In comments at the Daily Cartoonist, regarding the Sean Delonas cartoon, I wrote “I don’t think it matters what was in his heart. What matters is what’s in the cartoon. And it’s a racist cartoon.”
RS Davis responded in comments (click through to read his entire comment):
Apparently, the all knowing, all seeing judges of humanity on this topic can see straight through the hearts of man and judge them as blatant racists, no matter WHAT they actually did. […]
How Orwellian. We can twist what you did, no matter what your intent or who you are, we can judge you as a racist and you’re too stupid to know it, or you’re a racist because we say so, even if you’re not.
…Where was the howling when cartoonists drew Condi Rice as Aunt Jemima?
My response to RS:
Please reread what I wrote, because you seem to have read exactly the opposite of what I said. I’m not judging whether or not the cartoonist is a racist. I’m not condemning him or saying he should never work again.
I don’t know or care if he’s a racist. I’m critiquing the cartoon, not the cartoonist.
And since you asked, I have criticized racist images of Condi Rice in cartoons. I’ve also criticized anti-semitic images in left-wing cartoons. And I said the same thing then that I’m saying now: it’s about what’s in the cartoon, not about what’s in the cartoonist’s heart.
Delonas maybe be guilty of a lame cartoon, but those screaming one of the worst accusations that can be made, racism, over it, REGARDLESS of who the man really is, his intentions or his past work, is far more frightening and a bigger crime that anything he did.
No one has said Delonas committed a crime.
I also don’t agree that racism — especially racism that’s quite likely inadvertent — is “one of the worst accusations that can be made.” Thinking of it that way is a mistake, because it makes it impossible to talk about minor racist slights. If someone tells me “I think that this cartoon is kind of racist,” that’s not at all the same as them saying “you’re a KKK member!” And if I take it as if they’ve accused me of being a monster, then all I do is guarantee that no productive discussion can take place.
Two links I’d recommend you read:
First, directly related to this controversy, Kevin’s newest cartoon, “Racism 101 for White Cartoonists,” which is brilliant.
And second, RS, I’d recommend you read this post I wrote a couple of years ago: How Not To Be Insane When Accused Of Racism.