Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fighting racism: Mr. President, please step forward!


Last Wednesday the New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas published a racist cartoon that consisted of two white police officers firing gunshots into a chimpanzee. The caption read, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

When I saw the caricature I was pissed! Being an African American that’s conscious I’m astute enough to know if they feel that way about the President they feel the same way about me! Just because we=2 0have an African American President doesn’t mean racism is on the decline folks. This situation is a reflection of racist attitudes that still exist in America.

I suggest you all wake up and smell the coffee.

After some public pressure from protesters and Rev. Al Sharpton the New York Post issued a half-hearted apology. They suggested they meant no malice towards President Obama.

Yeah right!

The newspaper even had the nerve to take exception with those who believed their cartoon was racist. The Post stated it was “most certainly was not its intent” to disrespect the President. They even had the audacity to accuse those like Sharpton as “opportunists” who didn’t deserve an apology. The Post stated, “To them no apology is due.”

In short, the New York Post is condoning racism and simultaneously taken issue with those who oppose it. What nerve!

Why hasn’t Obama stepped forward? He had no problem denouncing his former friend and Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The President said nothing when F.O.X. News’ Bill O’Reilly suggested getting a “lynchmob” out for his wife. He didn’t denounce the Clinton’s for their antics either. President Obama even gave Hillary a job!

By President Obama avoiding racism he’s subliminally denying its existence.
Word on the street is Obama didn’t speak out on racism during his campaign because he didn’t want to alienate white voters. But once he got in the White House he’ll say more.

He’s won the election. What’s the excuse now?

Perhaps he8 0s afraid to rock the racial boat. If that’s the case I’m sorry Mr. President, but boats need to be rocked!

Allow me to be clear. I don’t expect President Obama to confront every racist incident that occurs. His primary aim should be restoring the country former President Bush destroyed. But he’s the first African American President under the United States Constitution. That’s a big deal. He must understand the gravity of his achievement. Collectively we can’t think racism has ceased because Obama realized his dream. We know it hasn’t. Besides, there’s a reason why he’s had more secret service protection than any other President in history.

President Obama has the ability to move mountains. He got white America to vote him into the White House. If he got the white vote without question he can use his power educate those same people to battle racism.

What should he say?

He doesn’t have to raise a black gloved fist and profess “Black Power.” Regarding the cartoon he could say, “I’m saddened by the racist antics of the New York Post. I denounce the New York Post and so should you. I ask the American people to consistently denounce racism. Embrace one another like you’ve embraced me. America is moving in a different direction. Allow me to help show you the way towards racial understanding?”

How’s that?

Also, the few African Americans with platforms need to denounce any medium that disseminates racism. Nationally 92 percent of all disseminated information comes from a white male vantage point. Chances are there weren’t any African Americans on New York Posts staff that could’ve stopped the cartoon from running.

Locally the Journal Gazette or The News Sentinel can’t give racial situations like this justice either. When 97 percent of everything disseminated from both papers comes from white vantage points diversity can’t be achieved. Neither paper has any full-t ime African American’s on their staffs who write commentary. Locally you haven’t seen African Americans consistently writing commentary. But when you did it was me.

I had a freelance relationship with both papers. I kept it real there just like I do now. I’ll never compromise my passion or truth to appease the establishment because I know who I am.

Why am I saying this?

Bottom line: If I had a relationship at the New York Post the racist cartoon wouldn’t have run: if it did I’d tell them specifically what they could do with their paper. I’ve done it before.

If the paper thinks so little of the President Obama how do you think they would feel about me? That’s why it’s important to continue to fight racism and engage in constructive dialogue. There’s no better place to start this collective discussion than at the top.

Mr. President, please step forward.

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