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February 20, 2009

The NY Post, Chimpanzee and Modern Day Racism

I must confess that I read the NY Post daily for years not because of their breaking news but because of their gossip column and fodder about NY social society and such. Needless to say I will have stopped reading the NY Post.

Like most people I was stunned, offended and irritated the very first time I saw the ‘cartoon’ – not the second or third time – it was immediately repulsive! Each time I look at the ‘cartoon’ I become increasingly insulted.

chimp-stimulus-ny-post Even at first glance the image of a black chimpanzee represented a black man to me.  Once I read the caption and the dead chimp was associated with the stimulus package I thought “dead black chimp equals dead black president”.  Too often in New York City’s history NYPD officers have shot innocent black men dead in the streets of NY. In that context alone the cartoon is highly offensive and a so called parody is plain distasteful!  In additon there is NOTHING funny about a woman being attacked and mauled by the angry 200 pound ape named Travis; there is nothing funny about 55 year old Charla Nash’s face being torn up by this wild beast so I don’t see how this is a parody.

Whether this was the imagery famed cartoonist Sean Delonas intended, the offensive and violent nature of his work should have been apparent to him – I’m sure he has some common sense.  If common sense eluded Sean Delonas then editor Col Allen should have had enough wisdom and good judgment to tell Delonas that his cartoon was not acceptable and explain to Delonas why it could be viewed as distasteful, hateful and abominable.

curious-george-t-shirts Not so long ago in May 2008 t-shirts were peddled in the state of Georgia by Marietta bar owner Mike Norman at his Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Cobb County.  The image on the t-shirt showed a picture of Curious George peeling a banana, with the words “Obama ’08” underneath bringing back old stupid southern racist nonsense, gibberish and garbage.  Blacks in Georgia did not tolerate the hooey from Mike Norman and protested.  The publishing company that owns the Curious George image said they would take legal action to stop the sale of any t-shirt depicting Barack Obama as the monkey from their children’s books.

The history of moneys and apes being associated with blacks in America started with Buckner Payne.  In 1867 Reverend Buckner Payne an ignorant, unqualified junk scientist from the south said, “We take up the monkey, and trace him … through his upward and advancing orders – baboon, ourang-outang and gorilla, up to the negro, another noble animal, the noblest of the beast creation. The difference between these higher orders of the monkey and the negro is very slight, and consists mainly in this one thing: the negro can utter sounds that can be imitated; hence he could talk with Adam and Eve, for they could imitate his sounds.”  The full 48-page text of Buckner Payne’s “The Negro” as a pdf file can be viewed courtesy of Google, by following this link.

This description of blacks as non-human was published in 1867 – after the South lost the Civil War. Southern whites didn’t have to define Negroes as animals while they were enslaved and lived like animals on plantations. But once the Negro was free – and politically empowered during Reconstruction the defeated white Southerner felt the need psychologically and politically to justify their treatment of blacks by putting forth this idea that blacks were monkeys and therefore not  human.

In 1900, Charles Carroll (I have no idea what his expertise was) published a book expanding Buckner Payne’s notion. “The Negro a Beast” cites the Apostle Paul’s declaration that “there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts.”

Carroll wrote: “It becomes plain that the dog, the swine and the negro all belong to one kind of flesh – the flesh of beasts.”

He argued further that the “red, yellow and brown” races resulted from the “amalgamation” of whites and blacks. Therefore non-whites aren’t human either. To argue otherwise, according to Carroll, was a blasphemy equal to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Carroll further stated that, “This modern church theory that the negro and the mixed-bloods are included in the Plan of Salvation is another result of putting man and the ape in the same family.”

I am still insulted that in 2009 The New York Post thought that they could brazenly and unashamedly publish this kind of muck and not be held accountable. 

There will be a protest at the NY Post building in Manhattan today, Friday, February 20 at 5pm.  If you cannot make the protest, you can write a letter to the editor and mail it to the New York Post New York Post, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-8790.  Or you can call them at (212) 930-8000 (hit 8 for the operator).  Or you can email a letter to the editor at letters@nypost.com.  You can also post your opinion at: http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/letters/letters_editor.htm

I pray that America gets over this Neanderthal thinking quickly.  United we stand.  Divided we will fall. We need unity in America.



  1. The caption is “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill”

    This was weak humor. But seeing as congress wrote the bill, and is headed by Pelosi and Reid, and considering the chimp was just shot in CT, this is not racism. People are trying to make it as such by stretching here. There was no allusion to the president, as we all know he did not write it. The inference is that even a chimp (like the one in CT) could have written the bill that got jammed through congress, again, no reference.

    Comment by LOUDelf — February 20, 2009 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  2. Seems to me that there is now a concerted effort to amplify race as a dividing wedge by the GOP and/or corporate interests due to lack of other valid targets. I would like to point out an ad on network television right now by “HEFTY BAGS” that is being aired as I type. The ad starts off with a black woman standing over a trash can full of garbage in an un-lit dark room. The audio goes something like, “Dont let this happen to you,…STINKY, STINKY, STINKY! ” The picture then switches to lights on, clean trash can, and yes, a white woman reflected in a beautiful clean world with her Hefty Bag in place. I had to watch this ad three times before I could state for fact that this was the case and in no way is this obvious. The average Joe the plumber would not catch the black to white woman, but it is there. Subliminal programing. Black=Stinky & White=Clean and beautiful?!! For me, the aspartame has not kicked in and I avoid the fluoride. Just thought you should know.

    Comment by David Thorpe — February 20, 2009 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

    • Dave – thanks for bringing this to my attention. I am going to be sure to watch commercials this weekend and check it out!

      Comment by Paulette — February 20, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  3. It’s a pretty horrible cartoon. At the very least, it’s inappropriate, and could very well be racist. He’s got quite a bigoted track record (I just posted on this).

    Comment by deannaizme — February 20, 2009 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

    • Deanna, horrible is right. I understand parody but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed in polite society. The cartoonist obviously is a well educated and learned individual so he knows the history of America. He knows that his carton could be misconstrued but decided to submit that work and the editor Col Allen showed poor judgment and used the cartoon as a tool for provocation; I doubt that he thought it would get this much attention – just enough to stir things up a bit.

      It’s not the cartoon by itself that made people call this a racist episode – it’s the history of America, the history of NY’s Police Department, the New York Post itself, the NY Post’s editor Col Allen in particular and the image of a black monkey or ape or whatever ALL combined that paints the racist picture.

      New Yorkers are riled up because they know the characters that are involved – Sean Delonas could himself be a pawn in Col Allen’s game.

      Comment by Paulette — February 20, 2009 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  4. […] Let Us Talk added an interesting post on The NY Post, Chimpanzee and Modern Day RacismHere’s a small excerptI must confess that I read the NY Post daily for years not because of their breaking news but because of their gossip column and fodder about NY social society and such. Like most people I was stunned, offended and irritated the very first time I saw the ‘cartoon’ – not the second or third time – it was immediately repulsive! Each time I look at the ‘cartoon’ I become increasingly insulted.  Even at first glance the image of a black chimpanzee represented a black man to me.   Once I […]

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  5. […] The NY Post, Chimpanzee and Modern Day Racism « Let Us Talk […]

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  7. Not only does is this cartoon racist, it promotes violence and killing. We don’t need more violence in this nation. This cartoon is insensitive and ignorant.

    Comment by Cats r Flyfishn — February 20, 2009 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

    • Great point Cats – I didn’t elaborate on the violence that the cartoon dipicted. Ridiculous!

      Comment by Paulette — February 20, 2009 @ 11:16 pm | Reply

  8. This type of behaviour cannot be justified! This cartoon is not funny. NY Post – What were they thinking? AND NO “WE ARE NOT READING TOO MUCH INTO THIS CARTOON”. The cartoon speaks for itself. This is RACISM at large!

    Comment by Glamourous — February 21, 2009 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

    • That’s right Glam – it’s not funny. It’s inappropriate, violent and distasteful and Col Allen was irresponsible. Let’s try to make America an even better place and not dredge up old hurts and stupidity.

      Comment by Paulette — February 21, 2009 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  9. Read my first post at the top, and try to get by the knee-jerk, and then please explain based on the artwork and context how this IS racist?

    Comment by LOUDelf — February 22, 2009 @ 7:50 am | Reply

    • Here is a letter to Col Allen from John Legend that says all that has to be said:

      Dear Editor:

      I’m trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon? If that’s not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots.

      If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans. Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can’t imagine what possible justification you have for this. I’ve read your lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev. Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It’s about the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

      I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it. I’m personally boycotting your paper and won’t do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

      You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been printed.

      I’m well aware of our country’s history of racism and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don’t need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.

      John Legend

      Comment by Paulette — February 22, 2009 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  10. […] NY Post, Chimpanzee, and Modern Day Racism – Paulette/Let Us Talk […]

    Pingback by 2/22-Views from the Heartland: NY Post Controversy « American Heartland Bar and Grill — February 22, 2009 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

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