McClaurin Takes on a Political Satire & a Cartoon on WAYO “Up Close and Cultural”

The editorial cartoon, “A Field Guide to Liberals: Helping You Identify How They Identify,” shows images of an masculine face with pigtails and a bow under the caption “woman,” an image of Rachel Dolezal with an NAACP button–she was the white woman who presents herself as Black–and a caption that reads “African American,” Elizabeth Warren in a headband with feather and labeled “Indian,” and a final image of a dog next to the Warren image with the caption “And her cat!”

The Cartoon (Credit: the Augusta Chronicle)

Offensive? Without question.  But what is the real message here? And can critique be funny?  Does this cartoon illustrate how power, privilege, and agency operate? That is, white male cartoonists dominate newspapers across the country–they are syndicated, and paid big bucks. But political cartoons carry messages–and generally they are aligned with conservative, Republican politics.  Only in magazines like The Nation or newspapers like The Guardian, are cartoons with opposing view points to be found.

This cartoon is a dig at the identities of marginalized people–transgendered, African American, Native American, and implies that they are not authentic. It is an attack on women. It is not accidental that the image of Warren is wearing a button emblazoned with “Women 2020.” At a time when women are leading as political candidates, and just days away from November 6, attacking the credibility of certain identities and women seems quite a political strategy!

Should such cartoons be published, if they denigrate certain groups? Does not publishing them stop the mindset of the people who agree with the cartoonists–that  such identities (transgender, African American, Native American (“Indian”) are all fakes? Is it better to have such thoughts aired publicly so we know what is on the minds of some, or should they be censored and newspapers punished for publishing viewpoints that differ vastly from  our own?

These were some of the questions tackled on the Rachel DeGuzman show, “Up Close and Cultural” on WAYO Radio of Rochester, NY. Listen Below.