Thursday, February 15, 2007

TV On The Radio raze Voice

TV On The Radio are fuming with Village Voice after they were depicted being driven over by Bob Dylan for a cover. TVOTR's Martín Perna suggests that drawing a white man (even Dylan) driving over a black man is insensitive:

Nowhere in the consciousness of Voice editors or illustrator David O'Keefe can we find memories of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged behind a truck to his death by white racists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998, or Arthur "J.R." Warren, who was run over four times and killed for being black and gay in West Virginia in 2000, and all the other lynchings that happened in the U.S. before and since. These events are still fresh in the minds of black people, as well as in the hearts and minds of the rest of us who may not be directly victimized by these particular lynchings but who are nonetheless endangered by racism and committed to social justice and healing America of its sick racist condition.

O'Keefe and his colleagues may not have meant to intentionally be racist. They probably meant to be funny, like the University of Texas law students, Clemson University undergrads, or white college students nationwide who plan and publicize their blackface or "ghetto parties," then act surprised that people find their actions offensive and unacceptable. That this picture could be drawn and not questioned or vetoed by any of the people who saw it prior to publication shows the level of ignorance and racism that persists in leftist institutions like the Voice that continue to posture as hip and progressive. It reveals that among decision-makers at the paper there is not one single person with any sort of racial consciousness or sensitivity who had the power or courage to send that picture back to the drawing board.

The Voice responds by, erm, blogging about it, or at least reproducing his letter, sucking their teeth and going "well... what do you think." Regardless of if you think Perna is seeing offence where there was none or not, that the Voice dealt with the issue by just opening a comments section on its website suggests a spot of cowardice on the editors' parts.

Still, at least some of the comments manage to focus on a more important question hanging over the drawing:
It's not the racist part of it; it doesn't always have to be race when there's a white guy doing something to a person of color. Instead, it's just violent. We get enough of that shoved down our throats daily.