As I clicked onto the Jamaica Observer cartoon today, I was completely surprised to see the portrayal of Robert Mugabe as an ape. I immediately had a wide range of opinions on the issue, and so wanted to ask you if I’m overreacting?
It’s one thing when white supremacists on YouTube post racist comments under videos of news from Zimbabwe implying that black people are unfit to run our own countries. It is another thing entirely when a black cartoonist, in a country where over 90% of the population is black, chooses to portray an African leader as an ape – and to put the words “Black man time” on the ape as if to imply that the problems taking place in Zimbabwe are due to the color of the leader. And yes, I understand that it is also a way to tweak PJ Patterson. But PJ Patterson was democratically elected (repeatedly) and left power voluntarily, and is alive today as an ‘elder statesman.’
So my first thought is: This is racist! And if it had graced the pages of the New York Times, or the New York Post for that matter, there would be calls for the resignation of the cartoonist by the end of the day.
There have always been racial undertones to the depiction of King Kong, especially his relationship with the various white actresses portraying his ‘love interest’ over the years.
So I want to hear your opinion.
Am I overreacting, is it just a harmless cartoon?
Am I mistakenly bringing an American sensibility to a Jamaican issue?
Given the bleaching and pigment-complexes rampant in Jamaica, is it responsible to depict Afrocentric features as belonging to apes, monkeys, and baboons?
Is Clovis advocating a return to colonial rule for Zimbabwe (and Jamaica by extension)?
Would the Jamaica Observer publish a cartoon with similar racist overtones about Indians in Jamaica? Would the Butch-Stewart-owned Jamaica Observer depict white autocrats as animals and if so what type of animal?
As the Brits say comment is free.