Obama Talk: 'Boondocks' Creator Disgusted With 'Gutter News'
It's enough to cause Aaron McGruder to consider going silent. At least when he's amid the media.
"I don't have much of a stomach for this kind of thing anymore," the creator of "The Boondocks" tells Comic Riffs.
By "this kind of thing," McGruder is referring to controversy that he says arises out of misinterpretation. Misquoting. And sometimes, just plain missing the point.
This week, McGruder spoke to about 700 people at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. It was Martin Luther King Day, as well as the day before President Obama's inauguration, and the conversation naturally turned to the intersection of race and politics.
McGruder says he was commenting on the "endless stream of black pundits on TV pontificating about the significance of President Obama's election -- many of them making reference to the 3/5th's clause in the constitution regarding slaves." McGruder added in a statement Wednesday: "The point I was making is that this is not an accurate comparison."
In covering the event, however, the Richmond Palladium-Item newspaper quoted McGruder as saying: "The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma." The article also included the sentence: "McGruder said that to him, Obama is not black because he is not a descendant of a slave."
In response, McGruder's office posted a statement on blogs including Comic Riffs. Calls and an e-mail to the Palladium-Item for comment were not returned.
"It was a simple conversation about the differences between race, ethnicity, nationality, and trying to draw distinctions that most of the media and public seemed to be casually ignoring," McGruder tells Comic Riffs. "That somehow became me calling someone who is obviously black not black -- and there's very little I can do about it."
McGruder goes on to say: "Sadly, it no longer matters how carefully you choose your words -- you said what the dumbest person in the audience said you said. I've certainly had my share of criticism for the 'legit' media -- in fact, I largely stopped doing press because I hate being misquoted or misinterpreted by journalists -- but this new kind of 'gutter news' from sites ... [is] going to make it extremely difficult to engage in any sort of intelligent discourse.
"The only way to avoid this kind of thing would literally be to stop talking," the cartoonist added, "something I may have to consider."
As an insult-to-injury kicker, he notes that the article says he was clad in a "Boondocks" shirt.
Says McGruder: "I wasn't even wearing a 'Boondocks' T-shirt."
| January 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: General, Interviews With Cartoonists
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