Many of you reading this probably don’t know who Sean Delonas is and, before last week, I didn’t either. But now, Delonas and his employer the New York Post are under fire over a political cartoon that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others claim is “racist” and is a form of “hate speech.”
Sound the bell, folks, because the opportunism train is coming to town!
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the New York Post ran a cartoon by artist Delonas that lampooned the recent story of a Connecticut woman who was mauled by a pet chimpanzee.
In the cartoon, two officers are seen talking over a chimpanzee that they have just shot dead, saying, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
President Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus bill the day before the cartoon was printed, and several groups and individuals — the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton included — have claimed that it is “racist” and likens blacks to monkeys.
Sharpton, in a statement on his website, wrote, “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 … Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama … it is not a reach to wonder whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it?”
“Al” was so quick on the “racism” trigger that he seems to have forgotten his own sordid past. I’m sure former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney remembers, though. In 2007 Sharpton came under fire for comments he made about Mormonism and how “those who really believe in God” would defeat Romney’s presidential bid. Can anyone say, “double standard?”
The cartoon was not racist, but rather, did what political cartoons do — use satire and social commentary to convey an opinion about a current political or social situation.
The opportunism and knee-jerk reaction that has been demonstrated over this story is incredible. National Urban League president Marc Morial, according to CNN, called the cartoon “unacceptable.” Jeff Johnson, a Black Entertainment Television host, said, “None of this is appropriate on any level,” and civil rights leader Earl Ofari Hutchinson demanded an apology from the Post.
But the NAACP, in perhaps the biggest form of faux outrage, called for the firing of Delonas from the newspaper.
According to NAACP opportunist, I mean, President Benjamin Todd Jealous, “There is consensus that if the Post does not … get rid of the journalists who are responsible for this bit of hate speech seeing the light of day, we will move this from a local, regional issue to a very national issue.”
Was that a threat, Todd? Aren’t there much bigger fish to fry, like perhaps Sharpton, or maybe even Jesse Jackson? The double standard that is present here is nothing less than appalling.
Where was the NAACP’s outrage when Sharpton insulted Mormons nationwide, or when Jackson called New York “Hymietown,” in reference to its Jewish population, or called Israel a “theocracy?” Apparently, that stuff was all fine and dandy by NAACP standards, and was not considered “hate speech.”
Political cartoons are always going to be misunderstood by those who don’t get their meaning, but to cause this kind of uproar is just ridiculous. This incident only goes to show that the NAACP lives by a set of double standards.
Many of its supporters have less than savory records themselves, and the lack of outrage the NAACP demonstrated during the scandals they have caused is nothing less than outrageous.
Perhaps the NAACP should change its own name to the “National Association for the Advancement of Opportunists?”
Gerry Wachovsky is a graduate student and a columnist for the Daily Forty-Niner.