NY Post: Power to the Protest

February 20, 2009

I am in awe every time I see the power of the people manifested in demonstrations as it has been for the past few days with the protestors of the New York Post.

Longtime political cartoonist Sean Delonas drew a picture that was published in the Post this Wednesday. Many feel this cartoon played on the racist history of Blacks being compared to primates.*

The strength, tenacity, courage, and determination of protesters is often times inspiring. How awesome that this group of people got together to make a change, and they saw results from it.

The New York Post issued an apology today to those they offended with the cartoon. The apology was a bit back-handed because they refused to apologize to those they believe initiated the opposition. They felt those with long time grievances used this cartoon as an opportunity to enact revenge on the controversial and conservative newspaper. (Though they didn’t name names, the main opponent has been Rev. Al Sharpton, and I think we can infer they are talking about him.)

It is very possible that the Post and Delonas didn’t intended any racial slur with the cartoon. I am willing to take them at their word that the chimp is a parody of Travis the chimp that was shot on Monday by police officers paired with a mock of the economic stimulus bill. However, there is NO WAY they didn’t anticipate the implications that would be felt by comparing the author of the current stimulus bill (not only President Obama, but he IS the face of the bill) to a violent chimpanzee. In addition, they shot the chimp= they shot the author of the stimulus bill= they shot the President!!?? That’s funny?

Many people want to site that President Bush was at times compared to monkeys as well. However, there is no history of whites being compared to primates in a racial defamation. If Bush had been compared to a Ritz of something with a comparative history, then (I would be outraged) a comparison could be made.

The Post shouldn’t be surprised by the public backlash. I didn’t even know about Travis until after I saw the bru-ha-ha over the cartoon. I’m sure many around the world will see this cartoon, know nothing of Travis, and instantly see it as a racial slur.

I am delighted the protestors got a semblance of an apology. We must stay on offensive people/media. We must never give up. Protest reminds us that there is much more that we can/must do for our communities than simply casting a ballot every 4 years.

I want to dedicate this to all the demonstrators (many of whom were college students) in 2003 that were jailed just for protesting the Iraqi War on the streets of Chicago, and to those who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Frankfort, KY in 1965.


* You can see the original cartoon here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/18/national/main4809291.shtml

** You can see an altered version of the cartoon (not by Delonas) here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-camp/how-the-new-york-post-mon_b_168199.html


I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but if I see one more image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the misty, air-brushed, reminiscent background of a Photoshopped Barack Obama image as the “Dream” depiction I will scream.

[Oh there’s one.]


What the hell people? At what point in the “I Have a Dream” speech did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say anything about his dream or the dream being to have a Black president? Was it implied? Maybe, but the dream is specifically about achieving equality and if you think that President Obama automatically garnered equality for people of color in America you are turning a blind eye and deceiving yourself. WAKE UP!!! and notice I said people of color, Dr. King speaks of equality for all, does that mean if we had a Latino or Asian president that these images would still surface, I don’t know but I hope that’s not seen as unrelated.

I didn’t want to say anything because I think of people like my mother, father, my aunts and uncles. Who marched and protested with King. Those people who cry out of happiness for Obama’s win (I’m happy but I never cried!). Because they never dreamed they would see an African American President in their lifetime.

I love what Dr. King did, and I love what Barack did and is doing*, but these images are really agitating me. They marginalize both men and more importantly, they marginalize The Struggle. Just the notion that we are done or have even reached the Promised Land is utterly false. When I see this depiction I feel cheated, I feel like we are resting and being lazy America.

It is apparent that society still needs to reach for Dr. King’s dream of equality when we have Latino-Americans (or even Latinos for that matter) in our country being murdered for just that, being brown (Ecuadoran Marcello Lucero to name one). Or when you hear (as I have heard from friend, foe, and family) that Latino’s are “overrunning” America with their numbers. RACISM! INFURIATING!!! Why are people so concerned with their numbers? Some Black Americans have dismay when the speak of the growing number of Latinos in America. Some worry the census is inaccurately portraying the numbers of each ethnic group. The reason why this is an issue is because White America is somehow seen (and this is actually put into practice) as entitled to more of a voice and representation in this country because they supposedly make up the majority. WHY?

In high school I can remember debating the validity of the existence of affirmative action and Black History Month. In the case of Black History Month some actually argued that we should not celebrate it in protest it marginalizing Black history**. How stupid! I haven’t encountered anyone in a long time that has tried to support this argument, but my gut makes me think they are still out there. After all, I am not the only one that has encountered people who think like this. (My predominantly white, conservative, affluent, township school in Indiana refused to even make mention of Black History Month on the morning announcements. When I asked them to do so, they refused. When I asked why, they said it wasn’t necessary. Haters.) Even still, why would I give up the little bit of acknowledgment that Black History month affords because in truth MORE is warranted? I wouldn’t. That’s not even logical (there’s an adage about baby and bathwater that fits well). If I want a slice of pie, but I can only manage to take a forkful of it on Monday, I take a forkful, then on Tuesday I try to take another forkful, however thwarted I am or how much obstacle is in the way of me and my pie, I still got a forkful and that’s one less forkful I need to attain to get my whole slice. You have to chip away at prejudice, and racism, and sexism, and classism, and inequality. Chip chip chip, its an elephant and you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Mai President is Black [* why I “love” OB]

So far, so good. I am thrilled that President Obama will be keeping his Blackberry. This device has often be uncouthly referred to as the Crackberry (implications are obvious). As a lover of gadgets, I’m thrilled to think of the president as a tech savvy, PDA toting, genius. Bravo for shutting down Guantanimo bay in a year. This sends an anti-bully image to others around the world.

First sitting Prez to have a Blackberry, down with Gitmo (recently Iraqi prisoners were handed over to Iraqi officials), not wearing his suit jacket in the oval office, “there are white people, and then there are motherfuckers like you”- OB on confronting racism in his Hawaiian youth, his acceptance of non-believers, the list goes on and one, – Fox News is right, OB is radical, the best, grassroots, up from down, kind of radial anyone could hope to be 🙂

**(No doubt Black History Month is underplayed, however many don’t even know there is a national Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15- October15.)

(My President is Black is an allusion to a Young Jeezy song, if you haven’t hear/read it Google/Youtube it.)

“Black History is Everyone’s History. Enjoy… Uhuru! Hotep!” – mrs.Mai

Deciding to join the naturopathic profession definitely requires me to make mature sacrifices in the life of my family. I must scrutinize my finances, postpone plans for children, uproot my family, abandon the theatre, leave a President Barack Obama administration, and conquer general anxieties. However, enumerating these sacrifices makes it all the more apparent how I cherish the naturopathic profession. Immigrating to Canada is an expensive and nerve-racking transition requiring our entire savings. Visas, passports, tuition, and housing are just some of the expensive necessities. The immigration process has taken years of planning and budgeting. Our search for new housing, banking, phone carrier, and employment for my husband has been a series of uphill battles. Even now, there is a high level of uncertainty about our financial future in this new country. My husband and I live quite frugally. I look forward to the day when we won’t have to be so restricted by our finances. The next five years will not afford us this luxury. How could they with the time, money, and effort required to transition into returning to college and immigrating? I have been married for nearly five years. We have a blessed marriage and are anxiously thinking about starting a family. Initially, we planned to try for children next year in 2010. However, when I decided to study naturopathy we determined that the time and expense required to provide for a child couldn’t even be considered until the 3rd year of the program. Even then it will still depend on where I stand at that time in the future and in the program. Though many say there is never a specific “right” time to have a child, there is definitely a “wrong” time to have a child, and beginning my education at CCNM would be one of them. Expenses are compounded by living away from loved ones for half a decade. This is daunting. Family and friends provide a ready-made moral, spiritual, financial, and emotional support. Our loved ones are quick to note that we will be a whole other country away. I feel I’ve neglected loved ones for the past eight years since I’ve left my beloved hometown; first moving to Chicago, then to Los Angeles. Oftentimes, it seems I abandon my friends right when our bonds are growing and they need me the most. I feel guilty about leaving my family and not being a present role model for my nieces and nephews in such a critical time in their youth. Theatre and art have been a consistent passion in my life. In undergraduate studies, I attained a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Theatre with a concentration in directing. When I decided to start naturopathy I didn’t anticipate the extent this intensive program would demand. Though I will be a lifelong patron of the theatre, I fear there will be no immediate time to participate. No directing, acting, stage managing, designing, or anything of that nature until my education is well underway. I’ve spent my last twelve years training in theatre, building up several professional relationships, and establishing the building blocks of a career. Theatre had been my future, so entering into a fresh discipline will be an added challenge. I must immerse myself into this new world yet keep sharp skills I’ve spent so long developing. This is an historic time that is especially poignant for Americans. Most of the citizens of the States are very excited and looking forward to living under a President Obama administration. It is somewhat bittersweet that we can’t be in the States while he is leading the country. These past eight years, under the former Bush Administration, have been a time of fear, anxiety, and trepidation for the country and in fact the world. We all have tremendous anticipation for the next four years to come. In some respect, I will be missing out of a firsthand experience. General anxieties about healthcare, employment, travel, and maintaining a fitness routine flood my thoughts daily. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but hate taking oral contraception to regulate my cycle. School makes it impossible to start a family or afford a child. Through naturopathy, I hope to find an alternate solution for my PCOS. I’m proud of working with the Girl Scouts of the San Fernando Valley. I set up their curriculum and fostered positive girl to girl relations. My thoughts of working with the affiliated Girl Guides were crushed with the realization that my student status doesn’t allow for a work permit. I love to travel but have had to delay plans to explore Northern Africa with my parents and husband for years. Ideally, I’ll quell my wanderlust by travelling to Europe, Asia, and Africa during the summers when classes are out. I worry this goal will not be attainable. I’m not thoroughly optimistic that these next five years of school will allow the time or expense for exploration abroad. I’ve recently made changes in my lifestyle that benefit my health. They have enabled me to loose an excessive 50 lbs. I’ve become much more active. I realize that keeping up with my lifestyle will be hard because I will not be able to resume my gym routine for several weeks while we are getting settled. I worry that falling out of my routine will cause me to never get back on track. In spite of this, I have a healthy outlook. Loved ones are afforded comfort in that we used to live in California, which is three times farther from Midwest America than Toronto. The distance will inspire some to attain a passport and travel abroad for the first time. I am blessed to have their love and support for my future. I hope to show my nieces and nephews that a career in medicine is not out of reach. I’m optimistic that a warm, receptive, diverse faculty, staff, and student body will aide us in developing new community. There is potential to stay within the theatre arts loop by volunteering at box office or ushering. I’m mindful that Obama’s influence is sure to be felt worldwide, and planning is always in the works to fulfill lifelong travel dreams. This transition is giving me an invaluable opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. My education requires me to give in to my passion for community service and social activism. It also prompts me to face a fear of taking risks. Most importantly, naturopathic medicine gives me the chance to have a life of passion, educate others, and provide alternate options for their healthcare future. This is quite satisfying.