trepidation with bashing Sotomayor, lest they be accused of racism (and perhaps even sexism).
It should be pointed out, however, that once again a cartoonist has failed to see how using certain imagery creates racial and sexist provocation, even if his ultimate intentions were something far less nefarious. Anytime a person is hanging, there is bound to be oppositon. Anytime violence is suggested (in this case, beating a woman with a stick), people are bound to get pissed. And the Mexican images (“Fiestas, pinatas, sombreros, etc.) do not necessarily reflect the cultural identity to which Sotomayor subscribes. She’s of Puerto Rican decent…NOT Mexican. Now I should make it clear that I don’t claim to know of any major cultural differences between Puerto Rico and Mexico. But I at least know that – unless the cartoonist did tons of research showing the relationship between Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures – using this kind of imagery is very risky. I’m no baseball guy, but even I know that in some parts of Chicago, it’s a crime to support the Cubs; and a crime to support the White Sox in others.
What about you? Do you think this strip is racist? Why or why not?