de la Cova is definitely not speechless…

From: Antonio de la Cova, Ph.D.
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.


12 thoughts on “de la Cova is definitely not speechless…”

  1. Brilliant retort. I wonder if the Washington Compost will have the guts to print the good professor’s letter in its entirety. If they print it, it’ll be under the headline, “WaPo Cartoon Used as Classroom Aid.” 🙂

  2. Oye! I went to the wrong Universities because De La Cova did not sound like my commi proff’s. I salute him with shock and awe as he revels in the truth of the matter. For those who read the correction directed at an untruthful entity will surely reorganize their thoughts and perhaps see reality through the eyes of a Cuban exile in Miami!

  3. He cc’d me on it, and I replied, thanking him for writing the letter I wish I had written.
    It is not so much that I find it offensive, but like Ziva said, what if it was a bunch of “hook nosed” caricatures, with peyes, yarmulkles, tallitots and a shofar? Or some dark nappy headed figures with big lips, watermelons and fried chicken buckets? Even the Muslims got press over the Mohammed cartoons.

  4. Let’s not get into Justice Brothers mode demanding people be fired. The only thing that does is teach the younger sly ones to better hide their true thoughts. This is a a great opportunity for retorts such as Dr. de la Cova’s to publicly, rationally, and eloquently tear down these twisted notions. Let them fear espousing their rhetoric as fact because of their inability to back it up past caricatures. Let’s not feed said caricatures.

  5. That’s a great letter! I’m glad that Dr. de la Cova mentioned Thomas Nast, because that’s the only cartoonist’s work that comes to mind when viewing Oliphant’s outrageous sketch.
    Anyhow, since we don’t have an anti-defamation league to look after our own interests and to write a letter of protest complete with institutional letterhead to the various papers that published this racist crap, it would behoove us all to write letters.
    By the way, it has always bothered me that Cubans are not institution builders. It’s at a moment like this that we need an institution that could take out full-page ads in various papers denouncing this crap. That’s why the Washington Post et al., treat us the way that they do, because they know that we don’t have the means to protect ourselves. Believe me, at a time like this an NAACP, a LULAC, a MALDEF, a B’nai Brith, a Gay National Task Force or a National Organization of Women would make a big difference!

  6. Oliphant knows perfectly well (or should, unless he’s just an ignorant cartoonist who’s been lucky) that Batista is LONG dead (1973) and not even buried in Cuba. Batista was never even remotely as popular as the dictator Peron was (and apparently remains) in Argentina, and his distinct lack of popularity in Cuba was crucial to Castro getting anywhere.
    To imply or suggest, as Oliphant clearly does, that Cuban-Americans are Batista lovers is a malicious, defamatory, and vile misrepresentation, and I think it was done knowingly and deliberately. It’s too gross to be any sort of “slip,” and in my opinion it amounts to libel. It would be both very fitting and very useful for him to be called on it formally via legal action.
    The Washington Post, of course, also knows perfectly well that this cartoon is WAY out of line, and it would never dare publish something similar involving blacks, Jews, Mexicans or any other “proper” or “approved” minority. The Post simply figures it’s safe to do this to Cuban-Americans because the MSM and the liberaloid establishment not only condones it but PROMOTES it on a routine basis.
    By the way, Val, have you made sure Professor Carlos Eire knows about this?

  7. I trust Dr. de la Cova will inform us if his letter is published and in what form. However, I’m not exactly holding my breath. At best, it’ll run in a significantly abridged version, surrounded by letters from people essentially supporting Oliphant’s position.

  8. Unfortunately, the cartoon is pretty accurate in that the way Mr Oliphant views Cubans is the way most Americans see Cuban Americans. We are viewed as mere nuisances, we will never get the credit that we deserve for the contributions we’ve made to this country. Just read the posting in other forums about Cubans. Don’t be fooled, even the Republicans only care about the fact that we help them win elections. I love the contradiction in the cartoon, eventhough it says we are mere nuisances it admits that we can determine the outcome of an election. Lets keep it up and screw people like Oliphant, his kind will never have a differnt opinion about us Cubans

  9. So, with all the Cuban-Americans in this country, why isn’t there an organization like the NAACP, etc.? We (Italian-Americans) have the Sons of Italy, which led campaigns and protests against the Sopranos for years because it degraded Italians. Of course they were unsuccessful, but we at least have advocates and a voice, and Cuban Americans should have one, too.

  10. For those of you left wondering, the Washington Post never replied to me. I did not expect them to respond, as this has been their usual behavior with Castro opponents for nearly half a century.
    Cuban exiles have created numerous civic and political institutions, yet the mainstream media neglects citing their leaders. Instead, they seek out Cuban pro-Castro activists and academics to quote them as representatives of the community. Just look at the track record of the Miami Herald on this issue.

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