10 Questions with Kevin Blackistone
9. NY Post Cartoon
Posted On 05.17, 2013

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RCS: In your extensive career you've covered a lot more than just sports, and last year you wrote a few columns for The Politico. With that in mind, we wanted to get your reaction to the controversial New York Post cartoon that has caused a bit of a stir.

Jonathan Chait, the left-of-center editor of the New Republic, wrote, "Obviously the point is that the stimulus bill could have been written by a monkey. The monkey doesn't look like Obama and is in no way supposed to represent him. And it incorporated violence because the monkey in the news story was, in fact, shot -- and the punchline depends on the monkey being dead and thus unavailable to write further legislation.... Again, while it's a mediocre joke at best, Obama supporters shouldn't be looking for racial slights around every corner. So far there have been very few of them."

Do you think the reaction to the cartoon was fair or was it, as Chait suggests, overblown?

Blackistone: Among the many disgusting things I received in the mail while writing at The Dallas Morning News was a white supremacist newspaper, mailed to me anonymously, comparing people of African descent to apes. There is a scene from the play A Soldier's Story - or the movie, if you saw that - where the tortured black soul, Sergeant Waters, talks about how white soldiers in World War II told French girls that black soldiers had tails like monkeys. A recent treatise on the life of the African woman known in Europe as Venus Hottentot reminded us that Europeans in the 18th and 19th century thought of Africans as the tribe of monkeys. So there is a long history of debasing people of African descent as monkeys and apes. So maybe Jonathan Chait isn't as aware of history as he should be when discussing such an issue. Certainly he isn't as attuned to the black psyche as his progressive leanings would suggest. The reaction to such a despicable cartoon was warranted.

It's not about being an Obama supporter. It's about being a decent human being who is sensitive to other's sensibilities.

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