Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hypersensitivism

That might not be a word but for today we are going to pretend it is for all intents and purposes.

Root word is hypersensitive and all it means is that someone is excessively sensitive to something. Most of the time this word is looked at negatively because being excessive towards anything is usually a problem, not to mention being sensitive is looked down upon by many in society. So when you stick the two together it's very difficult trying to convince some that the word  itself is not something to always be looked at as negative.

Which brings us to this monkey business from the New York Post.

Everyone has their opinions on how others should feel about it. I can't speak for anyone else but I will say this....as a general rule, when you put something out for public consumption and you want it to be interpreted a specific way, it is your social responsibility to convey EXACTLY what you want people to get. If you don't, and you leave things up to others interpretation, that's your fault. We can all assume the artists meant something negative...that goes without saying. 

I think it's a little uncalled for to start labeling Black/African American people hypersensitive because of the interpretation that can be logically associated with the picture. One of my friends said the other day if someone has a piece of toilet paper on their shoe and 5 people have stopped them on the way back to their seat to tell them they have toilet paper on their shoe, of course they are going to somewhat snap if the a 6th person stops them. The 6th person might be trying to tell them something else but after 5 people in a row have said the same, it's kind of hard for the person with toilet paper on their shoe to even want to believe that.

Same thing with Black/African American people...if they experience things on a day to day basis that mirror racism, discrimination, some form of segregation (just because it's illegal doesn't mean it doesn't still exist) and then see this, the first thing to pop in their head is not going to be "Oh, what a funny cartoon". Granted, that isn't EVERY Black/African American but it is a lot of them.  Personally, I think if the monkey was supposed to represent Congress, the artist had a responsibility to make that known. If it was supposed to represent Obama, same responsibility. If it was just supposed to represent a dumb ass monkey, hey, still his social responsibility.

Don Imus got suspended from his job for calling a basketball team of predominantly Black/African American women, nappy headed hoes. If he had said this in conversation with a friend at dinner in a private setting, hey that's on you Imus. Not that it makes it any better but that's a private conversation. Being a disc jokey and saying it publicly for everyone to hear, bad idea. There is a social responsibility people in the media have and it's about time they started acknowledging it.

My blog is of no real importance on a scale of media relevance but should millions everywhere start reading it and commenting, I too have a social responsibility to watch EVERYTHING I write. Kind of stifles the whole freedom of speech thing but it reminds you of one thing: ACCOUNTABILITY.

We are all entitled to view things as we want at the end of the day but if we have "the public" to answer to, it would do well to watch what we say and write.

10 points of view:

ChiChi10 said...

Totally agree. If he wanted the cartoon to come across as a jab at Congress, that should have been made clearer. And even if it was, people could still be talking shit based on their interpretation anyways. I mentioned Don Imus in my blog today, too.

Ms_Slim said...

Not sure why I just saw this post, but this was the best line of the whole thing and GREATLY summarizes why this whole picture thing went from 'comical' to a 'complete fiasco' all within a matter of days:

"as a general rule, when you put something out for public consumption and you want it to be interpreted a specific way, it is your social responsibility to convey EXACTLY what you want people to get. If you don't, and you leave things up to others interpretation, that's your fault."

The coworkers and I were just talking about it too. Folks callin us "sensitive" is a bit much considering the history behind the monkey and black undertones AND the damn Stimulus being linked to Obama in the first place. I addressed the dynamic of this picture and its interpretation in my blog today as well.

JaeSpenc said...

Then knew EXACTLY what they were doing. They know that "monkey" is a derogatory term [previously] used in reference to "African Americans"...

They knew that there would be this level of upheaval (sp?). It's senseless and quite disturbing to see this monkey full of bullet holes and then a reference to something that was just passed by our prez.

They saw the "crazy monkey" story as a way to "kill two birds with one..." you know the rest. It's tasteless, classless, and just blatantly disgusting.

CaramelKisses said...

i agree, i truly agree!!!!

great post!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

well said an my post today is on that regarding the NY post cartoon. i dont think it is important, its just a cartoon, we some mixed up folks

Assertive Wit said...

@ everyone: I haven't gotten a chance to read a lot of your posts in regards to this cartoon but I'll get to it this weekend. I told a friend of mine that sometimes I wish EVERY race could experience what it feels like to be stereotyped simply based off what they look like and the color of their skin, every day of their life. I bet a LOT would change...a lot of Black/African American people beg to differ on this but what Black/African American people experience on a day to day basis, Jews experienced to a large degree at one point in time and although it might appear to "us" that they are on the "winning team", that's all it is, what it looks like to us. They still experience some of the same things we do at times. I don't downplay anyones experiences with blatant prejudice, regardless of their skin color or how long they were oppressed...it isn't right for anyone to be enslaved or treated like a lesser individual...whether it was for 300 years or 30.

ChiChi: you are right, even if he did CLEARLY state what the monkey represented, someone would have interpreted it their own way.

Slim: the word "sensitive" has been known to get a lot of people in "trouble" simply because it is looked at as being a negative trait...personally, I feel there is nothing wrong with being sensitive to certain things; we all see things very differently and if something is in fact a sensitive spot to you, it should be no problem admitting it...unfortunately, people attach some kind of weakness to people who are "sensitive".

JaeSpence: I think with some people Jae, they sincerely don't look at this like it's a big deal because IT ISN'T TO THEM. They haven't experienced anything that would cause them to be rubbed the wrong way by this so they rightfully want to know "what's the big deal". I agree it was very tasteless but if the people who are responsible for publishing this cartoonists work does not see the weight of what he did, it's just going to be something else that gets brushed under the carpet.

CaramelKisses: thanks :)

Torrance: in the grand scheme of things, yes there are far more important things to focus on vs. this cartoon but I personally wouldn't go so far as to say it wasn't important. A million little things add up to one big issue so if little things like this continue to be filtered amongst the public, people will get the idea that it's okay to offend others at will...and it isn't, ESPECIALLY when your job involves the general public.

Dubbskii said...

I just found your blog and couldn't agree more with your perspective on this situation. At the end of the day the accountability lies with you.

Allweez said...

The lame @ss apology the Post gave for running the cartoon only made matters worse. It came across as very patronizing.

Kofi Bofah said...

Personally, I was not feeling that cartoon.

DLG said...

AMEN!

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