Cartoon Critics Miss the Point

by Polk

Wayne A. Schneider misses the point on the New York Post cartoon controversy:

This is one of the problems with latent racism in this country. Non-overt Racists (not the KKK types) tend not to understand why they are racist. They are so out-of-touch with race issues, that they have no idea why what they do is offensive. Sometimes they use words or images that, for all they’ve ever known growing up, is the way you describe some people. Usually it’s their ignorant parents we can thank for that, because people are not born hating people of different races. They learn to hate people of different races from their parents, who usually learned it from their parents, who learned it from who knows where? Bill O’Reilly has said that his grandmother is afraid of young black men. She thinks every one that she sees might try to mug her. Where did she get that idea? Did she have a week where every black kid who walked past her took her purse? I seriously doubt that. But every time she sees some young black kids ahead on the street, she goes to the other side. “That’s not racism,” says O’Reilly, “That’s just fear.”

(emphasis mine)

I think this paints a painfully oversimplified picture of race relations in America. In effect, Wayne is working from the assumption that people are ultimately well-intentioned. I question that characterization, especially when people are lobbing racist sentiments. The issue isn’t they don’t know it’s offensive, it’s that they don’t care and pretending to not get it is a political correct way to state your views. If someone in the year 2009 tells you they don’t understand why a cartoon showing a black man as a monkey is offensive, they’re either one of two things: borderline retarded or a liar. I’m going out on a limb and guessing the latter.

Simply put, it’s not acceptable to be a bigot in our society. Therefore, those harboring bigoted views need to find new ways to express them, be it by making absurd claims about what is and is not offensive (see: this controversy), claiming the mantle of discrimination for their own group (see: “white guilt”), or trying to turn the tables (see: “it’s blacks that are the real racists”).