Editorial Cartoon in Belleville News-Democrat Causes Nationwide Stir

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – An area newspaper recently published an editorial cartoon by cartoonist Glenn McCoy that many are calling “racist,” “disgusting” and “shameful.”

Monday’s edition of the Belleville News-Democrat included the cartoon, which appears to liken President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to the first black child to attend an all-white school in the South, Ruby Bridges.

In the famous Norman Rockwell painting “The Problem We All Live With,” 6-year-old Ruby is shown being escorted into school by U.S. Marshals while facing an angry, taunting white mob.

McCoy tells KMOX’s Carol Daniel he used the Rockwell piece as a reference for the cartoon.

“I was seeing events play out that were similar, and I just felt it was a good metaphor,” he says. “My cartoon was basically about the anger of some mobs towards people who they disagree with. I felt that there was some parallels that could be drawn and maybe used to spark conversation.”

Here is a comparison of the two:

The cartoon comes days after protesters in Washington D.C. blocked DeVos from entering a public school while chanting, “Shame!” Security guards helped escort her through the crowd.

DeVos was widely criticized during her confirmation process. Her nomination inspired protests around the country, the Huffington Post reports, with critics asserting that she was unfamiliar with basic education policy and intent on dismantling the traditional education system.

Many are furious at McCoy and his cartoon:

News outlets natonwide have picked up the story, including The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed News and USA Today:

The newspaper is getting flack on Twitter and its own Facebook page for publishing the cartoon. Readers ask not only for an apology, but also the firing of McCoy.

McCoy, a cartoonist for the Belleville News-Democrat and hundreds of other publications nationwide, has been a cartoonist for about 25 years.

He says he wasn’t looking at the cartoon through the same lens as some of the critics.

“It just seemed kind of surreal that we have moved so far beyond [the Civil Rights protests] in time, but we’re still seeing people being denied the right to speak freely at college campuses or inter-public buildings because of their beliefs,” McCoy says. “And so, in that context, I thought that there were some comparisons that could be drawn.”

The political atmosphere today is toxic, he says, and admits maybe he should have been more careful with the image that he chose.

“My cartoon wasn’t hateful … if anything it was anti-hate,” McCoy says. “That was the message of the cartoon is that we shouldn’t heap this kind of abuse on someone just for doing their job.”

(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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