Controversy is growing over the above cartoon by Ed Gamble of the Florida Times Union. Gamble says his intent was to criticize the “no snitch” custom; and he knew the cartoon would be controversial:

“I find the word ‘ho’ very offensive and think it is tearing away the moral fabric in the Black society and degrading to the women who are the pillars in this society. Now the ‘No Snitch’ rule of law that is spreading is causing more harm. This is not an Imus racist thing. This is a cartoon showing that someone can murder and that no snitch is the ticket and that (rap music billboard) disrespect for the Black women is common among these thugs.

However, several groups. including the NAACP, think Gamble needs to apologize:

In a letter sent to all Jacksonville television stations as well as the newspaper, the Jacksonville Leadership Coalition called the cartoon “racist, culturally insensitive and degrading to African-American women.”
In addition to the apology, the group also called for the firing of cartoonist Ed Gamble, the hiring of a person of African-American descent for the newspaper’s editorial board and a meeting with black leaders to “resolve the issue.”

The letter quotes the Rev. Rudolph McKissick Jr., who described the cartoon as “insensitive to African American women, children and the community.”


  1. The first time I saw that cartoon I saw it as a CRITIQUE of the denigration of women in particular in the community of black rappers (and sorry if that offends, but all of my black friends call themselves black, not African American). I don’t see how a political cartoon who’s very nature is often to comment on politically sensitive issues such as these raised here could not be given, at the very least, the benefit of the doubt. To me there is no interpretation of that cartoon that is demeaning or insulting, but rather to point out how ridiculous the behavior is of those that both demean and insult women, and in particular black women, and in particular black women via rap music and celebrity. To me, it’s as clear as day and the NAACP is way off base here.

  2. I am a black man, and I’m so tired. I am tired of everyone wanting to be protected from fiction, free speech and entertainnemt. I haste to say it, but this slope is getting slippery.

    Words do not hurt, and cartoons don’t hurt. The intentions behind those words and depictions hurt. From what I see, this guy was making a statement and a valid one at that. I am betting all the money in the world that he put the word ho in there especially because it became the new n-word because of the Imus foolishness.

    Big freaking deal. While black people kill other black people in poor neighborhoods, the NAACP is focused on the right thing, getting some white guy to apologize for a cartoon that highlights the disgusting “no snitching” rule in crime ridden neighborhoods.

  3. I don’t get it. The guy using the offensive language is a murderer. He’s a BAD GUY! Imus was using the word “ho” in a derogatory reference to women who were not “hoes;” this is a fictional character who is precisely the type who would use that phrase. The line is degrading to African-American women, but that is part of the point of the depiction of that character. I wonder if George Lucas has to defend himself against charges of promoting imperialism because he depicts an evil empire in his movies.

  4. I’m living and working *in* the hood – or whatever you want to call it. People are shot *on* my street, not in some distant neighborhood. For me, this attitude is not some far away news about “them people”. Demeaning terms like “Ho”, “Nigger” and “Bitch” pour down like rain from the sky in my walking life – and Snitching only brings retaliation. This cartoon is just keeping up with the speed of traffic, and as pointed out by Jonathan above, if political cartoons can’t step into this arena of current events, then who can? The artist can reflect what he believes in the subject. It is the Editorial position of the newspapers whether to publish it for the masses, or not. (much like the infamous Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad). If the NAACP are hunting political whipping boys then look to the publishers, not the artists who reflects society.

    NAACP is off base here, as is anyone who decides what art is *supposed* to say – even something this didactic. No apology is needed.

    After all, what the hell can an apology do? It fixes nothing and the NAACP just looks like so many other interest groups who apply surface band-aides to internal injuries.

  5. “degrading to African-American women.”

    Because she’s being insulted by a murderer? Or because she tells the guy with the gun that she won’t tell on him?

    … on the other hand the whole point of the drawing is lost when you assume – like I did – that she’s doing the sensible thing. Huh. (My confusion might have something to do with the fact that I’m not familiar with this “No snitching” rule in this context.)

    The racism, on the other hand, seems obvious.

  6. “racist, culturally insensitive and degrading to African-American women.”

    Does the Jacksonville Leadership Coalition take the same stand against gangsta rap?

  7. Black man here. I just thought I needed to get that out of the way.

    This cartoon should be shameful for only those who think it’s okay to allow black men to thrive in a culture of violence and misogyny towards its own people.

    Yes, America is the home of racism, misogyny and homphobia, and yes we’re all a product of an American society that makes us hate others and hate ourselves, but that doesn’t make the point of the cartoon any less cogent.

    Though, I do find it incredibly hypocritical that the American can easily point to the image of “black gangsters” as the devils of society while it simultaneously praises The Godfather and The Sopranos (white gangsters), Pirates of the Caribbean (Pirates are VILLAINS!), John Wayne (Cowboys were NEVER the good guys), The Bush Family (who made their money through the German holocaust) and The Kennedys (who made their money from the prohibition).

    Criminal behavior and violence and guns and misogyny and homophobia in the interest of profit is A-OK with America. Until a person of color engages in it.

  8. “the group also called for the firing of cartoonist Ed Gamble, the hiring of a person of African-American descent for the newspaper’s editorial board”

    You know, I’m not sure who it was (well yes I am) but someone once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Shall I go on? “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

  9. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a white guy.

    That said,
    “Though, I do find it incredibly hypocritical that the American can easily point to the image of “black gangsters” as the devils of society while it simultaneously praises The Godfather and The Sopranos (white gangsters), Pirates of the Caribbean (Pirates are VILLAINS!), John Wayne (Cowboys were NEVER the good guys), The Bush Family (who made their money through the German holocaust) and The Kennedys (who made their money from the prohibition).”

    I think the key difference is, nobody is pointing to the Corleone’s or the Soprano’s as a model for how to live your life.
    It seems to me, many black men do point to the ‘gangsta’ image as a way to live their life, to the point that getting an education is a bad thing, and going to jail is, maybe not a good thing, but an accepted thing.

  10. Tom,

    You don’t see George W. Bush’s swagger and smile and international macho antics that precisely mimic the American Cowboy?

    From Enron to Halliburton to Wall Street, you don’t see young white men doing whatever they need to do, ethical or not, to get PAID just like the Bushes, Clintons, Roves, the Cheneys and Kennedys under the guise of free enterprise? Isn’t that PRECISELY the behavior of the Coreleones or the Sopranos?

    Do you know what pirates do? They sail in a ship until they see your ship. Then they attack you and invade your ship. They take all of your resources (and sometimes your women) and set your ship aflame and leave you to die. Or sometimes, they leave behind some of their own men on your ship to watch over you. Or sometimes they kidnap you and make you “one of them.” Doesn’t that sound just like the Iraq War?

    Tell me again what the key difference is.

  11. The point of Ed Gamble’s cartoon was that there is a “double standard” out there and his cartoon depicts it well. I have to admit when I saw the cartoon, I believed it to be offensive. I had a hard time believing that this fairly large Newspaper could publish such a controversial cartoon. They had to have known this was going to happen. Obviously, the Publisher, (Carl Cannon) or the General Manager, (Bobby Martin) did not proof this cartoon or it would not have published as it did. These men are long-time Newspaper men who have elevated their talent to where they are today. The editor for the editorial page, (Mike Clark) approved the cartoon. If you ever met Mike you know that he is a fairly meek person who probably has a hard time saying “No”. He may or may not be suited well for his position. His previous position was as the TU’s reader advocate, (he talked to all of the pissed off people). If anyone should take the heat for allowing it to publish, it should be Mr. Clark, not Ed Gamble. As for the NAACP, they shouldn’t even be involved.

  12. I think the NAACP’s outrage is misguided. The cartoonists attack is on the thugs and the gansta rap that glorifies misogyny, materialism, homophobia, irresponsbility, violence and crime.

    I just can;t understand how anyone says that cartoon is offensive to African American women? If anything puts a spotlight on their struggle.

    How come the NAACP never goes after their own people? Is it because no one would listen to them b.c they’re irrelevant?

    The only time they get the podium is when white media folks think it’ll increase ratings. So they only make a stink when its a claim of white racism, b/c that’s the only time White America listens.

  13. I hope that everyone here referencing the thuggery and gangster rap realizes that corporate America markets this stylized image to white teens. them in business?

    Never mind the fact that it’s been a good number of years since gangster rap has gone out of fashion.

    Greed, crime and materialism have become a lucrative business by the media outlets that have made it more accessible through their continued support and distribution of this idea that all black men aspire to be like this.

    Even worse, the fools that are dumb enough to believe it and scoff when someone makes a stink about it.

  14. Tom,

    I think that the glorification of Italian mobsters, especially now, isn’t as stinging because italian mob families were much more prevalent than they are today. Do you know of any new mob families popping up across the US?

    And the pirates and John Wayne comparisoin is just ridiculous. You’re comparing african americans who commit crime now to john wayne, who was never a real cowboy, who portrayed people who lived in an entirely different century in the Wild Wild West. Not exactly like apples and apples.

    Black on black crime and black crime in general is very real and relevant. All this other stuff you mentioned is a bit more removed from reality. Especially fricking Johnny Depp as a witty, wacky pirate.

    Recently, there was a report that statistics show African Americans are most responsible for killing other African Americans.


    I can’t act like my life personally has been going rough as a black man, but I care, I think more than the NAACP, about the reality behind this cartoon. I don’t think statistics like this should exist for any group of people in America. Special interest groups should stop simply taking an interest in things and actually, I don’t know, doing something!

  15. It’s really sad that we cannot tell the difference between Don Imus’ racist opinion of the grooming habits of college age women, and a cartoon highlighting a real political and social problem.

  16. Too often in our society, we fight the symptoms but not the disease. We do this because it is easier, it is safer, it avoids confrontation.
    Editorial cartoonists and columnists hold a mirror up to society. The cartoonist makes us laugh while choking on the truth. Unfortunately, no one likes to be ridiculed, yet a good cartoon ridicules society. To quote one of the great editorial cartoons of the Twentieth Century, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  17. If anyone is really thinking about the reality behind this cartoon, they would have realized that this it is much less a mirror on reality but yet another gross characterization that avoids more important truths about the situation. The artist half way gets there with the billboard in the background but seems to hyper focus on what people think they would see in an average inner city community.

    I find it interesting that in urban areas like New York, Houston and Los Angeles where the police have made a history of taking advantage of, harassing and victimizing minority populations, people are surprised that blacks are not willing to cooperate with them.

    Not an excuse, just presenting some actual reasoning behind what a lot of people seem to scratch their head in wonder at. And to be honest, not talking to the cops is pretty much a minority tradition in all ethnic groups that establish communities here until the quality of life and economic status rises to the level that makes them a deciding factor in local and state politics.

    Just something to think about…

  18. Yeah, that’s right, NAACP. Go after a freakin’ cartoonist who’s making a relevant statement about YOUR community’s problems. Blame the reality of these prevelant words and situations on anyone and everyone but the ones in the mirror. And by all means, continue to worship Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and their ilk – the REAL hos.
    Christ, what is wrong with some people? Stop focusing on how the tragedies of black street life are depicted in a goddamn cartoon and get to work policing your own kids’ deviant and self-destructive behavior.
    This “snitch and die” B.S. is REAL. Your children are calling little girls “hos” left and right. So many black performers are glorifying this off-the-rails subculture and there’s barely been lip service from idiots like Sharpton about the words, behavior and influence of scum rappers. (Not ALL rappers; the SCUM rappers.) A few weeks ago it was that stupid Beyonce outfit that had Sharpton making a fool of himself all over the media. “Robo-ho.” What a joke. Does anyone seriously think Dr. King would be proud of opportunists like Sharpton and Jackson. It’s obscene. JACKSON, who secretly soaked his shirt in the dead Dr. King’s blood and claimed he held the great leader as he died…WHY does he get a pass on this? SHARPTON, who bought into Tawana Brawley’s lies and ruined -RUINED- the lives of several good men in his brainless crusade, has NEVER, EVER apologized to these men..and he gets a pass, too.

    Yeah, let’s get up in arms over a stupid editorial cartoon. Let’s demand the cartoonist be fired. That’ll show ’em. That’ll fix everything.
    Off with his head.


  19. When I read the cartoon originally, I thought it was a bit much but reading your comments make me think it isn’t as needlessly cruel or offensive as I originally thought.

    As I live in a suburb of Jacksonville, I read Gamble every day and he is a particularly terrible cartoonist. He generally picks the most obvious topics and jokes that require the least thought possible. Not to mention his Fox News-esque conservative bias. I think I read it expecting for it to be over the line and expecting to be offended.

  20. Even Don Imus’s “racist opinion” was nothing. It was overblown crap. He was making a joke, and because it was a joke about black people’s hair coming from a white guy, the world explodes. And again, while black people are being murdered and live in poor conditions, DOn Imus and a Cartoonist are the real devils. PLEASE!

  21. I didn’t know Iraquis were classified as white people. There are some ignornant people have other words to call them, and one of them isn’t “white guy.”

    Are cops killing black people as much as black people are killing other black people? Cops aren’t always 100% on the straight and narrow, and sometimes they pull crap like Amadou Diallo, but I’m more afraid of gangs and such who kill for things like pride, respect and status.

    There are a lot of fake, corny, stupid kids who want to live that life without needing to, and there are people who genuinely are living that life and wouldn’t mind doing a stint in prison. Tell me what skin color they have and if they wear a badge.

    I hate to bust on “my” people but I can’t just overlook hard facts. Black people are killing black people in their horrible neighborhoods. Crabs in a disgusting barrel, and the NAACP’s figured it all out.

    1. Speak against Don Imus.

    2. Say that you weren’t against free speech after you wanted Don Imus fired.

    3. Speak out against some cartoonist

    4. Support Michael Vick, a man who plead guilty of killing dogs unmercifully.

    How many black people’s lives were advanced by this?

  22. Your point sounds to me more like conspiracy theory and the powerful opressing the powerless than comparing apples and apples.

    I heard about the Jena 6 on the radio, BTW. Another case proving that racism is alive and well, and we have to do anything but “get over it.”

  23. No, not at all. I’m not interested in making insuslts.

    I’m saying that “the people in power are much more dangerous” is true to a point, but that doesn’t make the reality of black crime statistics any less important of an issue.

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