Wow. This insanely racist cartoon ran today in the @ABQJournal, my hometown newspaper and the first place I ever worked. The paper has always had a conservative editorial board, but this is next-level. pic.twitter.com/QY60tBD1bQ— Kate Linthicum (@katelinthicum) February 8, 2018
A distasteful and utterly racist cartoon that was published in a newspaper in New Mexico is just another sign of how low the bar of decency has descended during the presidency of Donald Trump.
The cartoon, which appeared in the Albuquerque Journal, depicts a well-to-do white couple being held up by Latino members of the MS 13 gang, who are also flanked by a terrorist holding a sword and strapped with explosives, presumably a Muslim judging by the artist’s depiction.
The woman blurts out an unknown obscenity, while the man in the cartoon tells his significant other, “Now honey...I believe they prefer to be called 'Dreamers' ...or future Democrats…”
"Dreamers" is the term given to young immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children.
The cartoon only serves to perpetuate stereotypes and hatred of minority groups — a point that many observers have made regarding its contents.
New Mexico’s two Democratic U.S. Senators were quick to condemn the commentary.
Words and images are still hateful and offensive, even when they appear in a cartoon. The @ABQJournal should apologize.— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) February 8, 2018
Shame on the @ABQJournal for stooping to a new low and publishing a heinous and bigoted depiction of Dreamers in today’s paper that serves only to sow division in our community.— Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) February 7, 2018
The cartoon “serves only to sow division in our community,” wrote Sen. Martin Heinrich.
Heinrich is right — the imagery from the cartoon plays into ideas about immigrants that are meant to divide. The cartoon is also wrong in its assumption that immigrants are criminally inclined; data suggests that violent crime is not tied to immigration, and studies have proven that immigrants actually commit less crime, on average, than the U.S. citizenry overall.
The cartoonist, Sean Delonas, has not yet responded to the large outcry against his creation. He does have a history of creating controversial cartoons, however, with racist, bigoted, or otherwise hateful sentiments, ranging from images comparing gay marriage to bestiality, to terrorists celebrating election wins by Democrats.
It isn’t surprising to see his latest creation take on similar attitudes. What is surprising to many in the community, however, is the Journal’s choice to publish it. The newspaper has a history of supporting a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers," which runs counter to this cartoon’s depiction.
Journal Editor-in-Chief Karen Moses attempted to explain her paper’s policy regarding controversial views published in the paper.
“Our editorial pages offer views from all sides of the spectrum, and we realize some of the content will offend readers,” she wrote.
We do not agree with many of those views, but their purpose is to spark discussion and debate. In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, nor does the Journal condone racism or bigotry in any form.
A robust debate on the issue of immigration, and how to best address the needs of young immigrants is to be expected. What isn’t acceptable, though, is seeing that debate devolve into dated stereotypes that fan the flames of racism, as this cartoon does.
It’s bad enough that a principle actor in Washington D.C. — President Donald Trump — already subscribes to these bigoted views. The debate doesn’t need to be tainted any further by cartoons like this one that appear on our nation’s editorial pages.