July 19, 2004

Project 21 Condemns Cartoonist for Racist Strip

I'm quoted prominently in a new release from Project 21; the release goes after Ted Rall's strip that refers to Condoleezza Rice as a derrogatory racial slur.

At the same time, the silence over this from the "Soul Patrol" is deafening.

Because of the racially-insensitive content of a recent cartoon, members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 are asking Universal Press Syndicate to cease the distribution of comics drawn by Ted Rall. Project 21 also is challenging several other civil rights-oriented groups to join in the demand.

A July 1 comic by Rall suggests "appropriate punishments for deposed Bushists" that parodies alleged treatment of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. The panel featuring Bush Administration national security advisor Condoleezza Rice has her saying "I was Bush's beard! His house nigga. His" She is interrupted by a character wearing a shirt reading "You're not white, stupid" who says, "Now hand over your hair straightener."

"Is it OK for Ted Rall to use such vile language because he's using it against a black conservative?" asks Project 21 member Michael King. "I'm beside myself with anger over this comic."

Project 21 is asking Universal Press Syndicate, the distributor of Rall's comics, to immediately terminate their relationship with him. Project 21 is also asking the NAACP, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to make similar demands based on their past involvement in pressuring ESPN to fire radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh in 2003.

Last year, in his capacity as a football commentator for ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown," Limbaugh criticized the performance of Philadelphia Eagle's quarterback Donovan McNabb, saying, "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well." Afterwards, NAACP president and CEO Kweisi Mfume called Limbaugh's comments "bigoted and arrogant" and called for his removal. The NABJ demanded ESPN "separate itself" from Limbaugh. Rainbow/PUSH Coalition president Jesse Jackson called the remarks "not accurate andinsulting." Limbaugh later resigned.

"From radical poet Amiri Baraka to singer Harry Belafonte and now cartoonist Ted Rall, too many people feel they have free rein to insult the dignity of Condoleezza Rice and have no problem injecting race into that abuse," adds King. "It's time for the civil rights establishment to stop allowing this assault on an accomplished black woman or they put their credibility at risk."

Is it OK for Rall to do this because Rice is a conservative black person? You know as well as I do that if Rall had used the same term to describe Jesse Jackson or Sheila Jackson-Lee or some other member of the Soul Patrol that there would be such an uproar that Universal Press would have yanked everything that Rall had done. Not only that, but Rall would be publicly excoriated and virtually excomunicated from the entirity of Western culture.

So what's the difference?

What makes it right here and wrong at any other point?

If I get no reply -- or worse yet, a negative reply from the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH and the NABJ, then, at least as far as I'm concerned, they will have shown their true agenda to the world: that if one is black and conservative, that we are to be treated as blacks were treated at the beginning of last century. That we are lower than human. And that it is OK to treat us in such a fashion.

I, for one, won't take it lying down. Will you?

For those who haven't seen the cartoon:

Posted by mhking at July 19, 2004 09:27 AM

You keep us posted on this? I of course don't think I'll ever see anything in the press but hopefully Rall will get his.

What happens if the NAACP won't back it's own? Can we start a movement to get them to lose tax exempt status as a partisan orginization?

Posted by: nochizmo at July 19, 2004 10:12 PM

I'm right behind you, Michael. There's a new generation yet to cultivate, people like you are right on the front lines for them, God speed.

Posted by: Michael Gallaugher at July 19, 2004 10:30 PM

Despite being horribly offensive, this is really a poorly drawn and not funny cartoon. Keep up the fight! Gov. Schwarzennegar gets national media for playing off an SNL skit and Lott gets called to the carpet by other conservatives. But Bobby Byrd's comments, Hillary (Ghandi works at a gas station ) comment and this get no play from the major media.

Posted by: GMoore at July 20, 2004 11:44 AM

ted rall is a revolting, minimally talented, grossly misinformed deviant. Why he should be printed in any newspaper is beyond me. what crap.

Posted by: kevin barry at November 24, 2004 10:10 AM
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