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Nation Of The Apes

February 20, 2009

I sit here in front of my laptop while sucking down a tall glass of Folgers Black Silk, and wonder what the next topic of discussion should be….hmmmm…

First, as a point of reference, I ask that readers watch the following commercial:

Remember that one?  It wasn’t particularly controversial, right?  I mean, the use of chimps in the ad was clearly used as a parody of human behavior.  Specifically, the team working for careerbuilder.com knew that the audience would relate to the frustration of dealing with boneheadedness in the workplace, and the creative use of primates conveyed the message fairly well.  In fact, there were a few of these commercials, which would be an indication that the people at Cramer-Kressalt Co. (the ad team) thought this idea was a winner, I suppose.  (They did claim the top spot in “The Funniest Commercials of 2005.”, although PETA, predictably, wasn’t thrilled about them).

Now, enter the now-infamous NY Post cartoon that was published the other day:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Aaaaand…..KABOOM!  Controversy erupts, blog wars rage,  protesters march in New York, and the airwaves are filled with hours of commentary.

But who was offended?  PETA?  The family of the unfortunate woman mauled by the pet chimp (the story that inspired the cartoon)?  

Nope. 

People apparently saw racism in the cartoon.  You know, stimulus bill ->black president-> ape -> shot dead by police.  Or something. 

Personally, I think that the cartoon missed the mark (as so many deadline-constrained political cartoonists do), and wasn’t funny in the least. But I don’t think it was racist. I think its just a stupid cartoon.  Or as I wrote over at Sadly No!:

Had the primate had a “Obama” tag on his chest, well, then yea, I’d definitely see that as racist. But there wasn’t. The toon was to be interpreted as referring to a stimulus bill that could be seen as written by an out-of-control ape (like the careerbuilder.com ads). In fact, given the way it was written, the lack of label and the apparent ignorance to the hypersensitivity of certain corners of the audience, I’d say that it could have only been penned by someone who was explicitly not racist.

This actually puts me in agreement with many of the blog entries that I’ve seen on the right side of the fence, which is a rather unusual place for me.  OK.  I just call it as I see it. 

The NY Post, for their part, sticks to their guns today (sorta):

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.

Period.

But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

Exactly.

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Update: Several of my fellow WPPBA bloggers have taken on this topic as well:

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61 comments

  1. This is our commentary this morning on the whole mess.

    The Post should have exercised more editorial discretion over the cartoon. But everyone seems to be forgetting the real victim here- the 55 year old woman who had her face ripped apart and hands mauled by said chimpanzee.

    http://americanheartland.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/220-ny-post-editor-col-allen-the-universes-biggest-douchebag-of-the-week/


  2. Ehhhhhh, no. All the cartoonist needed to do to remove any ambiguity was to have the chimp wear a tee shirt that said “Member of Congress”. Case closed, no room for misinterpretation. Or the dialogue bubble above the cops head could have said “Looks like they’ll have to find another chimp to write the next stimulus package since any chimp could have written the first one.”

    The bottom line is the entire premise of the cartoon was a huge stretch. The shooting of the chimp in Stamford had no relation to the stimulus bill and the cartoonist’s attempt to tie the two together clearly showed he was not having one of his better days.

    This society has been caricaturing blacks as apes for centuries. Now that we finally have a black President, we can say enough. We have no obligation to tolerate the insensitive stupidity of this cartoonist or his paper. I’m glad there was outrage and I’m glad the paper printed an apology however begrudgingly.


  3. I don’t know what’s worse out of the follwing 2:

    1. i posted on Chen’s blog 2 hours after calling for a boycott.

    2. I think the cartoon might have been purposely created to be edgy and therefore inappropriate. Yet I still find the cartoon kind of funny when nobody else apparently does. Is it some deep Freudian streak of racism in me, is it the riskiness of the cartoon itself or the fact that the dead primate looks hilereous in that cartoon?

    I know one thing, i can’t get that killer chimp out of my mind. That thing uses houses keys, drinks wine and opened a car door to attack a cop. What the hell? Maybe seeing that killer ape associated with the bail out cracked me up.


  4. I’m with Rutherford. There should be no room for interpretation on this cartoon- even the possibility that some people might perceive it as racist should have made the editor know better and trash the idea.


  5. Woe is me to be agreeing with Rutherford, but at the very least, the cartoon was in very poor taste, wasn’t funny, and was sure to be construed as racist by many.

    I’m about the most insensitive fool out there, disdain political correctness, and when I first took a look, my first thought was well maybe we can put Aunt Jemima in the cartoon next time to grab a few yuck yucks dumb ass.


  6. Actually, after reading the text of that cartoon, it actually refers to a “somebody.” There is only one “somebody” really associated with the stimulus and that’s Obama. Their is no way that cartoon isn’t trying to be racist.


  7. Deep post Chen, cartoons and stuff.


  8. Ehhhhhh, no. All the cartoonist needed to do to remove any ambiguity was to have the chimp wear a tee shirt that said “Member of Congress”.

    Ehhhhhhh, no. The only ‘ambiguity’ would be in the minds of two classes of people: Those looking for something racist so they can vociferously exercise their race-mandated Right to Be Offended, and those who have fallen prey to the overly-sensitive conditioning of a society enslaved to the notions of political correctness. There was no racial connotation or overtone to the cartoon. It was simply an unfunny attempt to fuse a current event to an unrelated political criticism. Its crap like the reactions drawn from those too clases of people that make the AG’s remark’s about cowardice so bitterly ironic, but sadly that concept is also apparently beyond the ability of our current generation of race-pimps to fully comprehend as they confuse the notions of ‘equality’ and ‘deferential preference’.


  9. Consigliere, if I only knew more about you, I’m sure I could come up with a cartoon that would make your blood boil. Most folks condemn political correctness until their line is crossed. Where’s your line?


  10. Tex-

    Poor taste, sure. Insofar as the toon made light of that awful incident with the chimp in CT to make the point, that is.

    rabbit-

    Actually, after reading the text of that cartoon, it actually refers to a “somebody.” There is only one “somebody” really associated with the stimulus and that’s Obama. Their is no way that cartoon isn’t trying to be racist.

    Sure, Obama is “associated” with the bill, but he didn’t sit down and write all 1,000 pages of it. Clearly, the “someone” isn’t anyone specific; the target of the jab was the bill itself. i.e. its on an intelligence level that any monkey could have done. What your assertion also means is that the artist is depicting Obama himself being shot dead by police. Don’t you think that’s just a bit too over-the-top to be remotely plausible?

    Deep post Chen, cartoons and stuff.

    Deep comment rabbit, syntax errors and stuff.

    Look, I think its quite obvious that this artist, nor the editors at the Post, thought through the multiple steps required to see a racist message in the cartoon. The punchline was on a very one-dimensional, adolescent level. Should they have connected the dots? I dunno. Should the careerbuilder.com people have realized that, inevitably, some of the people at the workplace depicted in their commercials were bound to have been black, and they should refrain from using apes to parody poor decision making? Apparently they didn’t. Certainly, not every use of apes in parody is intended to be a racial epithet, right?

    This, my friends, is an embarrassing and transparent exercise in manufactured outrage, political grandstanding, and an attempt to move the ball a bit in a wider culture war. I’m not going to be sucked into it, ’cause I interpreted the cartoon exactly as the Post described. It was a stupid joke. And we should move on, as there’s a myriad of much more significant problems that we face right now.


  11. Where’s your line?

    My ‘line’ is the deeply-rooted sense of entitlement that certain classes of people in this nation think is somehow their birthright. My ‘line’ is watching merit take a backseat to ‘diversity’. ‘Diversity’ in education. ‘Diversity’ in hiring. ‘Diversity’ in civil service jobs which are bankrolled by taxpayers. That being the case, if we are testing to insure a defined standard in ability and competence, then why is it that we are willing to waive those standards and accept something less than the best we can get from an interested pool of candidates in order to assure ‘diversity’ in the final result? Brown was a long time ago. Manditory bussing to achieve desegreation was a long time ago. was a long time ago. Why do we continue to let a generation of race-pimps who invoke the image of Dr. King but reject his insight dictate that we must perpetuate two standards in the name of “justice”, of “remediation”, of “diversity” which in result has lead to an increasing tyranny of medicority in virtually every aspect of our society?


  12. Chen, that actually hurt since I am already insecure about my prose. When I type out the most mundane of posts, it takes an incredible amount of concentration. I almost had a nervous break down when I battled Tax.


  13. Who’s Tax? :lol:

    Brother Rabbit, you have taken the Tax way too seriously. Tax doesn’t think much when he leaves his screed. But he does think Brother Rabbit pretty damn funny – sometimes when he doesn’t even mean to be.


  14. lol…oops…Tax….I’m thinking that’s the last thing you want to be called.


  15. I once called a black dude “boy” on a basketball court when I was in the service. Now, I am 100% sure I wasn’t being racist. Coming from the north and 18 years old, that word wasn’t even in my lexicon as a racist term. Sadly, I had to punch him too after the remark (luckily I was twice his size and left handed)

    So there I was, punching a black guy after calling him boy. It makes me cringe now.

    Cultural ignorance isn’t an excuse. I’m not talking about worrying about being P.C. 24-7. I’m just saying common sense dictates that a person can say or write or draw something so incredibly stupid that it doesn’t matter if its racism in the 1st degree or the 2nd. An apology is in order.

    Oh yeah, don’t ever use the word “you people” when addressing a group of black people. That was another goof up I’ve made before. I’ve seen this done by other people quite a bit. I really don’t think they mean it, but damn if that doesn’t piss the black folk off, even if the crowd is mixed. The guy explaining our benefits did that not to long ago.

    I also once joked around with two black girls (again when in the service) I knew and called them “ghetto girls”. They were all dressed up to go clubbing, tight ass pants, etc. The funny thing is they were both from the south side of Chicago, so it wasn’t even far off the mark. They were also the type that would have no problems with beating the crap out of a grown man. Yet, in an act of complete kindness, they both pulled me aside and explained to me why I probably should not have used that term.

    Even only a couple years ago, when I was in Virginia, I was explaining to an older black guy I worked with how segregated it was back home. I told him how we used to chase black people across Cherry Hill road back into Inkster and how they would chase us if we were caught on the wrong side. I used the word “one” when referring to seeing a black kid. I got the business over that one too. We ended up being drinking buddies, so I guess he got over it.

    Diversity isn’t always pretty like those college campuses make it out to be. But, I swear its almost better to just get out there and piss people off while looking like a grand dragon on the free throw line.


  16. Unfortunately, the great triumvirate of sympathy, preference, and money make it more attractive to cling to the hyphenated Americanism than it is to simply overcome and be an American.


  17. Reading about the racial ass beating I gave that dude back in 1993 made the Rabbit go and fix a little karma. I sponsored a kid from Rwanda through Compassion International.

    http://www.compassion.com/default.htm

    For 38 bucks or something a month he eats and gets to go to school. Basically, he gets into this compound that will alleviate his (or her, in my case his) suffering. The ones who are not sponsored are barred from getting in and cling to the fence, watching their peers go in to eat, learn and play. Once they hit 13 years old its too late. Their out, so I went with a so called “last chance” kid. I will sponsor him until he is 18. They’re going to send me a picture and bio within the next couple weeks. From what I understand, and hope, this charity is legit.

    What are you shlep-rocks waiting for? Go to the site and come back here and brag about your philanthropy like the Dead Rabbit did. I don’t give a damn what you already give to charity. I challenge all you mofos. Go do it.


  18. My only concern about what I’m doing is the evangelism that comes with it. Leave it to me to worry about this AFTER is signed up. I’m sure Tex will lambaste me for this concern. But, I think they try to convert the kids to Christianity. What if they are already Christian, say Catholic? Do they try to wrestle them from the Church? What if they are devout Muslims? I kind of wish it didn’t come with the whole religious thing. It’s still worth it.


  19. AFTER I signed up…


  20. I’m sure Tex will lambaste me for this concern

    Contraire. TAX used to do that very same thing 25+ years ago, and I think that was the name of the organization I sponsored thru. I sponsored a little boy from India for a time. The cost has gone up because if I remember, mine was like $20 bucks a month.

    TAX is not without compassion.

    And I did get his picture, but I never got a letter they promised. They’re legit and have been around for years.


  21. I meant you might lambaste me for my concerns over the evangelism that goes with the charity. You’re a hard core conservative, its statistically a given that you are charitable.


  22. [...] Nation of the Apes – ChenZen’s Chamber [...]


  23. Unfortunately, the great triumvirate of sympathy, preference, and money make it more attractive to cling to the hyphenated Americanism than it is to simply overcome and be an American.

    Consigliere, as long as you apply your disdain for hypenates to Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans and various other non-black-Americans, then I fully agree with you. To be honest, I’m one of those nasty chauvinists who feel “if you like the mother land so much, go back there.” I’m fully on board with us all simply being Americans.


  24. Consigliere, as long as you apply your disdain for hypenates to Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans and various other non-black-Americans, then I fully agree with you. To be honest, I’m one of those nasty chauvinists who feel “if you like the mother land so much, go back there.” I’m fully on board with us all simply being Americans.

    Rutherford, I do, with one caveat. The Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, and various other non-black-Americans had the hyphen as a shared cultural heritage, but not as an identity that entitled them to something that they could not achieve without someone lowering the bar for them. It was about being American in what they could achieve, not hyphenated-American in what they could get.

    I’ve had occaision to observe the entitlement attitude work its destruction over time. I grew up in the suburbs of Flint. I went to the University of Michigan’s Flint campus for 3 1/2 years. I witnessed the dual standard daily and the disservice that it did to those who “benefitted” from it, but the biggest eyeopener for me on just how entrenched the attitude of entitlement was? Sitting in my Constitutional Law II class at a Michigan law school,and reading the Bakke case. The class wastaught by a black professor, who was at the time preparing an Amicus brief in the University of Michigan admissions case.

    I had the temerity to read the footnotes in the case and I took note of the fact that the UC Med School class in the year in question in the case had a large percentage of asians in it, and the rest appeared to be caucasian with the exception of the few ‘set asides’ all of whom scored significantly lower than Bakke on the admissions tests, and yet were chosen for admission over him.

    I asked my learned professor why more than 20 years after Brown vs. Board of Education it was necessary to have a certain amount of seats set aside for persons of a certain skin color and that these seats were held despite the fact other students with higher scores were turned away.

    It should go without saying that I genuinely annoyed him by asking the question. After spending 3 minutes prevaricating with generalities on injustice and ‘debts’, he finally told me that it was a means of “remdiation”, that since back students had so long been denied admission based on the color of their skin, this was a proper way to make up for the previous loss of opportunity. I countered that I was all for remdiation, but I asked him if he thought graduate school was the place to put that in action. I pointed out that if remediation was the goal, then maybe undergrad would be the place to make up any gaps or inequities, and that way everyone in the grad school would be closer in abilites, and then one group wouldn’t be slowing the rest of the students down. “Besides,” I asked, “do you want to go to see the doctor who only made it into medical school not because of his or her exceptional abilities and academic prowess, but because the color of their skin made it possible for them to get in when their scores didn’t?”

    I was persona non grata for the rest of the semester, but since then, I have come to realize that the dual standard helps to keep various groups separate from the whole. It damages the integrity of society and lowers the standards we are willing to impose on our various institutions. When the trend shifted from the idea of a melting pot to the concept of the vertical mosiac, we all lost.


  25. you might be the smartest person from Flint I ever met…..


  26. you might be the smartest person from Flint I ever met…
    DR, is that damning by faint praise? ;-)

    Consigliere, the day that you cannot flag down a taxi on a New York City street because of your skin color is the day when I might be more convinced by your “blacks have been harmed by affirmative action” argument. Your arguments are theoretically sound but I believe they ignore the reality of race relations in this country, and in particular the history of race relations in this country.


  27. “R”,

    You ignore reality concerning the taxi drivers. Forget history for a minute – let’s talk about now.

    Although blacks comprise only 12 percent of the population, “According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, blacks commit 54 percent of murders, 42 percent of forcible rapes, 59 percent of robberies and 38 percent of aggravated assaults.

    In the case of interracial violent crime, blacks are 50 times more likely to commit violent crimes against whites than whites against blacks.” ~ Economist and columnist Walter Williams

    Is it any wonder taxi drivers would fear someone who happened to black more than most?


  28. you might be the smartest person from Flint I ever met…
    DR, is that damning by faint praise?

    I’ll go with “damning by faint praise” for $500 Rutherford. Its ok though. I now live as far away as I can in the Continental US, so I get to observe the continuing implosion from afar.

    Seriously though, you talk about taxi drivers. I’m talking about the effect of knowing that you are not expected to achieve and earn like others who do not have your skin color. Put another way, “Its ok, you don’t have to score as high on everyone else on the admissions exam. You’re black.” What is the long term effect of that kind of thinking on that particular group in society? Either an entitlement mindset rooted in a “the world owes me” outlook, or a destructive self-loathing rooted in the “the world thinks I can’t do it because I’m black”. Neither fosters a larger assimilation into society as a whole,but the practice promotes the advancement of the unqualified, which damages race-relations, and in the long run, does the race a diservice as the demographics of the nation change, and new ethnic and racial majorities might not be as easily guilted into maintaining separate and lower standards.

    As for the history of race relations. The Civil War absolved America of the sin of slavery. And after more than 40 years of lower standards and an emphasis on diversity rather than merit pays the bill for the history of race relations after the Civil War. We are now at a point where the people who did not commit the offences are now paying the people who did not suffer as a result of them. I think it is time for them to find a different cause for their failure to make the most of the opportunity that they have been given.


  29. query…..What’s peoples take on Chris Mathews “outsourcing” comment aimed at Jindal ?


  30. Alfie,
    I think Matthews hit it right on the mark. Congressional Republicans have zero credibility right now. They have to turn to the Governors to speak for them.

    Now one has to ask … why Jindal? Pawlenty, Crist or even Scwhartzenegger would have been better choices. Jindal is too far right to convince anybody of anything … he’s so far right that he says government is incompetent (i.e. Katrina) so don’t depend on them to help on anything.

    What a display!

    P.S. Of course, if we didn’t already know Matthews’ leanings we found out when he muttered something like “oh God” as Jindal came on screen and Chris didn’t know he was still on mike.


  31. The Civil War absolved America of the sin of slavery.

    Consig (hope you don’t mind the nickname but I’m too damn lazy to keep typing the whole thing), please tell me what country you’ve been living in.

    Never heard of Jim Crow? Never heard of the KKK? Never heard of lynchings going on as recent as the 1950’s? You cannot be serious!


  32. Sorry guys …. for some reason my blockquote tags are not working. Maybe I’m getting sloppy and not putting the closing tag in correctly. It’s happened twice now. :-(


  33. Well as I added at another thread

    I’ll buy it was more pure stupidity than racism but given Bidens past comment about 7-11’s in De. and the Indian community I’m thinking the D’s shouldn’t browbeat the Right on racism too much.

    I’m just wondering who on which side of the aisle has to be concerned with word choices ? Is it only people on the right ? Mathews is smart enough and smug enough to know the potential of the word choice. Should word choices be so overly policed ? I tried to put forth that at Wickles place and messed it up making look like I was calling for something else oh boy.
    I have to ask you R and someone else at another thread….How is Jindal NOT a credible critic of the Katrina response and post storm quagmire ?


  34. ** USER ERROR **

    You’re slipping Rutherford! :wink:


  35. The Civil War absolved America of the sin of slavery.

    Consig (hope you don’t mind the nickname but I’m too damn lazy to keep typing the whole thing), please tell me what country you’ve been living in.

    Never heard of Jim Crow? Never heard of the KKK? Never heard of lynchings going on as recent as the 1950’s? You cannot be serious!

    Rutherford:
    1. You can use ‘Consig’. On other blogs I frequent, it is usually shortened to “BiW”. Whatever you’re comfortable with.

    2. I had to go back and re-read my last post. I wonder if you read the last paragraph very carefully, but no matter. I will explain it further:

    The Civil War ended the practice of slavery in this nation at the cost of too many American lives. The blood debt for slavery was paid. Period. End of story.

    For a period during the Resconstruction, blacks not only lived as free men, some were even elected to public office of various stripes. Did they face discrimination later? Absolutely. Was discrimination a fact of American life unique only to blacks? Absolutely not. Proof? Google the origins of the dreaded “N” word that only the victim class can utter without being subject to public pilory. The point is that the Civil War was the bright line ending slavery as a de jure institution in this country.

    Have I heard of Jim Crow? My legal education would have been remiss if I had not. Have I heard of the KKK? See the portion above regarding Flint. The history of some nearby cities, such as Corunna and Howell both carry that stain in history. I am also familiar with the Belle Isle race riots in Detroit, which demonstrated an internal threat nearly as great as the external ones we were at war with. But as I said, the various ‘remediations’ imposed upon society as reaction to the civil rights movement in the 50s and the 60s have been in place for nearly 50 years now, and if you believe that the black community still does not enjoy all the blessings of liberty bestowed upon this nation and its people, then perhaps…just perhaps it is time for the black community itself to should some of the responsibility and yes, blame for the current state of race relations in this country. Tex’s citation above is a good topic with which to explore this supposition. The welfare system and its perverse incentives for having children out of wedlock might also be examined as a modern-day form of slavery (keep families divided, broke, and dependent).


  36. Rutherford:
    Oh, and it might interest you to know that for a time in the early 20th century, the KKK in Indiana was purported to have black members, as it was more concerned with discrimination against catholics than it was with hating on blacks.


  37. I thought it was Jindal’s predecessor (a Democrat) Governor Sniffles or whatever her name was, that demanded billions in aid for LA after Katrina.


  38. BiW I’m glad you said “purported” cos blacks in the KKK sounds pretty preposterous. But then truth often is stranger than fiction. Example: Jews for Jesus.


  39. I’ve done some Dead Rabbit wiki (just kidding, I’ve done more then that) research on blacks in the Klan and it’s absolutely a moronic thing to bring up.

    It turns out that once upon a time in some BFE Indiana town during a year of rabid anti-Catholicism, a few black dudes with presumed IQ’s under 100 were recruited to be in some Klan auxiliary group. They were not allowed to where the famous white robes amongst a bunch of other restrictions. Hardly proof of the following reality I think BiW is trying to create: That plain and simple racism has been and still is more of a myth and, if anything, simply an offshoot of a much more convoluted and complicated dynamic of conflict within American society. I say b.s.

    BiW fails to understand how easy America got off when it comes to institutionalized racism.

    Lets throw a dart at a map. Look at that! It hit Spain. Holy crap, look at what the Basque separatists do when they are pissed off!

    I find it amazing and a testament to Christianity that, as whole, America was blessed with what was ultimately a mass non-violent response from people who were clearly terrorized by there own countrymen. Sure there were some riots. Hell, my Grand pappy fought blacks in the Detroit riot to protect our family bar and party store he owned. But, as a whole, it is a fricking miracle that we don’t suffer from black terrorist organizations.

    Now, after saying all of that, African American culture is fucked up as all hell. And affirmative action should make people like Rutherford nauseous.

    But, when put in historical perspective and compared to other places, the black-white divide is benign compared to anywhere else simular oppression has occurred.

    One of the old black dudes I worked with in Va once took me for a drive and showed me all the places he wasn’t allowed to go as a teenager. It was an eye opener for Dead Rabbit.


  40. wear


  41. Thanks for the research, rabbit. I read that book when I was in undergrad, and it was quite sometime ago, and I do recall that account being different then the one you just relayed.

    I’m not trying to ‘create’ any ‘reality’ other than the one that is. What I was doing was clarifying that there is a difference between the practice of slavery and the practice of racism, when I perceive that others in this conversation do not appear to recognize any distinction between the two. Nothing I said denies the existence of racism in our history, but I recognize that the distinction between slavery and racism that is very real, and I still maintain that the measures instituted to correct the effects of racism, are and have been, by their very nature, racist, and that any lack of progress that is used to justify their continuation is perhaps dishonest and mis-identifies the real cause and effect of the current state of affairs, which has as much to do with certain black ‘leaders’ wanting to maintain their power base, as it does by any institutional or deep seated racism, even if it means keeping themselves the arbiters of what it does and does not mean to really be black. As a result, it is easy and expected to to vilify blacks who have achieved and attained social and political position for themselves if they are of the wrong political stripe or simply by being who they are, they deomstrate that achievement without subscribing to the worldviews of these self-appointed ‘leaders’. That’s how we got some of the ugliest talk orginating in the black community itself about figures like Dr. Rice or Justice Thomas being sellouts or ‘Uncle Toms’. It irritates me because the measures that are in place to address these injustices are injustices that are transmuted to an acceptable state of being simply because it supposedly corrects prior injustices. Put another way, we are expected to not only accept, but also to support the notion that two wrongs really do make a right.

    On a slightly different tangent:

    http://www.politicalshopping.com/lipragthofin.html

    Is this racist? I see a monkey and it is unquestionably in a President’s Likeness. Where is the outrage over this? Better yet, after 8 years of the unceasing drumbeat of such witticisms like “ChimpyMcBushHitler” and similar epithets, how is it that the black community still feels that any other depiction of an ape or monkey is something that they need to be offended about? How is it not disingenuous?


  42. Dead Rabbit,
    It is late and I should be in bed but DAMN am I glad I stayed up late enough to read your post. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Seriously.

    The Holder/New York Post thing has made me do some soul searching capped off by watching an interview with John McWhorter tonight on Bill Moyers Journal. I will probably be posting on this in the very near future, but bottom line, you are right on two points. It is amazing that black folk haven’t torn this entire mofo up considering the way we’ve been treated AND we have a lot of crap to straighten out in our own house.

    With that, I’m off to bed. (I’ll read BiW’s response tomorrow when I’m not so blurry eyed.)


  43. BiW, I agree with your conclusion. I just think you underestimate the mammoth cultural footprint that Jim Crow left on America. Make no mistake about it, black culture is diseased and affirmative action is racist and ultimately self defeating.

    But, we’re not even one generation removed from government sponsored institutionalized racism.

    Thought experiment:

    You are obviously uber-educated. I’m sure you’re well versed in world history, particularity ethnic conflict. Lets pretend that God came to you with a sort of national plea bargain of sorts. It is the year 1930, yet you are some how completely aware of world history up to 2008. Unfortunately, God has made it that you are utterly ignorant of American social history.

    God said the following: “BiW, I offer you a deal”: The upshot of segregation in America will be the following:

    1. Blacks will have major problems culturally and economically.
    2. To end sanctioned racism, the mainstream black response will be non-violent.
    3. Radical fringe groups will, after 1975, pretty much amount to only being guests on a show called Jerry Springer.
    4. Within only one generation since the end of segregation the President of the United States will be himself, black. (At least according to segregation laws)
    5. In the mean time, black leadership will be high jacked by some hucksters who play up black problems for personal gain.

    That’s it! Or take your chances with option B. The unknown crystal ball.

    Which would you take?


  44. As for Chimp-Bush:

    Come on dude, you’re a grad student for God’s sake. Do they actually hook you professor types up to some kind of machine that sucks the common sense out your Grey matter?

    You’re from Flint aren’t you? Drive around inner city Flint and yell Apes! out the window. Now go do it to Fenton. Does the response differ? Don’t worry, you can keep your lap top at home. No notes will be needed.


  45. LOL … DR my thoughts exactly! BiW, to say that Bush portrayed as a simian should invoke the same response as Obama thus portrayed ignores the history of black caricatures in this country. Are you saying it’s “not nice” to portray Bush as a monkey? Sure, I can agree with that. Are you saying it creates the same visceral reaction? No I can’t sign up for that.

    BiW, I can go as far as to say your arguments are intellectually sound. Race based policy is by definition racist. I agree. Where I differ with you is on what the correct policy should be. I don’t see your alternative which gives all people of all stripes optimal opportunity for success.

    When you say the civil war absolved us of the sin of slavery, you misidentify the sin. Slavery was wrong because it was racist and dehumanizing. Abolishing the institution did not eliminate the underlying effects. If the reconstruction South had said, “wow, how could we have done this slavery thing so long? We feel so bad. From now on, we’re going to treat everyone with dignity” then your absolution idea would make sense. It didn’t happen that way.

    The problem I have with the Bakke example is why do white folks get upset when a less qualified black man gets the enrollment/job/etc.? Are you telling me that Bakke was the dumbest white guy to apply to that school and only dumber black guys got in before him? Why wasn’t Bakke wondering how dumber white guys managed to get in instead of him? To me, this is just the inverse of the old “black man blaming white guy for his problems.” If Bakke had bothered to research why some dumber white guys got in before him, he might have found a different form of affirmative action going on, like Daddy was a major contributor to the institution.

    The bottom line is how do we improve the lot of the unfortunate, regardless of race? Poverty is the leading cause of our social ills, not skin color. How blacks improve their lot is a question I am really struggling with right now, a struggle made more complex by watching an interview between Bill Moyers and a black social conservative, John McWhorter. As I said in an earlier comment, once I sort out my feelings, I’ll write about it on my blog.


  46. But, we’re not even one generation removed from government sponsored institutionalized racism.

    Rabbit, I’m going to ask you to expand on that remark, because I am not sure exactly what you are referring to, and I wouldn’t want to respond to the wrong thing. As for you Flint/Fenton remark, while somewhat witty, it doesn’t really address my original question. (The answer to yours, BTW, is that people in ‘Fent-in’ won’t get it, and depending on when you try it in Flint, there might not be anyone around to hear you.) My point is this: The cartoon is of a chimp with no other identification, being shot by a cop accompanied by another cop who refers to a bill written by Congress, and it is supposed to be obvious that it is a racial attack on the President, but portray another President as a chimp in a fashion that leaves no doubt of the artist’s intent, and the outrage is absent. You imply that I am insensiate to the events of the past and how that justifies the outrage today. I suggest that maybe the obvious to the blind double standard does not deserve the deference that it has been accorded. I understand that it is a provocative thought, and if followed through, it might require less entitlement to sensitivity, and as long as the sensitivity leads to other entitlements, there is no real motivation to do so, but I think I’ll keep living for the day that it happens.

    As for your thought experiment, I reject it because I can see through your prior comments what you imply for Option B, and I reject the conclusion. The remark about “mass non-violent response” carries with it a heavy implication. If you think that it would have been successful for a minute, I propose my own thought experiment. America is expanding westward in the aftermath of the Civil War. The south, still smarting from the occupation in the Reconstruction period, adopts a very racist stand after the withdrawal of Federal Troops from their states. The blacks, fed up with the events they are daily faced with, undertake a bloody campaign of revenge, looting, burning, killing and raping. Chaos reigns. Do you think that they will ultimately prevail? Do you think that they will even remain in any significant numbers when that conflict ends? If you answered “yes.” to either of those questions, then you need to ask the Indians how that worked out for them. I’m not saying that I believe it was right. I’m simply pointing out that I have trouble believing that your implied scenario is in any way a realistic result.


  47. Rutherford: First of all, thank you for bringing John McWhorter to my attention. If the PBS interview was anything like these two pieces he wrote for the New Republic, I am shocked that it aired…at least on PBS.

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=ce688a73-1019-485c-886f-7bbbda916e11

    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/mcwhorter/default.aspx

    When you say the civil war absolved us of the sin of slavery, you misidentify the sin. Slavery was wrong because it was racist and dehumanizing. Abolishing the institution did not eliminate the underlying effects. If the reconstruction South had said, “wow, how could we have done this slavery thing so long? We feel so bad. From now on, we’re going to treat everyone with dignity” then your absolution idea would make sense. It didn’t happen that way.

    I think you are starting with the wrong premise, that being that slavery was wrong because it was racist and dehumanizing. Slavery was wrong, because it was dehumanising and it offended the very notions that formed this nation. There wasn’t a battle over whether or not to address slavery in the original drafting of the Constitution because it was racist. Jefferson didn’t want to address the practice head on because it was racist. For the slave owners, it was an economic question. For the free north, it was that the idea that one man could own another offended the very notion of freedom and liberty and the providence of God that granted it to our people (And by our people, I mean all of us). Racism might have been an outgrowth of slavery, but it wasn’t the reason for it. If you doubt it, look up the history of indentured servitude in the colonies. It makes for some interesting reading. As for Jim Crow and institutionalized racism, that was as much a reaction to the occupation and the tyranny of the Reconstruction on the South as it might have been about slavery. I maintain that Civil War ended slavery, and the hundreds of thousands dead paid the blood price for that injustice. It is a bright line, and the Reconstruction is the clear division between the two. As for my “absolution idea”, I am one of those people who grew up watching the reruns of the Original Star Trek, and absorbing what I saw on the screen…the first interracial kiss on television, a command staff that included blacks and asians, as well as different ethinicites. Themes adressing the futility and stupidity of race conflict, and other interesting social topics. What of it, you ask? It was exposure to these ideas that make reactions like the cartoon outrage all the more offensive. I think Mr. McWhorter nailed it one when he said:

    One might ask them: To what extent will this conversation entail whites saying that they are tired of being called racists and being policed for ever more abstract shades of racist bias, with blacks acknowledging this and resolving to do it as little as possible?

    When there is an almost constant cycle of outrage, and when one party is under constant pressure to keep giving something up to make up for a wrong that they did not commit, and the sensitivity and following outrage make any really “honest” discussion impossible, nobody gains anything.

    As for Bakke, yes Bakke was the lowest scoring ‘white guy’ (he also scored lower than several asians admitted into the class), but he scored higher than black students who were given preference in admissions. Now, is the public served by admitting the black students who scored lower over other students who scored higher, but were not black? Do you want the doctor who scored at the bottom of his class, but who is now a doctor because he is black, or do you want the doctor who met the school’s academic standards? Do you want the person who scored the highest in the civil service exams working in public sector jobs, or do you want people who scored much, much lower, but got the job because of their skin color? Is the public served by that? Do you think it really builds esteem or pride in the public regardless of the skin color of the persons considering it?

    How do we improve the lot of the unfortunate?
    *sighs*
    This is probably going to offend everyone else here, but here it goes:
    1. The “unfortunate”, regardless of color, have always been with us. I don’t possess the wisdom of Solomon, so I cannot give you the answer. I do know what the answer is not. It is not simply having the government give them things. There is a maxim in my profession: “You do not value what you do not pay for.” It is true.
    2. I have had considerable contact with the “unfortunate” in my life. I am always amazed at how many are in their predicaments because they choose to be. I do not mean that they woke up one morning and decided that they wanted to be homeless, or drunks, or poor. What I do mean, it that they do not want to take any step to change their condition. These are conditions that span all races and ethinicities, BTW. Blacks do not have any sort of lock on this, either, lest I be misunderstood.

    I believe that we have had a genuine and honest discussion on race in this comment thread. I thank you for remaining polite and keeping the discussion on point. It is refreshing, and I would enjoy other such conversations. I thank our host as well. I’ll keep checking back to see if there is more here, and I would enjoy reading your post on your thoughts after you have had time to let the coalesce, Rutherford. Would you email me a link at Blackiswhite1@yahoo.com when you post it?


  48. In no way am I implying Option B would have been ultimately successful for blacks. Just horrible. And your right, America could have responded to our hypothetical situation with straight up ethnic cleansing. Don’t you think that the very act of some sort of organized genocide (I think that’s what your implying) would have transformed the face of our nation? God knows the slippery slope that could have caused.

    Your Indian angle is interesting though. I have to admit, I’m not well read here, other then what I remember from high school, so hopefully I don’t come off as douche bag. But here is goes anywys:

    1. Apples and oranges. Indians were often times not even seen has a part of American society. They were dealt with as actual enemies or allies. As we expanded West, they were conquered. End of story. They were then isolated on reservations. The dynamic has always been different with blacks. They were always considered American, as odd as that may sound. That’s why it enraged Floridan slave owners so much when blacks took off and joined with the Seminoles.

    2. Disease/alcohol played such a factor in weakening the Indian that its hard to predict what a response could have been sans small pox.

    3. I would actually argue that compared to blacks, it was easier for Indians that desired to assimilate. How many times have you yawned as some tool rod with red hair and freckles in a bar brags about his 25% of Indian blood.

    4. Jim Crow was, as a whole, actually more structurally oppressive then policies with the Indians. In the 1930s, couldn’t an Indian leave the reservation and theoretically move anywhere he wanted? Trust me, I know how shallow i’m being here. But, a least a small case in point would be that Indinas were allowed to fight in WW2, blacks weren’t.

    5. Alcohol. Genetically, Indians are literally missing enzymes to handle the stuff. This may be a huge stretch, but I think the Indian relationship with the sauce is unique compared to any people on planet earth. I argue that the effects of alcohol on the Indian was so utterly mammoth that it often times rendered entire communities docile.

    Considering the hypothetical element to our debate here, I can’t help but think about what my Dad would say to both of us, “If my uncle had tits he’d be my aunt.”

    As for my Fenton-Flint challenge, I don’t know what else to say. I wasn’t trying to be witty. Use primate slurs with black people and they will want to kill you. Damn, BiW, its like you have Asperger’s Syndrome.

    Do you have a girlfriend/wife? Call her a cunt the next time you have an argument and then call one of your male study buddies one when you guys are trying on bow ties.

    Institutionalized racism stopped in 1965 after Jim Crow was repealed. That’s what i mean. It was government policy in the south. People have a chip on their shoulder still because they lived it. Do they need to get over it? I argue they have no other choice. But you seem mystified why the chip exists.

    i have a feeling there is a ton of typos in this.


  49. my god, that is just ridiculously long. I’m actually embarrassed.


  50. Rabbit, the Indian angle admittedly does have numerous potential twists and turns.

    You seem to take it on faith that I am ‘mystified’ over slurs. I am not. I do refrain from using them because animosity is generally the only thing that will follow. I do not lead with disrespect toward anyone, but I do believe in the Static Rule…a holdover from growing up in the Flint Area. (The Static Rule: You don’t start none, there won’t be none.) This means that I can and might be offensive when people turn animosity in my direction.

    I know what you were trying to say with the Fenton-Flint challenge. I think it would make more sense as a Grand Blanc-Flint challenge, but that is not really germane to the conversation at this point.

    The Aspberger’s remark hit a little close to home. My oldest son has it, and we have been working a lot with him to get him clued into the things he doesn’t pick up on. Think about where I grew up. If I want to hit one of those hot buttons, I am perfectly capable of doing so. What I am saying is that sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, and if blacks want to give the bigotted and racist the power to get them fired up, then there is little you or I can do to disuade them. However, they should keep two things in mind: Being outraged that things that arguably do not merit outrage do little to advance your credibility or standing in society. Do it long enough, you make yourself a characiture. Second, angry people rarely make good choices. So what does that say when you are always angry about some perceived slight?

    Finally, I am not a student any longer, Rabbit. That ended for the last time in 2005.


  51. Dude, I feel bad about my Asperger remark, now. I just meant taking things literally without picking up obvious social cues…i hope i didn’t offend.


  52. Rabbit, its ok. I couldn’t do what I do if i didn’t have a thick skin. I was just pointing it out to show that I do understand the reference better than you think. It takes considerably more to offend me. ;-)


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