Skip to main content

View Diary: Ted Rall was on the radio discusing DKOS censorsip (266 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Calling him a racist is the problem, with (10+ / 0-)

    reasonable doubt that he is. That opinion is subject to variation, but Rall (and those who have objected to the definitive claim that his drawings were intended to be racist, or even were so, despite understandable sensitivities re the latter) is being accused of a pretty heinous crime for a progressive, and many here are blithely asserting that his images AND his motivation are clear for all to see, as though Rall were some Teabagger state senator circulating that clearly racist bone-in-his-nose witch doctor image we all know and loathe.

    Accusations of outright racism are merited in some cases. This is not one of them. Sensitivity to and opinions about the images? Perfectly understandable. But to claim Rall or his defenders are racists is offensive and vile, without far more evidence than the claim his Obama nose was drawn a little different than most of his others have been. I don't know what's in Rall's heart. Maybe he IS a racist. But progressives should not be able to level such a charge with as much libelous certainty, at a fellow progressive, as I've seen here, without more proof than their subjective interpretation of those examples of Rall's art work.

    "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Kombema on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:08:36 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  For me, the damning thing wasn't the drawing. (35+ / 0-)

      The drawing, I thought, could be an unintentional choice; while I definitely saw the resemblance of Rall's rendition of President Obama to an ape (and very little resemblance to President Obama), I didn't think at first that he had intended anything by it. I did, however, think he owed it to the community to take the community's critiques seriously, consider them carefully, and as a result change the way he depicted President Obama.

      But instead he wrote about it, multiple times, and doubled and tripled down on the rendition. That proved to me not that he's a racist, but that he has a hell of a lot of uninterrogated white privilege to go along with his large (and rather unwarranted, in my opinion) ego.

      That he considered himself to be an authoritative source on what is and is not racist, and that he considered himself to be qualified to tell African-Americans what they should think is racist, and that he did not even stop to consider the possibility that the people of color who said they were offended by his work might have a point, was extremely damning, in my opinion.

      I'm not saying he's a racist, but I am saying he's no anti-racist. An anti-racist would have read the critiques, educated him- or herself about the history of depictions of African-Americans, apologized to this community, and pledged to draw President Obama differently in the future.

      That Rall chose instead to double down and storm off in a huff because some people of color dared to suggest that they were qualified to critique his work, indicates to me that he should have to prove that he's done a great deal of self-examination  before he should be welcomed into any progressive community, because if that community does include people of color, he risks fracturing it to pieces with his unexamined and unconsidered white privilege.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:37:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ^^This^^ (16+ / 0-)

        Rall's GBCW diary (and yes, it was GBCW) and his comments in that diary were what convinced me.

        I can't say it any better than you have. Thanks.

      •  He was piled on well before he defended himself. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward, corvo, kurt

        If you were accused of racism, and had been the subject of many weeks of deliberate trolling and provocation, you might have dug your heels in as well.

        That Rall chose instead to double down and storm off in a huff because some people of color dared to suggest that they were qualified to critique his work, indicates to me that he should have to prove that he's done a great deal of self-examination  before he should be welcomed into any progressive community, because if that community does include people of color, he risks fracturing it to pieces with his unexamined and unconsidered white privilege.
        If the reality had been as benign as you portray it, I might agree. But he was subject to quite a bit of vitriol and abuse well before the racism accusations got trotted out. I would agree that the best scenario would have been the one you portray, but that's not how it went down, sad to say.

        "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Kombema on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:49:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He can't control others' actions. (24+ / 0-)

          He can only control his own.

          He had the option to honestly listen to people who completely agreed with his critiques of President Obama's policies but who found his portrayal of President Obama distasteful.

          Had he apologized and pledged to do things differently, it would likely have been seen by many in this community, including those who were on the fence about him, as a bold and wise thing to do, something that demonstrated that he took this community seriously as his equals.

          Instead, he made it clear that he sees this site not as fellows, but as an audience—an audience who should consider ourselves fortunate that he was gracing us with his presence and work. His ego got in the way, and he made it clear that he thinks the opinions of others—even others who are much, much more qualified than him to speak authoritatively on a given topic—are completely unworthy of his consideration.

          Given that the topic at hand was racism and particularly what qualifies as racially offensive, Mr. Rall's considering himself an authoritative voice on all topics was absolutely wrapped up in white privilege, in his deciding that he was qualified to dictate to people of color what was really racially offensive and what wasn't.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:00:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sure you meant to say what SOME people of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SpecialKinFlag, Brecht

            color might think was racially offensive, right? Because I know you nor anyone else would propose to speak for all POCs, since that would be inaccurate. There certainly are some AAs who did not think that was a racist or racially offensive depiction, even as we can respect the honest feelings of those who did.

            Ted Rall and Comics: A Discussion

            "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Kombema on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:50:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure where you saw me write... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              churchylafemme

              ...that all people of color found Rall's portrayal of President Obama offensive.

              Because what I actually wrote was that he wrote as if he had the right to dictate to all people of color what was and wasn't racially offensive, because he wrote as if he had the right to dictate to everyone what was and wasn't racially offensive.

              I highlighted people of color in particular because that makes Mr. Rall's smarm that much more problematic. That he seems to feel as if he's qualified to dictate to other white people what is and isn't racially offensive, as if he were the authority on the matter, is questionable enough, given that it's obvious that he hasn't bothered to educate himself on the topic.

              But the fact that he wrote as if he was qualified to dictate that to people of color as well—people who, unlike Rall, cannot avoid the reality of systemic and institutional racism in our culture, and who can thus be expected to be a bit more aware of racially offensive allusions than Mr. lily-white Rall—was where he crossed over from "smarmy entitled ego" to "evidence of significant unexamined white privilege."

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:05:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Insightful blog (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              I see they're running with the "banned" meme too.

              Ava: This holiday weekend, The Daily Kos 'celebrated' by banning Ted Rall.
            •  That link introduces opinions I haven't seen here (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kombema

              so thanks for at least a new flavor of pie. Now it makes me curious how other blogs are talking about this whole affair.

              I found some of the ideas in that interview thought-provoking - especially the reactions Isaiah got to different cartoons.

              Taste is so subjective. Tom Tomorrow strikes me, frequently, as such an excellent cartoonist - way better than Isaiah, in several respects. And yet:

              Tom Tomorrow, among others, was so disappointing, that I really started ignoring other comics.
               

              I understand the hurt that kossacks feel at racist portrayals of Obama, and at all the ignorance so many whites have about real fairness and sensitivity. But I don't understand why this is the urgent discussion we're still having a week later, given all the ways this country is ripping apart the real lives of black people (among many other groups) at so many levels.

              Shouldn't we at least be pie-fighting over fixing our schools, courts, prisons, governments . . .

              Maybe we're fighting about ape-like Obamas on Daily Kos because it's one small thing we can fix - it's just so much smaller than the real problems destroying America's future, it seems to me. Well, I guess waking up the few who are still listening to this pie-fight, the miniscule few who are still making up their minds, does some good in the world, maybe.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 06:52:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht
                I understand the hurt that kossacks feel at racist portrayals of Obama, and at all the ignorance so many whites have about real fairness and sensitivity. But I don't understand why this is the urgent discussion we're still having a week later, given all the ways this country is ripping apart the real lives of black people (among many other groups) at so many levels.

                Shouldn't we at least be pie-fighting over fixing our schools, courts, prisons, governments . . .

                Though the reason we're having the "discussion" weeks later is because enthusiastic Obama fans have been searching for something, anything else to talk about other than NSA spying, drones, and (until recently) how bad the ACA roll-out was going -- and a way to attack critics of Obama as "Rall-like" bigots. They're leaping at the chance to change the subject, and thus perpetuating the "meta" tempest in a teapot.

                "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                by Kombema on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:46:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Racism isn't about intent. (16+ / 0-)

      Bigotry is.  You can draw racist caricatures without being either a racist or a bigot.  There is a history of racist caricatures that are similar to what Rall drew, and even if he was completely ignorant of that history, his drawings fed into that narrative.

      As I said in an earlier diary, I have no idea whether Rall is a bigot or a racist, but that doesn't really matter.

      •  That's his style for all - but we're not censoring (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kombema, CenPhx, mike101, koNko

        First, Rall is a progressive.  I commented before that Rall draws everybody that way:

        Context matters.  That said, there's more than one context here:  there's (1) the context of Rall's work, and then there's (2) the context of our country's history -- which continues today -- of caricaturing black people.

        It's obvious that Rall is not a racist; quite the contrary, if you know his work.  But it's perfectly acceptable for the DK community to reject his drawings due to context #2 above.  (and that's true even if there was some unfair piling-on and disingenuousness toward Rall from some quarters)

        Is it censorship for us to do that?  No, we've simply asked that Rall draw Obama differently.  I can see why he'd decline.  But that's still not the same as us censoring him. We're not saying he can't express his views, which are very much in line with much of the criticism of Obama expressed here.  We're just asking Rall not to do -- say -- the equivalent of throwing around the word "niggardly" indiscriminately, when "penny-pinching" or any number of other expressions would do.  Actually, what we're asking is more reasonable than that example.

        Rall has opted out of DK.  That's not the same as censorship.  However, I think we could have been more diplomatic with him.  We were clear why we didn't want him drawing Obama that way -- the greater context, #2 above -- but we didn't acknowledge #1, the more local context of his work, which cannot fairly be called racist.  OTOH, for Rall to persist as he has without acknowledging the greater context is either dense or disingenuous.

        "Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so." - Robert Ingersoll

        by dackmont on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:19:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. By "persist as he has", I mean criticizing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kombema

          DK and complaining of censorship.

          "Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so." - Robert Ingersoll

          by dackmont on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:22:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  In this example he didn't draw the woman that way. (7+ / 0-)

          Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature. If I had Bill Gates money, I'd buy Detroit.

          by ZenTrainer on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:34:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So maybe he draws pols he doesn't like that way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema

            I could totally see him just drawing pols that way.  Like the way Oliphant and Herblock drew Nixon and his crew as thuggish.  Nixon always had the 5 o'clock shadow.  (With Oliphant anyway....and that awesome ski-slope nose.  Herblock gave Nixon a "free shave" at some point, and drew him without the shadow from then on, just because Herblock was a mensch.)

            So, sure, maybe Rall doesn't draw EVERYONE that way.  But I don't think that changes my point about Rall's drawing of Obama in "local context", the context of his own work.  Rall's not racist at all, and the very suggestion is unfair.  Nor, though, does it change what I think re the larger context -- the racist history of this country.  In the latter, our complaint about Rall's depiction of Obama is legit, imo, even if other people haven't complained to Rall about it.  We have our standards, and I'm glad they're more sensitive/stringent on racism than what passes in much of the rest of society.

            (Just saying -- not suggesting you were necessarily implying otherwise)

            Cheers

            "Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so." - Robert Ingersoll

            by dackmont on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:55:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site