Friday, February 20, 2009

Racial Issues: Statement from 100 Black Men of America Inc. regarding offensive New York Post cartoon

We respect the First Amendment of the US Constitution....both the right of speech and the right to object to what is spoken. We find, as we have the right to do, Mr. Delonas's cartoon published in the February 18th, 2009 issue of the New York Post appalling, irresponsible and completely insensitive. The mission of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is to establish and reinforce positive images for young black men throughout the world.

Unless Mr. Delonas's education and experiences make him completely unaware of the historical racism associated with his caricature, his claimed ignorance, shock and surprise are all without merit. More importantly, even if he alone was ignorant to the obvious racial overtones, it is equally apparent that no one responsible for reviewing and approving this cartoon for print possessed any degree of reasoned sensibilities.

It may be as Hartley Engel has suggested that, "...[the] Post cartoon is not implying that President Obama is a chimpanzee, but, rather, that the stimulus bill is so weighted down with pet projects and out-of-control spending, that it is so non-stimulative, if you will, that it couldn't have been cobbled together by President Obama and his team of wildly intelligent economic advisors. No, it must have been written by a deranged chimp." But it seems to us, if this is the case, there is a plethora of ways to graphically express that idea, and the way chosen shows, at best, very poor judgment in both its creation, and it publication.

The New York Post and its leadership must reevaluate its priorities and standards in journalism and retract and apologize for its tasteless interpretation of current events. Despite race, creed and culture, many Americans would and have perceived this as an act fueled by racist innuendos and degrading characterization. More importantly, the New York Post must never permit this to happen again.

This inappropriate depiction goes far beyond satire by reopening wounds of deep-rooted racist stereotypes. It mocks our image as Black Americans, it mocks our struggles as a nation and it mocks the standard of journalism worldwide. It is improper, tasteless and unacceptable.

100 Black Men was founded as an organization in New York City in 1963. The national organization, 100 Black Men of America, Inc. began with nine chapters in 1986 as a national alliance of leading African American men of business, industry, public affairs and government with a mission to improve the quality of life for African Americans, particularly African American youth.

Source: 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits