Feature

Is a New York Post chimp cartoon racist?

What cartoonist Sean Delonas meant by suggesting a chimp could have written the stimulus bill

Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders think a New York Post cartoon "compares President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee and is thus racist," said Yael T. Abouhalkah in the Kansas City Star. The Post says the Sean Delonas cartoon merely mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy by suggesting that a chimp could have written the stimulus bill. I buy that—the racial connotations are just too obvious for this to have been more than an innocent slip.

"Come on," said Michael Tomasky in Britain's The Guardian. "Where were you born?" In a country with the racial history of the U.S., a cartoon saying a black president's policies were the work of an ape is going to send a racist message, and Delonas had to know that. "I have not always seen eye-to-eye" with Sharpton, but he's "as right as he can be in this case."

What a perfect manufactured controversy, said Dan Janison in Newsday. Delonas stirs the pot with another provocative cartoon, and Sharpton launches yet another "self-promotional protest." Then, "on cue," conservatives jump up and down over Sharpton's "racial 'bias'" while "the Pavlovian 'liberal' Post-haters to go 'tut-tut' about the tabloid." And none of it really means a thing.

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