Last week, Baratunde Thurston and I appeared on MSNBC together to talk about the infamous NY Post chimp cartoon. Since then, we have been having the national conversation about race that Eric Holder wanted us to (he didn't call us directly, we just inferred from his comments).
Baratunde came up with the idea of doing a series of You Tube videos on this so that we can explain ourselves a little more fully. He did Part I over the weekend. You can check it out by clicking here.
We agree on a lot, but our differences lie in what we emphasize. And I am emphasizing reaching out to all Americans, including and especially white Americans. If the NY Post cartoon is racist, then it's white Americans that we have to convince of that case. And ironically, calling it racist is the worst way to do that.
For some strange and interesting reason, many white folks I've talked to will defend the cartoon as if they drew it. They keep saying the same thing, "I don't see what all the fuss is about." It is my point below in Part II of this You Tube conversation that we should help them see:
I know it seems a little hokey but we are also asking you to join the conversation here. I have shared this series with my friends. And so far they are largely on Baratunde's side (why am I not surprised?). They think this cartoon is so clearly racist that it passes my reasonable doubt test. Based on reactions I have gotten from others, I'm not so sure. But I'm learning something with every conversation we have on this topic.
Most importantly, sharing these perspectives gets us closer to a common vision. I almost think this national conversation thing is starting to work. So, to paraphrase Salt-n-Pepa, let's talk about race, baby!