I am writing to you regarding the publication of Glenn McCoy’s cartoon. While I believe in freedom of the press and free speech, I do take offense at the cartoon’s message. In a Facebook comment, the artist said: “My cartoon was about how, in this day and age, decades beyond the civil rights protests, it’s sad that people are still being denied the right to speak freely or do their jobs or enter public buildings ...”
The civil rights movement has not ended; it is an endeavor that continues to this day. The civil rights movement did not stop because schools became desegregated. Look back at the last eight years and the millions of Americans that have come out in protest against racism and hate in this country.
While I applaud the artist’s desire to call out hate, his co-opting of the story and struggles of Ruby Bridges is appalling. At a young age, she endured something that most of us could never have endured. She is not only a symbol of struggle for African-Americans but is an American hero. By co-opting Bridges’ narrative, the artist has denigrated her place in the civil rights movement and minimized her role and place in U.S. history.
Betsy Devos’ “struggle” was just a single day. Bridges endured years of hate for simply wanting to go to school. McCoy’s cartoon compares apples to oranges and is tantamount to “alternative facts” or “fake news.” As a member of the press, your organization should be concerned with facts and not pushing alternative histories with no basis in reality.
Keith A. Preble, Rotterdam, N.Y.