While I’m loathe to contribute to the attention given to Glenn McCoy’s misguided political cartoon equating Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Ruby Bridges, the child who desegregated her school six years after Brown v. Board of Education, I think it’s necessary to address the critical thinking errors in his cartoon, and how it reflects on the Belleville News-Democrat.
DeVos has nothing in common with Bridges. This is false equivalency. Bridges was a child who required a police escort to obtain her legal right to an education. DeVos is a grown woman with considerable financial and political power who took a job for which she is unqualified. There is a world of difference between people protesting an adult taking a job, and a child trying to fulfill her right to an education.
The word “Conservative” scrawled on the wall in McCoy’s work is not the equivalent of the N-word scrawled on the wall in Norman Rockwell’s original work. “Conservative” reflects one’s chosen political views. The N-word is a slur used against people based on their genetic predisposition for more melanin. This is akin to comparing a hangnail to a fatal knife wound.
I support McCoy’s right to publish his cartoons and express his views. I do not support the BND’s choice to publish his work. While I understand the cartoon is editorial in nature, the BND’s publication of it and the follow-up article crowing about the resulting media attention makes me question my local newspaper’s commitment to making unbiased journalism their priority over sensationalism and webpage clicks to generate advertising revenue.
I’m disappointed that I cannot trust my local newspaper to not stoop to such a low.
Robin Wheeler, Belleville