Was original draft of cartoon ‘an ethnic slur’?

Robert Ariail, noticing that I had posted his recent cartoon on the blog, sent me the original version, which he said he withdrew from dissemination because someone thought “it would precipitate claims of an ethnic slur.”

Robert wanted to know what I thought. I responded:

I see nothing wrong with that, Sahib.

Seriously, I know where they’re coming from — they’re worried that the evocation of India might make people think you’re saying something you’re not, and distract from the message — although I think they’re being oversensitive.
I wish I could post this on the blog to see what my readers think — but that would probably put you in an uncomfortable spot, wouldn’t it? So I won’t.

But Robert said he didn’t care, so I’m asking y’all.

For comparison, here is the culturally sanitized version again, below…

20 thoughts on “Was original draft of cartoon ‘an ethnic slur’?

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    The GOP symbol is an elephant. People who ride on elephants do so in the regalia Robert drew. Those people generally, but no exclusively live in India, if I am correct. He did not draw her in a sari or, God forbid, a turban. He drew her in American clothing, more or less such as she usually wears (no white suit, alas).

    There is no “traditional” slur of elephant-rider equivalent to camel-jockey, as far as I am aware.

    I give the first one my Picky Sensitive Liberal Seal of Political Correctness.

  2. Doug Ross

    He does capture the reality of the situation. It is nearly a mortal lock at this point that Haley will win. All of the factors are in her favor:

    1) Built-in Republican advantage of about 55-45
    2) Republican base is more energized than any time I can remember since Reagan
    3) Palin (ugh)
    4) Sheheen lacks the “it” factor and has run a lackluster campaign
    5) Sheheen has no issue like the lottery to run on
    6) Sheheen must get out the black vote in full force to avoid getting trounced. See #4

    And Haley hasn’t even gone negative on Sheheen yet.

    Unless Sheheen can guarantee the jobs that will cut unemployment significantly, this is all just a process to line the pockets of political consultants.

  3. Bart

    What’s wrong with a “camel-jockey”. Know how much “camel-jockeys” make or how much in demand they are? A good “camel-jockey” is in great demand in the ME where camel racing is more popular and traditional than horse racing.

    Now, if India was the only country where elephants were used for transportation or work, then the cartoon could have a potential negative connotation. However, lest we forget, elephants are indiginous to Asia and Africa. Far Eastern countries still use elephants for harvesting trees and other labor requiring more strength than mere humans can muster.

    Anyway Brad, the other cartoon wouldn’t display on my computer so I cannot make an informed comment or comparison of the two. Maybe my computer is just a bit too sensitive to be objective. Obviously, during the night, someone sneaked in and installed a PC Recognition Program that automatically censors anything considered remotely, potentially, or likely to be interpreted as politically incorrect.

    If anyone should be offended, it should be Sheheen. Look at what he is holding onto and the view. Should be wearing goggles and a clothespin on his nose.

  4. bud

    The Haley TV ads are among the most uninspiring I’ve ever seen. It’s the same old mush with terms like “taking our government back”, and “honest conservative”. What does all those weasel words mean?

    And yet Sheheen doesn’t do much to inspire either. The gun toting ad probably won’t help with independents and will only turn off the handful of liberals there are in SC.

    I see a 60-40 Haley win come November.

  5. Brad

    OK, I see the problem. You must be using Microsoft Internet Explorer. It shows up fine on Mozilla, Chrome, and Safari, but not on IE…

    And I don’t know why. I keep loading it the usual way…

  6. Bart

    This election will be much ado about nothing, lack of substance, and another 4 years without a true state leader. First, Haley has no real clear agenda and does reflect the same ideology as Sanford. That can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your particular political convictions.

    Second, as much as it pains me, I have to agree with bud on a couple of points. Don’t agree with his usual grousing about Republicans and conservatives but do agree that Sheheen is running a very, very, very, vanilla campaign. He obviously is an intelligent person, has many good points and ideas, but fails to come across with any passion or, and I hate to say it, with conviction of his position. If he projects a positive instead of resorting to the usual negative with images that do not resonate, he can pull this off.

    At this point, I am on the fence but leaning more in Sheheen’s direction. I believe the man is sincere and honest, or as honest as a legacy politician can be. I like him but he needs that extra something in order to project strength and leadership. IMHO.

    This mid-term election will have far-reaching implications on both the local and national scene. It is projected that after the votes are counted, there will be as many as 30 Republican governors, possibly more. That my friends, is a lot of political punch under any conditions.

    If the president does not have the support of a majority of governors, it is practically over. The forecast does not bode well for Obama and Democrats for the next two years.

  7. Brad

    Actually, by removing the howdah and other trappings, it makes Nikki appear to be of lower caste. Or so I would infer, in my ignorance of such things…

    Which may be seen as a good thing by someone running on a populist, TEA Party platform; I don’t know…

  8. Pat

    I went to Robert Arial’s site and could see it.
    SHJ is treating Haley with kid gloves. Headline on the b or c section front “Report: Haley tax record rumpled” What kind of headline is that? Many people only read the headlines and that tells you nothing. They are giving her a pass compared to the midland papers. Her worst sin is not turning in employee withholding. That’s a big deal. She says government tax laws are too complicated; she says she is an accountant for goodness sake. If nothing else, Turbo Tax for business can take care of that for her.
    SHJ doesn’t want to remind anyone Haley is a first-generation American or that she may not be what’s being put out there.

  9. Hunter

    Looks fine on iPad. Only problem I see with the livery is that there seems to be no reason for it. Only elephant I rode just had a wooden platform saddle on top of which were smelly blankets. And its chain.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    @Pat– Whenever The State prints quotes from the SJH in that Sunday feature, I think I’m reading Fox News transcripts. it is far more dogmatically conservative than other papers in the state, except for the Aiken (sub-)Standard.

  11. Ralph Hightower


    The original draft of the cartoon, the one under the title, is not displaying (the first cartoon). The sanitized version is displayed (the second cartoon).

    Robert Arial has the talent to cut to the heart of the matter. He does it again in this cartoon. Elephants are the symbol of the Republican Party. So what if elephants are the primary mode of transportation that one thinks about India.

    Now, if Arial had pictured Nikki Haley in a Tata Nano car (http://www.tatanano.org/) with its doughnut sized tires instead of her in her “Government Motors” Cadillac Escalade SUV (http://www.cadillac.com/escaladeEsv/2011/), that would’ve been racist.

    I just hope that South Carolina appearances on The Daily Show and Colbert Report will disappear for the next eight years.

  12. Pat

    @Kathryn – You are so right and it’s very frustrating. The news media should educate and present the facts to the public so we can make good decisions. SHJ doesn’t feel like a free, independent press.

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