The Ku Klux Klan is a racist group with a long history of killing innocent people because they were of a different color, of trying to intimidate black people from eating at the same places as white people and doing all it could to prevent black people from exercising their right to vote.
This racist organization has had blood on its hands ever since it was founded after the Civil War. Those associated with the Klan are very bad people whose loyalty is to a masked hate group that once wielded great political power in governor’s mansions and in Congress. Today, its numbers have essentially dwindled to nothing. Sure, its members sometimes show up at events in their white pointed hoods, but people really don’t take them seriously anymore, as most people realize this is a racist group whose mere presence is offensive.
Anyone who tries to suggest that someone is in the Klan despite having no proof whatsoever is out of bounds and deserves to be called out when they publish something that tries to connect that person to this racist organization.
We believe Lexington Herald-Leader editorial cartoonist Joel Pett crossed that line in a recent cartoon. Pett drew a cartoon depicting President Donald Trump in a KKK outfit, holding up a sign saying “Central Park 5, Birtherism, Muslim ban, Charlottesville, Lynching, etc., etc.” In the background is a sign saying “Coattails” and a picture of Republican Kentucky Attorney General candidate Daniel Cameron grabbing the bottom of Trump’s robe.
This is an outrage. To suggest that Trump is a member of the KKK is simply beyond the pale. It is ridiculous and insulting, and Pett should have had enough judgment to know it was inappropriate. What is even more concerning is the Cameron connection. One can obviously infer that not only is Pett trying to call Cameron an “Uncle Tom” for being black and supporting Trump, but also questioning the racial overtones that are connected to this. Is Pett trying to infer that Cameron condones the Klan? We don’t know, but it’s a fair question to ask.
Could you imagine the outrage that this cartoon would have caused if it was published in a right-leaning newspaper, attacking a Democratic president and a person of color? The phones would be blowing up. The newspaper publishers, editors, reporters and copy editors would all immediately be called racist and there would be immediate calls for the cartoon to come down and obvious calls for a retraction.
It appears that it is OK when a left-leaning newspaper like the Herald-Leader publishes garbage like this. But it is not OK.
That’s a shame, but that is sadly how some people on the left-leaning side think. They know they can put this garbage out there and there will be little blowback, because sadly that’s the world we live in.
It’s worth noting that this is not Pett’s first run-in with drawing and publishing cartoons filled with racial overtones. A few years ago, Pett drew a cartoon of Gov. Matt Bevin hiding under his desk while a man held a picture of one of Bevin’s adopted kids, who is black. The caption read, “Sir, they’re not terrorists, they’re your own adopted kids.”
Again, there is continued pattern of Pett drawing and publishing cartoons that have racial overtones and are very hurtful to those he is targeting. We believe Bevin should be praised for adopting children of a different color, not made fun of, as Pett did.
Pett’s cartoons of Trump, Cameron and Bevin are despicable and continue to create a racial divide in this country that we should be trying to heal, not widen.
We sincerely hope the publisher and editors at the Herald-Leader realize that these types of cartoons are insensitive to many who see them and be more cautious about publishing such racist cartoons in the future.