Elected officials, protesters condemn 'racist' editorial cartoon | KOB 4

Elected officials, protesters condemn 'racist' editorial cartoon

J.R. Oppenheim
February 08, 2018 09:48 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- All five members of New Mexico's congressional delegation sharply criticized the Albuquerque Journal Thursday for publishing a syndicated cartoon they deemed "racist" and "bigoted," and the newspaper issued an apology after the resulting backlash.


Protesters also gathered outside the Journal building to show their disapproval of the cartoon.

The cartoon, drawn by cartoonist Sean Delonas and published on the Journal's opinion page Wednesday, depicts three men robbing a white couple. The male victim then says "Now, honey ... I believe they prefer to be called 'dreamers' ... or future Democrats ..."

The immigration debate, particularly about what to do with the so-called "dreamers," has become a hot-button issue. The term "dreamers" refers to people whose parents brought them to the United States as young children but have now grown into adulthood.

One robber in the cartoon is clad in a black vest featuring a skull and "MS 13," a reference to the Central American gang regularly referenced by President Donald Trump. A second robber appears to resemble a Muslim terrorist wielding a machete and wearing lit sticks of dynamite.

In a joint statement released Thursday, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Lujan in condemning the cartoon. The statement was also issued on behalf of Attorney General Hector Balderas.

Here is their statement:

"The day after the Journal editorialized to say 'our elected representatives in Washington should put aside some of the vitriol and make a real effort to come to agreement on an immigration reform package,’ the editors printed a cartoon that does the exact opposite.

"Instead of putting aside the vitriol, this cartoon feeds it.  It plays to the most false and negative stereotype of 'Dreamers,' which can only serve to enrage extremists. Instead of highlighting some middle ground that could be fertile for agreement, this cartoon pushes the two sides further into their respective corners.

"Aside from the obviously racist undertones of this cartoon – coming from an artist with a history of racist cartoons – its goal is clearly to destroy an immigration compromise, not to promote one.

"It's never the right time to refer to a group of nearly 800,000 people as criminals, especially when they are active members of our communities, including military service members, teachers, doctors, business owners and more.  And now is absolutely the wrong time to print such a divisive cartoon."

Several Latino organizations endorsed the statement from the New Mexico delegation.

Karen Moses, the editor in chief at the Journal, issued an apology for the cartoon. She said the intent of the opinion page is to encourage debate with the community, but she acknowledged the Delonas cartoon had the opposite effect.

"In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes," Moses wrote. "I repeat that the Albuquerque Journal does not condone racism or bigotry in any form."


J.R. Oppenheim

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