From: Antonio de la Cova, Ph.D.
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Webnews@washingtonpost.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Pat Oliphant racist cartoon
The racist, anti-immigrant spirit of 19th century cartoonist Thomas Nast lives on today in the pages of The Washington Post.
In your August 22 edition, you published a Pat Oliphant syndicated cartoon of Cuban Americans being shoved back to their homeland in a crowded small boat by a grinning Uncle Sam, who refers to them as “nuisances.” A figure on the shore approvingly waves farewell. The outcasts are being told to “Say hello to Batista,” implying that they are all supporters of the Cuban strongman who died in 1973. Oliphant depicts the Cuban Americans as demanding “a chance to interfere with the ‘08 election.” The cartoonist mimics Cuban Communist propaganda stereotypical depictions of Cuban Americans as elderly, cantankerous people, with mustachioed men wearing Mafia-style fedora hats, dark eyeglasses, and smoking cigars. In contrast, when Fidel Castro announced last year that he was relinquishing power, most of the Cuban Americans who appeared in the news media celebrating and dancing in the streets of Miami were young people.
I am honestly grateful that you have published this cartoon, as it gives me the opportunity to show my students that a leading U.S. newspaper like The Washington Post is insensitive toward a politically-active Hispanic minority, which has four representatives and two senators elected to Congress in one generation, and turned Miami into a major American city. My students will now be able to have class discussion on how they would feel if Mr. Oliphant had drawn a similar scenario with African Americans being sent back to Africa by boat, American Jews being shipped off to Israel, or Mexican Americans being deported south of the border, while demanding to “interfere” in the upcoming American political process. As a class assignment, we will compare this cartoon with those made by Thomas Nast, showing the Irish as violent, ape-like, drunken creatures who “corrupted” U.S. elections.
My students will also be able to determine if The Washington Post is a truly liberal newspaper by publishing this inconsiderate cartoon and how Mr. Oliphant does not need to hide behind a white hood to express his racist views.
Antonio de la Cova, Ph.D.