Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

I wrote a column over at the Cartoon Movement blog about drawing black people in cartoons, centered around a cartoon by Hajo that is causing a stir, and with input from some African cartoonist that contribute to the website.
The visual language of editorial cartoons has a long history steeped in racial stereotypes, which has led to both a laziness on behalf of artists in relying on outmoded depictions of people and a current hyper-sensitivity in the public to see what isn't there–or at least, what wasn't intended––when an artist overlaps a pun with a radioactive subtext. [Read the rest.]
Adding: Daryl Cagle also wrote about the controversy on his blog. He says:
Back [during the Delonas controversy], I suggested that every cartoonist should make a list of every racial stereotype to avoid regarding African-Americans, then go through the check list before putting pen to paper on any Obama cartoon, like a pilot goes through a check list before taking off in his plane.
I sense a tone in Daryl–one that a lot of editorial cartoonists have–in being dismissive of these complaints because of political correctness. But to apply his clunky metaphor to real life, shouldn't pilots have a checklist they go through before takeoff? For cartoonists, it may be the best way to avoid dive bombing their cartoon into a mountain labeled "cries of racism." I'll say that I'm not the fondest of what is sometimes called "PC" behavior and, most of all, I don't think cartoonists should lose their job or have a career sullied for drawing one ill-conceived comic. But maybe Daryl and other cartoonists could have a simple checklist composed of a single bullet point: Is this cartoon going to unnecessarily offend black people when I don't intend it to? If the answer is "yes" or "maybe" then you should think about your execution. Personally, I find it easy not to draw black people as monkeys.
05.09.2011 |


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