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Odd trivia: Anti-racist cartoons are by far the ones that are most likely to result in me receiving anti-Semitic hate mail. I guess that’s no surprise; of course the angry racist and angry anti-Semitic crowds overlap.
I’m lucky, in that I’m not usually bothered by idiotic emails. My ability to brush stuff like that off is definitely a blessing for my career. (And was also a blessing for my previous job as a wedding coordinator; no matter how mean family members were to me, I’d have forgotten about it an hour after the wedding.)
This cartoon was fun to draw. One of the nice things about single-panel cartoons is that I can take more time, and do things like drawing seven figures in detail, or fairly elaborate cross-hatching. I think my favorite face here is the woman with the long kinky hair (third from the right); that expression just works well for me, and I like the different-sized eyeballs.
My friend (and patron!) Naomi, who is a wonderful cartoonist herself, suggested adding the broken crutch. Thanks, Naomi!
As for the subject matter of this cartoon, it’s a response to something I’ve seen again and again: White people who, when a racist (or apparently racist, or potentially racist) incident comes up, are far more concerned with trying to establish the purity of the white person’s heart than they are with the damage that’s been done, or with how that damage can be mitigated.
I do think intentions matter. But they aren’t everything, and when they shouldn’t be the first – or, all too often, the only – priority.
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Transcript of cartoon.
This is a single panel cartoon.
A white man, wearing a collared shirt, looks down as he raises a finger to make a point. He looks a but unhappy and wide-eyed. He’s standing on a huge, huge block of stone. Underneath the stone, struggling to get out, are seven non-white characters, of various genders, ethnicities, and body shapes. They have expressions of shock, pain, and anger. There is a broken crutch lying on the ground.
WHITE MAN: First things first: Can we all agree I had good intentions?
CAPTION: White Priorities