There’s an upside to the outcry among readers who felt the Curry Coastal Pilot’s Sept. 16 editorial cartoon was a racial slap at President Barack Obama: It showed that people remain vigilant in the fight against bigotry.
And we whole-heartedly support it.
Some people might feel that prejudice and racism has been delegated to the darkest corners of our great nation. They would be wrong.
The civil rights movement of the 1960s eliminated segregation, and similar efforts ever since have done much to free people of many different races from unfair subjugation and cruelty, but make no mistake, bigotry remains.
In fact, it’s raising its ugly head more these days since Obama was elected president. It began during the presidential campaign when likenesses of Obama portrayed him as a monkey, or when an image spread via the Internet showed presidential plane, Air Force One, renamed “Watermelon One.”
Some Pilot readers believe Obama was portrayed in our Sept. 16 editorial cartoon as a monkey – a long-standing derogatory reference to black people. Others, including this newspaper, saw it as a caricature free of racial intent.
It would be easy to classify those who were offended as being “too sensitive.” They are not. They are people who care deeply about their fellow human beings and bristle at anything that can remotely be construed as racist.
If anything, readers’ criticism of our editorial cartoon says something about the permanence of racist ideas in our culture. More importantly, it has opened up a community dialogue about biased attitudes and the harm they cause.