An editorial cartoon that ran this week in The Oklahoman newspaper is generating controversy over what some Latino and women's groups are calling a racist and damaging depiction of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In the drawing, Sotomayor is strung up like a piñata while a line of elephants (representing Republicans) wait to take a swing. President Obama is standing nearby asking, "Now who wants to be first?"
The nomination of a Latina woman to the highest court in the land really seems to have caused all the crazy, right-wing conservatives to come out of the woodwork! This cartoon further illustrates the racist tendencies and hate that many people still harbor towards Latinos, and minorities in general. First and foremost, the depiction of any minority strung up from a tree elicits imagery of lynching, which in this day and age (or ever) is totally unacceptable. Secondly, the cartoonist chose to lump together all Latino cultures—although Judge Sotomayor is Puerto Rican (a fact she has pointed out time and time again), all of the indicators the cartoonist chose to identify her as "Latina" are clearly of Mexican origin; the piñata reference, the sombrero, even the tag line at the bottom that reads, "Fiesta time at the confirmation hearing."
Jean Warner, chair of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition was deeply offended by the cartoon, saying, "A picture speaks louder than words and that cartoon sends a message to women of all ages: 'Back off. Know your place. Or we'll take a stick to you and teach you a lesson.'"
What the cartoon seems to infer is that Republican senators are waiting to take cheap shots at President Obama's choice to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Well, they're going to have to keep waiting in line, because there are already so many who have begun to swing (we're looking at you Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, and the list goes on and on).