Recently, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. In simple terms it means the much talked about multi-billion dollar stimulus package that Obama has championed ever since his inauguration.
The political cartoon, shown on the left, depicts two police officers gunning down a chimpanzee while uttering, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
After the cartoon's publication, many, including the civil rights activist Rev. Al. Sharpton interpret the cartoon as extremely callous and on that holds racist connotations about President Obama, depicting him as a chimpanzee because he is part African-American.
The New York Association of Black Journalists claim that the depiction of African-Americans with animals is deeply and painfully entrenched within American history. In fact, many minority groups have been associated with animals and rodents in order to de-humanize them so it becomes easier to target these groups for discrimination or worse. Take for instance, during Nazi Germani, the Jews were likened to rodents and that all rodents, because they are infecting the pure Aryan race with their vile religion and inferior genetics, should be exterminated.
The Association also claims that depictions of blacks as monkeys and chimpanzees dates back to Anglo-Saxon, Portuguese, and Spanish colonial conquest that de-humanized them in order to justify their horrific treatment of slaves.
The cartoonist claims that it has nothing to do with the President and the fact that he is part African-American. He and the New York Post claim that the recent incident of an escaped chimpanzee being shot by police officers is the reason why he used this imagery. He claimed that the chimpanzee depicts Congress and mocks its efforts to revive the economy through the stimulus.
How do you see the justifications made by the New York Post and the cartoonist versus the claims of racism by the New York Association of Black Journalists/Rev. Al Sharpton?
Are most readers likely to make the association that the artist was depicting Obama as an animal? Why?
Do you think that in present day America, some groups are still labeled in unappealing ways to justify the group's subordination/discrimination?
***Remember that the chimpanzee is not labeled as "Obama" or "The President" or any other drawn clues that the cartoonist actually meant to depict the President in this way***