Up until this point I have been unable to make the connection that the dead chimp cartoon was in effect, a representation of President Barack Obama. If there is one thing that I have learned in my lifetime is that you can never assume what another human being is or was thinking. So in the spirit of that way of thinking, I am willing to give the artist a pass.
While it is quite easy to assume that it was a direct reference to Obama, no one can be positively sure unless Delonas comes out and says as much. What is equally troubling is that now, the head of the NAACP, Julian Bond is claiming that the cartoon is an open invitation for the assassination of the president of the United States of America. That is a charge that I have trouble accepting and dealing with. When we start associating satire (however badly it may be) with killing people, then we cross a dangerous threshold.
New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch aoplogized for the cartoon today and the artist Sean Delonas had some comments too. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/02/24/cartoon.murdoch/ I really think Delonas has issues and if you clicked the link on Dead Chimp part two you’ll understand why.
Our country has a rather nasty history when it comes to depicting blacks, so it easy to see why there was such outrage over the cartoon. It was tasteless and very far from being funny. But as we attempt to have this discourse on race in America, it is very important that we don’t look for racism where it does not exist.