The above cartoon was posted at Townhall.com, and depicts President Barack Obama using the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin for political gain. To be sure, this isn’t the first time this lazy political cartoonist has exploited conservative feelings about race and black activists calling racism into question. It’s so easy to continue to pander to one’s base and recycle the same kind of racist cartoons when one’s creativity runs out.
The cartoon reminds Americans that black folks in political power must walk a fine line between speaking out on race issues and not appearing to pander to the African-American voting base. The depiction, while it’s offensive and a slap in the face to black Americans, also is a reflection of how this country’s first black president is viewed whenever he speaks out on issues such as racial discrimination and the latent resentment many in this country have regarding black folks.
This cartoon is offensive because had Trayvon Martin been a white kid, this cartoon would not have been drawn. If President Barack Obama were a conservative Republican white president and this was a dead black kid, these conservative activists would have painted that president as a compassionate Republican who indeed cares about the plight of people of color.
The cartoon is offensive because it implies that the issue of racial profiling is not a national conversation to be taken seriously by the country at large. It resonates with the latent idea among Republicans and conservatives that President Barack Obama’s discussions on race are solely used to maintain his popularity among African-Americans.
African-Americans have been part of this country’s history, triumphs, tragedies and success stories for more than 400 years and we deserve to have a president who is conscientious enough to understand that racial profiling and racism continue to be part of our daily lives. We deserve to have the country’s first black president to finally acknowledge the pain and suffering we all have felt with the Trayvon Martin killing and the fallout from a lackluster police department’s handling of the case.
What do you think of the cartoon?