Friday, February 20, 2009

Here is How We Can Start Talking About Race

Two interesting things happened on Wednesday that are related one another even though it might not seem like it at first blush. The NY Post ran a cartoon of two cops shooting a monkey which a lot of people considered racist. And the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, said that we were a "nation of cowards" because we were scared to talk about race.

Here is how the two things relate to one another. One of the reasons that the country is afraid to talk openly about race is because people are afraid that they are going to be called racists or charged with insensitivity for what they say (or in this case draw). We have to start giving these people a pass even if we suspect that they did not have the best of intentions.

Why? Because if we yell racism every time there is a question about race then people will clam up. Does that mean that nothing should be considered racist anymore or that we shouldn't challenge people on what they have said or done? No, of course not. But it does mean that we should change the way we talk about these issues.

Instead of calling Sean Delonas, the cartoonist at the NY Post, a racist, we should ask him if he understands why his drawing might come across as offensive to some. Not to prove our point, but to start an actual dialogue. Ask him, "Can you not see that given the historical taunts against African-Americans that some may interpret your cartoon as directed at the president? It says in your cartoon that the monkey wrote the stimulus package, whether you intended it or not, can you not see how people might interpret that as a reference to Barack Obama?"

read more


[Source: The Latest on Air America - Posted by FreeAutoBlogger]

No comments: