I am a proud native of Southern Illinois and I would like to convey my absolute disgust in your choice to publish a reductive, race-baiting political cartoon by Glenn McCoy visually comparing the rejection of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to the racist persecution experienced by a young black girl in New Orleans in the 1960s. The implications of this cartoon are apparent to anyone – in the original work by Norman Rockwell, “n*****” is scrawled on the side of the building. Here, it is replaced by the word “conservative.” Comparing the wholesale rejection of a public servicewoman by both major political parties to the visceral disenfranchisement of Jim Crow racism is not only appalling, it’s inaccurate and misguided. Choosing to publish it is even worse. These are not normal times. Though I support free speech, I do not support hate speech, and I also believe it is the responsibility of the free press to acknowledge its role in publishing images that can be easily co-opted to spread the already-raging wildfire of hate in this country. Not only that, as the daughter of a public school teacher and a graduate of Carbondale public schools, I know that Betsy DeVos does not reflect the values and principles of our teachers or students on either side of the political aisle. I can only hope that the BND will fill its essential role as a public and compassionate source of news and constructive, dissenting opinion with greater maturity next time.
Emily Dennis, Carbondale