February 25, 2009

Dear You!

Here is the letter that our smooth loved singer John Legend wrote to the post:
Dear Editor:

I’m trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for
publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee
that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest
that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery
legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged,
violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger
community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion would
imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged
chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving
death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that
blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of
racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful
themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that’s not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully
ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it
is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly
provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most
reasonable Americans. Either way, you should not have printed this
cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can’t
imagine what possible justification you have for this. I’ve read your
lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you
for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity
to attack Rev. Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It’s about
the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what
you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and
consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I
hope you experience some real consequences for it. I’m personally
boycotting your paper and won’t do any interviews with any of your
reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment
business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously
reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this
cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been

I’m well aware of our country’s history of racism and violence, but I
truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise
above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don’t
need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride
the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel
free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so
without the incendiary images and rhetoric.

John Legend


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