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Racial Implications of Media Indifference

Dated: Thursday February 19, 2009

National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers Speaks Out Regarding Racially Obscene and Discriminatory Cartoons in the New York Post

It is no mere coincidence that on the day after President Barack Obama, this countrys first elected African American President and Chief Executive signed the first major piece of legislation of his new administration, the New York Post published a cartoon depicting the police shooting of a chimpanzee with the wording "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Regardless of the protestations of the publications editorial staff, it must, and should, be recognized by all Americans, and particularly those in communities of color, the serious and despicably racist overtones that are attached to this imagery. It is utterly impossible to believe, or even attempt to understand, how any newspaper editor could be so ignorant enough to not understand the historic symbolisms this evokes or the fears of the nation at a time when death threats against its leader are now on the rise.

The New York Post would have us believe that this cartoon was not about an African American President but was about the violent attack by a chimpanzee in Connecticut, which police were forced to shot to save the life of the woman being attacked. Yet, on the page immediately previous to this obscene image was a picture of the President as he signed the stimulus bill. This symmetry does not go without notice.

Balancing this with the clear and unreputed history in our country of racist symbolism that has often depicted people of African descent as apes or monkeys, the increasing rising incidents of racially-biased violence, the nationwide surge in hate crimes, and the unprecedented number of threats against President Obama since his election, there is no plausible reason or excuse for what can only be viewed as an attempt by the New York Post to further exacerbate the levels of racial hatred and discord which continues to exist in this nation.

It was Mary McLeod Bethune who stated "If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything that smacks of discrimination or slander."

While we both understand and agree that political satire has its place in the media, this publication goes far and above the limits of acceptability and legitimacy. We urge all to voice their disdain of this publication, as it not only slanders our President, but the entire community as well. We further demand that an official apology be issued by both the owners and editors of the New York Post for what can only be considered a purposeful attack and denigration of President Obama, specifically, and the many communities of color across this nation.

The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.

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