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Interpretation, Plausible Denial and racially loaded imagery (NYPost cartoon)

1356711

Posts

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    I'm really curious as to what degree someone has to go to now before we consider it racism. I mean, we're talking about a guy who equates Arab-American schoolchildren with terrorists.

    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?

    The guy's clearly racist. It's just not clear as to whether or not he's racist against black people. Arabs, oh yeah. Pathetically so.

    moniker on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Are you guys seriously saying that depicting a monkey as the author of the stimulus bill, coincidentally a bill engineered by a black politician, is not a racist statement?

    Here is a test:

    Imagine you open your paper and see a cartoon equating George Bush to a monkey. Do you:

    A) Interpret it as "George W. Bush = stupid", or
    B) Wonder why they're claiming George Bush is a monkey, I mean the guy doesn't look black at all.


    If B), turn to page #omg u r dum

    If A), then you admit that the image of a monkey can mean things other than a racial slur towards a black man. Further, unless you are completely unhinged, you recognize that it is possible that someone could be using the image of a monkey to say that whoever wrote that damned bill is a danged idjit.


    Many of us here? We're A) folks.

    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    PotatoNinja on
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  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    I'm really curious as to what degree someone has to go to now before we consider it racism. I mean, we're talking about a guy who equates Arab-American schoolchildren with terrorists.

    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?
    Well, people were actually debating whether that exact image in RE5 was racist, so...

    I don't know if this particular cartoon was meant to be racially suggestive or not. There is a degree of deniability there the example you provided probably wouldn't have, but I have a hard time giving the dude the benefit of the doubt considering what an utter asshole/dittohead he seems to be, given his other work.

    Duffel on
  • LuqLuq Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Are you guys seriously saying that depicting a monkey as the author of the stimulus bill, coincidentally a bill engineered by a black politician, is not a racist statement?
    Here is a test:

    Imagine you open your paper and see a cartoon equating George Bush to a monkey. Do you:

    A) Interpret it as "George W. Bush = stupid", or
    B) Wonder why they're claiming George Bush is a monkey, I mean the guy doesn't look black at all.


    If B), turn to page #omg u r dum

    If A), then you admit that the image of a monkey can mean things other than a racial slur towards a black man. Further, unless you are completely unhinged, you recognize that it is possible that someone could be using the image of a monkey to say that whoever wrote that damned bill is a danged idjit.


    Many of us here? We're A) folks.
    I'm really curious as to what degree someone has to go to now before we consider it racism. I mean, we're talking about a guy who equates Arab-American schoolchildren with terrorists.

    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?

    Don't be silly. Looking at all the other comics, yes the guy is obviously prejudiced against arabs and muslims. This comic contains neither group.

    Luq on
    FFRK:jWwH RW:Onion Knight's Sage USB
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?

    The Judge Roberts definition of racism:

    Does the individual explicitly state "I hate black people?"

    If no, individual is not racist.

    If yes, continue.

    Is it possible the individual was joking? Ask them if they were joking.

    If they were joking, individual is not racist.

    If yes, individual may be racist, further investigation potentially necessary.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Now this is racist.

    Mexican-Stamp-734636.jpg

    moniker on
  • LuqLuq Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    I think that's what we're saying here. The guy is an idiot who is accidentally using imagery that can have racial overtones. I would say the monkey=idiot meaning is much more common than the monkey=black meaning however.

    Luq on
    FFRK:jWwH RW:Onion Knight's Sage USB
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    Now this is racist.

    Mexican-Stamp-734636.jpg
    Tell me that's from like 1940 or something.



    ...it's not, is it?

    Duffel on
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Now this is racist.

    Mexican-Stamp-734636.jpg
    Tell me that's from like 1940 or something.



    ...it's not, is it?

    2005

    moniker on
  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Luq wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Are you guys seriously saying that depicting a monkey as the author of the stimulus bill, coincidentally a bill engineered by a black politician, is not a racist statement?
    Here is a test:

    Imagine you open your paper and see a cartoon equating George Bush to a monkey. Do you:

    A) Interpret it as "George W. Bush = stupid", or
    B) Wonder why they're claiming George Bush is a monkey, I mean the guy doesn't look black at all.


    If B), turn to page #omg u r dum

    If A), then you admit that the image of a monkey can mean things other than a racial slur towards a black man. Further, unless you are completely unhinged, you recognize that it is possible that someone could be using the image of a monkey to say that whoever wrote that damned bill is a danged idjit.


    Many of us here? We're A) folks.
    I'm really curious as to what degree someone has to go to now before we consider it racism. I mean, we're talking about a guy who equates Arab-American schoolchildren with terrorists.

    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?

    Don't be silly. Looking at all the other comics, yes the guy is obviously prejudiced against arabs and muslims. This comic contains neither group.

    Is that a joke? Racists are racist to varying degrees against every race/religion except their own....

    Dman on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Luq wrote: »
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    I think that's what we're saying here. The guy is an idiot who is accidentally using imagery that can have racial overtones. I would say the monkey=idiot meaning is much more common than the monkey=black meaning however.

    I'm not in disagreement, but it's a moot point. There's no way to prove the author's motives one way or another, and they're not relevant as he's a moronic douchebag in both scenarios.

    PotatoNinja on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    But considering that (despite the earlier cartoon provided as evidence) it's still not entirely clear that he's even referring to Obama, and considering that referring to people as chimps/monkeys (or referring to something as "done by monkeys") has a clear and non-racist precedent, then maybe it's best that we let this one slide.

    Because seriously, we're going to run into a credibility problem pretty quickly otherwise. Seein' 'cism 'round every corner and shit.

    mcdermott on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    I'm really curious as to what degree someone has to go to now before we consider it racism. I mean, we're talking about a guy who equates Arab-American schoolchildren with terrorists.

    I guess if the drawing had been of a big-lipped guy throwing a spear at the cops, that would have been okay, too, because if someone had used the same drawing referencing George W. Bush it wouldn't have been racist?
    Well, people were actually debating whether that exact image in RE5 was racist, so...

    I don't know if this particular cartoon was meant to be racially suggestive or not. There is a degree of deniability there the example you provided probably wouldn't have, but I have a hard time giving the dude the benefit of the doubt considering what an utter asshole/dittohead he seems to be, given his other work.
    Yeah, the RE5 debate is stupid, too.

    I mean, really, have you ever seen Street Fighter? Of course it's racist.

    Thanatos on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2009
    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    See, that is what I'm trying to get at.

    Similarly, "greasemonkey" is a safe term referring to a mechanic. What if it's a black mechanic? Necessarily racist? No. Possibly insensitive and stupid? Sure.

    My goal is that somewhere down the road we have progressed as a society to the point where we can tell people of any race, any color, any creed, that they are dumb fucking monkeys with stupid monkey ideas.

    ElJeffe on
    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

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  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Just to throw in my 2 cents (poll thread?) my first thought on it was racism. Now, I hadn't heard of the monkey news story, which just made it very strange, but even after hearing a bit of it, my second thought is still racism. My third thought is he's saying congress is dumb, and then my fourth thought goes back to him being a racist.

    And then I see the one of him calling school kids terrorists because they're Muslim/Arab, and it pretty much confirms the racism interpretation for me. I wouldn't be surprised if he figured "I'll call Obama a monkey and shoot him, and if anyone asks I'll just say it's Congress or some shit".

    Scooter on
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    My goal is that somewhere down the road we have progressed as a society to the point where we can tell people of any race, any color, any creed, that they are dumb fucking monkeys with stupid monkey ideas.

    Jeffe has a dream.

    moniker on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    But considering that (despite the earlier cartoon provided as evidence) it's still not entirely clear that he's even referring to Obama, and considering that referring to people as chimps/monkeys (or referring to something as "done by monkeys") has a clear and non-racist precedent, then maybe it's best that we let this one slide.

    Because seriously, we're going to run into a credibility problem pretty quickly otherwise. Seein' 'cism 'round every corner and shit.

    Black president = monkey = racist isn't the same as seeing racism around every corner.

    Its possible the author meant something different, but he should have known and understood the imagery he was using, it isn't an obscure racist insult nor is the use of it central in any way to the quality of the work.

    How far should we "let ones slide" for fear of "running into the 'cism?" If he makes a cartoon of Obama eating fried chicken screaming "WHERE DA WHITE WOMEN AT?" is that racist? What if the author doesn't think so? Since this cartoon shouldn't count, what should? You insinuate that we must allow a certain amount of racism to go unanswered in fear that we might be dubbed as, what, sensitive? Politically correct? How much racism should we allow, then, where do you draw the line?

    Finally, do you truly believe that if we "let this one slide" we'll somehow gain any credibility with the crowd that will shout "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!" the moment race is mentioned? How far must we adjust our dialogue and how dim must we make our senses to avoid offending people who are, apparently, offended by being upset, and in a non-ironic way to boot.

    PotatoNinja on
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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    But considering that (despite the earlier cartoon provided as evidence) it's still not entirely clear that he's even referring to Obama, and considering that referring to people as chimps/monkeys (or referring to something as "done by monkeys") has a clear and non-racist precedent, then maybe it's best that we let this one slide.

    Because seriously, we're going to run into a credibility problem pretty quickly otherwise. Seein' 'cism 'round every corner and shit.

    And this is the larger problem. If we concede that, at the least, calling a white guy a monkey is not racist, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to figure out how close a black person can be to the monkey-label before we wind up in 'cism-land. If someone calls congress a bunch of monkeys due to a bill that was written partially by a black man, is that racist? What if some members of congress are black? What if none of the people related to the story are black, but you call the group of white folks monkeys within earshot of a black man - what then?

    The situation gets real stupid real fast. And it gets stupider when you instinctively err on the side of people being racist for every fool thing they say.

    ElJeffe on
    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Yeah, the RE5 debate is stupid, too.

    I mean, really, have you ever seen Street Fighter? Of course it's racist.
    I wasn't disagreeing with you about the RE5 thing. I was amazed some of those scenes got past the censors (and if today's post is true then it actually gets even worse). But, then again, we're talking about Japan here. I don't think anybody expects them to be racially progressive.

    Duffel on
  • OrganichuOrganichu jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    It makes no sense to equate "big lips and throwing spears" with monkeys. A monkey has become a universal appellation for an idiot. Maybe 1 out of 1,000 times would someone use a spear thrower as anything but racist. "Monkey" is far, far, far more diffuse in its usage.

    Organichu on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    And this is the larger problem. If we concede that, at the least, calling a white guy a monkey is not racist, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to figure out how close a black person can be to the monkey-label before we wind up in 'cism-land. If someone calls congress a bunch of monkeys due to a bill that was written partially by a black man, is that racist? What if some members of congress are black? What if none of the people related to the story are black, but you call the group of white folks monkeys within earshot of a black man - what then?

    The situation gets real stupid real fast. And it gets stupider when you instinctively err on the side of people being racist for every fool thing they say.

    It's also a matter of Obama being (arguably) the most powerful person on the fucking planet. Which, to me, means some racist shit has to be a lot more overtly and undeniably (or admittedly, of course) racist before I can really bring myself to express much outrage...same way we're not supposed to care about racism against whites.

    Even if it's likely that it was a jab at Obama's blackness (it is), given plausible deniability I'm more than willing to let it slide because seriously, oh well. So he said something racist about a guy who probably, with the stroke of a pen, could legally make him disappear. Oh...snap?

    The most earth-shattering result that could come of this is that we come to the realization that the cartoonist is a racist bastard. Well duh. We already knew that from his former works.

    mcdermott on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    My goal is that somewhere down the road we have progressed as a society to the point where we can tell people of any race, any color, any creed, that they are dumb fucking monkeys with stupid monkey ideas.

    Jeffe has a dream.

    I have a dream this afternoon that being able to call dumb folks "monkeys" will become a reality in this day.

    And with this insult I will go out and carve a tunnel of ridicule and mockery. With this insult, I will go out with you and tell folks just how damned stupid they really are. With this insult, we will be able to achieve this new day when all of God's Special ones, black idiots and white idiots, dumb fucking Protestants and dipshit Jews, will be able to cup their hands and shout to the morons bringing 15 items into the 10 Item Or Less aisle:

    You're a monkey.

    You're a monkey.

    Goddammit, man, you are one dumb fucking monkey.

    ElJeffe on
    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    My goal is that somewhere down the road we have progressed as a society to the point where we can tell people of any race, any color, any creed, that they are dumb fucking monkeys with stupid monkey ideas.

    Jeffe has a dream.

    I have a dream this afternoon that being able to call dumb folks "monkeys" will become a reality in this day.

    And with this insult I will go out and carve a tunnel of ridicule and mockery. With this insult, I will go out with you and tell folks just how damned stupid they really are. With this insult, we will be able to achieve this new day when all of God's Special ones, black idiots and white idiots, dumb fucking Protestants and dipshit Jews, will be able to cup their hands and shout to the morons bringing 15 items into the 10 Item Or Less aisle:

    You're a monkey.

    You're a monkey.

    Goddammit, man, you are one dumb fucking monkey.

    PREACH IT!

    mcdermott on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    George Bush is white. Context is kind of relevant. Symbols and symbolic representations are defined by context, and can be applied in different ways to different groups and different individuals.

    The monkey imagery CAN mean all sorts of things. One of the more common meanings is a historically racist one. It is possible that the author didn't intend to use this meaning, but that means he is an idiot who is accidentally using racist imagery as opposed to a racist who is idiotically using racist imagery.

    But considering that (despite the earlier cartoon provided as evidence) it's still not entirely clear that he's even referring to Obama, and considering that referring to people as chimps/monkeys (or referring to something as "done by monkeys") has a clear and non-racist precedent, then maybe it's best that we let this one slide.

    Because seriously, we're going to run into a credibility problem pretty quickly otherwise. Seein' 'cism 'round every corner and shit.

    And this is the larger problem. If we concede that, at the least, calling a white guy a monkey is not racist, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to figure out how close a black person can be to the monkey-label before we wind up in 'cism-land. If someone calls congress a bunch of monkeys due to a bill that was written partially by a black man, is that racist? What if some members of congress are black? What if none of the people related to the story are black, but you call the group of white folks monkeys within earshot of a black man - what then?

    I wasn't aware that whites were historically stereotyped as subhuman monkeys.

    Oh, right, that's because they weren't. That would be blacks, who were depicted as subhuman monkeys by racists for decades.

    Funny then that depicting a white person as a monkey and a black person as a monkey could have different meanings. Almost like history and context are relevant or something.

    PotatoNinja on
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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    The association of the monkey being the president would've been a lot clearer if he'd added some contextual clues: dressing him in a suit and having him hang out a limo/Air Force One or accompanied by a Secret Service detail, putting a stovepipe hat on him or the presidential seal, making the face a caricature of the president's.

    Considering how hamfisted this cartoonist is in his metaphors, I'd think if he'd wanted to have indicated the president was a monkey, he would've done so in a much more obvious fashion.

    Djeet on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    And this is the larger problem. If we concede that, at the least, calling a white guy a monkey is not racist, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to figure out how close a black person can be to the monkey-label before we wind up in 'cism-land. If someone calls congress a bunch of monkeys due to a bill that was written partially by a black man, is that racist? What if some members of congress are black? What if none of the people related to the story are black, but you call the group of white folks monkeys within earshot of a black man - what then?

    The situation gets real stupid real fast. And it gets stupider when you instinctively err on the side of people being racist for every fool thing they say.

    It's also a matter of Obama being (arguably) the most powerful person on the fucking planet. Which, to me, means some racist shit has to be a lot more overtly and undeniably (or admittedly, of course) racist before I can really bring myself to express much outrage...same way we're not supposed to care about racism against whites.

    Even if it's likely that it was a jab at Obama's blackness (it is), given plausible deniability I'm more than willing to let it slide because seriously, oh well. So he said something racist about a guy who probably, with the stroke of a pen, could legally make him disappear. Oh...snap?

    The most earth-shattering result that could come of this is that we come to the realization that the cartoonist is a racist bastard. Well duh. We already knew that from his former works.

    Racism is OK because the president is black.

    Martin Luther King Jr. would be so. fucking. proud.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2009
    Oh, right, that's because they weren't. That would be blacks, who were depicted as subhuman monkeys by racists for decades.

    Funny then that depicting a white person as a monkey and a black person as a monkey could have different meanings. Almost like history and context are relevant or something.

    Point being it is entirely plausible that someone who is not a racist, someone who has not grown up in a pervasively racist environment, someone who has learned that monkey = dumb person, could call a black person a monkey without any racist intent. You may call him ignorant, or insensitive, or stupid. You cannot reasonably call him a racist, though, without robbing the term of all meaning.

    I mean, don't we want to get to a point where people don't think about race at all? And yet we assert that those who have honestly accomplished that, by accident or otherwise, are just as bad as sheet-wearing KKK-ers by virtue of their ignorance.

    edit: And to reiterate, I recognize this cartoonist is a dumb motherfucker who is clearly racist versus arabs and may well be racist versus blacks. I'm not really talking about him in particular.

    ElJeffe on
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  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    The whole thing hinges on the cartoon actually referring specifically to Obama. I dont think we'll be able to figure that out. Even with the cartoon that Pants posted from last week.

    Does the cartoon "smell funny" to me? Yeah, I think it does, especially with seeing the author's other work. But I really can't say for sure that he's being a bigoted piece of shit with that cartoon. I do think I can make that assumption though based on the other cartoons.

    iTunesIsEvil on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I wasn't aware that whites were historically stereotyped as subhuman monkeys.

    Oh, right, that's because they weren't. That would be blacks, who were depicted as subhuman monkeys by racists for decades.

    Funny then that depicting a white person as a monkey and a black person as a monkey could have different meanings. Almost like history and context are relevant or something.

    So the question becomes, which identifies Obama more...being black, or being a President of the United States?

    Because the last President was commonly depicted as a monkey when we didn't like what he was doing. And, for reasons that have nothing to do with being black, Obama bears about the same physical resemblance. Have you seen those ears, man?

    And this is still assuming the chimp is meant to be Obama. Which is hardly a given. Had I known about the chimp story to begin with, I might not even have made the connection and assumed he was calling Congress a bunch of retarded monkeys. But of course, we'll continue to go back and forth on that one, I'm sure.

    mcdermott on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Ok, I can see different ways people would interpret this.

    Chalk me up as one who did not see anything racial at all at first. The simplest explanation is that the monkey doesn't represent any single person, but rather represents the humorous (sic) presumption that a monkey (i.e., an idiot) must have written it, because it was so bad. Cops shot a monkey IRL, and the cartoonist links the two together and supposes that the monkey they shot was the author of the stimulus bill, because, hahaha, only a monkey would write something so stupid.

    I think the monkey as a symbol of an idiot is much more common than the monkey as a symbol of a black person.

    But like I said, I can see how someone with a different worldview might immediately think "they're calling Obama a monkey!"

    What I can't see, what I don't believe at all, are the several of you who insist that there can be no other possible interpretation other than it was a racist jab at Obama. I am all but certain that wasn't the meaning, and furthermore I find it quite easy to believe that the cartoonist, caught up in how clever he thought he was for linking a story about a monkey to his opinion of the intelligence behind the stimulus, as well as all the other people responsible for reviewing and publishing the comic, never stoppped to consider that people would interpret it as him calling Obama a monkey.

    I mean, seriously, I realize that the joke "haha that monkey they shot probably wrote the stimulus cuz the stimulus is a dumb idea" is not the height of comedic genius, but you would admit that it is more clever and humorous and more likely the point than "hur hur Obama is black, he's a monkey." If that was the intent, why even mention stimulus? Why not, "uh oh, looks like Biden is our president now."

    Yar on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Racism is no big deal because the subject is white.

    Martin Luther King Jr. would be so. fucking. proud.

    Edited to reflect shit I've actually heard said in this forum.
    Djeet wrote: »
    The association of the monkey being the president would've been a lot clearer if he'd added some contextual clues: dressing him in a suit and having him hang out a limo/Air Force One or accompanied by a Secret Service detail, putting a stovepipe hat on him or the presidential seal, making the face a caricature of the president's.

    Considering how hamfisted this cartoonist is in his metaphors, I'd think if he'd wanted to have indicated the president was a monkey, he would've done so in a much more obvious fashion.

    This too. The entire idea that this is even racist hinges on this assumption, and I'm just not seeing it being as obvious as some want it to be.
    I think the monkey as a symbol of an idiot is much more common than the monkey as a symbol of a black person.

    Nowadays, yes this is true.

    mcdermott on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Oh, right, that's because they weren't. That would be blacks, who were depicted as subhuman monkeys by racists for decades.

    Funny then that depicting a white person as a monkey and a black person as a monkey could have different meanings. Almost like history and context are relevant or something.

    Point being it is entirely plausible that someone who is not a racist, someone who has not grown up in a pervasively racist environment, someone who has learned that monkey = dumb person, could call a black person a monkey without any racist intent. You may call him ignorant, or insensitive, or stupid. You cannot reasonably call him a racist, though, without robbing the term of all meaning.

    I mean, don't we want to get to a point where people don't think about race at all? And yet we assert that those who have honestly accomplished that, by accident or otherwise, are just as bad as sheet-wearing KKK-ers by virtue of their ignorance.

    edit: And to reiterate, I recognize this cartoonist is a dumb motherfucker who is clearly racist versus arabs and may well be racist versus blacks. I'm not really talking about him in particular.

    First, do you really want to define racism as requiring intent? Furthermore, do you intend for "I didn't know / didn't mean it" to be a valid defense against any claim of racism? Its possible to be racist through ignorance or intent. Specifically and overtly stating "I hate black people and they are inferior to whites" is racist, of course, but is that the only thing we accept as racist?

    Second, nobody, and I mean NOBODY so far has compared this cartoonist to the KKK. That's you and your strawman, you can beat it up if you want but that's all you.

    The cartoonist is a dumb motherfucker. He may be intentionally racist or accidentally racist by way of being a really dumb motherfucker. He's still racist in both scenarios, and still stupid in both scenarios. His intentions are irrelevant.

    PotatoNinja on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Yar wrote: »
    I mean, seriously, I realize that the joke "haha that monkey they shot probably wrote the stimulus cuz the stimulus is a dumb idea" is not the height of comedic genius, but you would admit that it is more clever and humorous and more likely the point than "hur hur Obama is black, he's a monkey." If that was the intent, why even mention stimulus? Why not, "uh oh, looks like Biden is our president now."

    That last bit is easy, though...plausible deniability.

    It could have just as easily been a clever way to be subtly racist and make his statement about the stimulus package.

    Only it wasn't that clever, the racism wasn't that effective (considering how easy it was to miss), and the whole thing was just kinda stupid regardless.

    mcdermott on
  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    First, do you really want to define racism as requiring intent?
    Without intent wouldn't it just be generic ignorance? Just thinking aloud here...

    iTunesIsEvil on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    First, do you really want to define racism as requiring intent? Furthermore, do you intend for "I didn't know / didn't mean it" to be a valid defense against any claim of racism? Its possible to be racist through ignorance or intent. Specifically and overtly stating "I hate black people and they are inferior to whites" is racist, of course, but is that the only thing we accept as racist?


    Um...racism pretty clearly has to require some intent. Or at least, you know, some racism. It's entirely plausible that somebody unfamiliar with a term or phrase formerly used in a racist context might use it accidentally, and not be the slightest bit racist.

    Again, go back to the "calling a black mechanic a greasemonkey" idea.

    Is that racist? Can it be? The answers are maybe and yes. Can it not be? The answer is obviously yes as well.

    It's entirely possible that somebody could use the word "monkey" in reference to a black person accidentally. Or even be unfamiliar with the former usage of the term...not all of us grew up in areas where racism was a huge deal, or took sociology classes. Just like a dude from Ireland won't know what "wetback" means. Even more so, because calling somebody a "monkey" in a non-racist context is not unheard of (whereas "wetback" is pretty much a single-usage term).


    EDIT: Hell, I find the idea that a non-racist person could be unfamiliar with a racist term and use it by accident kind of uplifting. It would suggest that maybe the term is dying, and that maybe racism is (slowly) dying along with it.

    mcdermott on
  • OrganichuOrganichu jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    There is a difference between racism and ignorance or racial insensitivity. Mcdermott is completely correct.

    Organichu on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That last bit is easy, though...plausible deniability.

    It could have just as easily been a clever way to be subtly racist and make his statement about the stimulus package.

    Only it wasn't that clever, the racism wasn't that effective (considering how easy it was to miss), and the whole thing was just kinda stupid regardless.
    So... you're saying that the most likely explanation is that he purposefully was being racist, except was clever enough to create a double-meaning that gave him plausible deniability about the racist part, AND the racism was yet ineffective and easy to miss.... but still, he definitely meant to call Obama a monkey. I find that boggling, especially compared to, "he was using a current event to say that the stimulus bill is stupid."

    Yar on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2009
    First, do you really want to define racism as requiring intent? Furthermore, do you intend for "I didn't know / didn't mean it" to be a valid defense against any claim of racism? Its possible to be racist through ignorance or intent. Specifically and overtly stating "I hate black people and they are inferior to whites" is racist, of course, but is that the only thing we accept as racist?

    For certain loose definitions of intent, yes. If an alien who had never seen or heard thing one about Earth history landed at the White House, and - through striking coincidence - it turns out the alien-word for "Hello, friend" sounds just like n****r, are we going to call the alien a racist? Of course not. Clearly there has to be some cognitive reasoning going on such that the word is actually meant to be relevant to race.

    This isn't inconsistent with some guy kindly trying to help a black man because all black men are inferior don'tcha know also being considered racist. But if an action is meant to have nothing at all to do with race, calling it racist is fucking retarded. A racist action must have an intent linked to race by definition. Otherwise you can call it stupid, insensitive or ignorant, but you cannot call it racist.

    Can.

    Not.

    Period.
    Second, nobody, and I mean NOBODY so far has compared this cartoonist to the KKK. That's you and your strawman, you can beat it up if you want but that's all you.

    The cartoonist is a dumb motherfucker. He may be intentionally racist or accidentally racist by way of being a really dumb motherfucker. He's still racist in both scenarios, and still stupid in both scenarios. His intentions are irrelevant.

    No, you haven't compared it directly to the KKK. You have said it is completely irrelevant whether an action is ignorant or willfully malicious, though, which is just about as dumb.

    ElJeffe on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Yar wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That last bit is easy, though...plausible deniability.

    It could have just as easily been a clever way to be subtly racist and make his statement about the stimulus package.

    Only it wasn't that clever, the racism wasn't that effective (considering how easy it was to miss), and the whole thing was just kinda stupid regardless.
    So... you're saying that the most likely explanation is that he purposefully was being racist, except was clever enough to create a double-meaning that gave him plausible deniability about the racist part, AND the racism was yet ineffective and easy to miss.... but still, he definitely meant to call Obama a monkey. I find that boggling, especially compared to, "he was using a current event to say that the stimulus bill is stupid."

    No, I'm merely answering the question "why even mention the stimulus?"

    It was a very specific answer to your question, not meant as a refutation of your entire post. I'm providing one entirely plausible scenario of why he would do so, not claiming it's the most likely.

    mcdermott on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Ok, granted, but I'd say unlikely and confusing enough to disqualify as plausible.

    Yar on
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