Newspaper cartoon sparks controversy

A controversial cartoon featured in the St. Joseph News-Press this week is sparking outrage. Some are finding the cartoon's message offensive in light of nationwide protests and civil unrest across the country.

Posted: Jun 5, 2020 1:31 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2020 10:22 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A controversial cartoon featured in the St. Joseph News-Press this week is sparking outrage.

Some are finding the cartoon's message offensive in light of nationwide protests and civil unrest across the country.

“I saw the cartoon that was in the News-Press on Monday and was bothered and upset by it,” Community Action Partnership (CAP) Executive Director Whitney Lanning said.

It depicts a group of men in the foreground, mostly African-American, holding signs that seem to incite rioting and looting. One of the men is holding a large box carrying a TV.

In light of the George Floyd protests here in town and nationwide, many in the community felt this cartoon right now sends the wrong message.

“You could get mad at that and you would have every right to get mad at that,”

Some said they feel this cartoon doesn't tell the whole story of what's really going in the hearts and minds of people.

“Everyone who is protesting is not trying to riot,” St. Joseph resident David Foster said. “I got people in Atlanta right now peacefully protesting and all it took was one person who wanted to start a riot and then the whole area erupts. One of my brothers in Atlanta called me crying because he's like ‘that’s not what we’re trying to do.’”

They also said because this topic is divisive, it’s important people know where they stand.

“If you got 20 different people protesting, you might have 20 different agendas, so you better be careful who you are protesting with.”

Others wanted to take the situation into their own hands, the cartoon upset the Director of CAP so much to speak with someone about it in person.

“I felt it was important to have a discussion,” Lanning said.

While she may not want anyone fired over this, she hopes it can spark yet another conversation.

“CAP as a community action agency, we want to see education and advocacy and not necessarily want someone's head on a platter but really our goal would be for that person to be educated and informed and to prevent that from happening in the future,” Lanning said.

A similar cartoon appeared in a Columbia newspaper during protests in Ferguson, Missouri six years ago after the death of Michael Brown. The paper did issue an apology over the photo on it's website.

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