What the Trayvon Cartoon Reveals About White America
Stephanie Eisner created this cartoon for the University of Texas publication, The Daily Texan. Despite those arguments which proclaim how good and humanistic she is; the cartoon is a very racist effort. She was then fired from the campus paper and expelled from the university. While the content speaks for itself, it is interesting to note Eisner’s response. While claiming she is not a racist, she claims that she is trying to stimulate conversation. Even the author of the article, John Hambrick, tries to blame the backlash on a lack of insight and the forces of political correctness. However, in reality they both reflect the level of obliviousness many white people have regarding race in America; to most white people it’s just not that serious. Even up to the point of a Black person’s death, the gist of the cartoon and the Hambrick article is that everyone is overreacting. This lack of real concern about the racism that Blacks face in America is why a small group of white supremacists can become a dangerous force; the whites who may not be racist don’t take anti-black racism seriously. That is why there always polls that show a disparity between Black and white attitudes regarding racism. As long as the majority of whites do not take these issues seriously there will always be an opportunity for white supremacists to hijack corporate board rooms and government offices to promote their racist agendas. This is also why Blacks in particular and non-racists in general must always remain vigilant and quick to act.
Although some have tried to make this about freedom of speech, that is again not the issue. After all, the cartoon did publish, unlike so many other individuals who create cartoons that are not published. Moreover, what people like Hambrick and Eisner are upset about is the consequences to exercising free speech. The real issue is opposed to the arguments of her defenders and supporters who seek to have her reinstated into the university. Although she has the right to free speech (within reason, of course), she is not immune from the results of her speech. Just as she has the right to comment as she sees fit, others have the same right to comment on her work.