Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart

Strips about black men in urban America

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I don’t want to be the kind of cartoonist who adds characters carelessly or offensively, but I don’t want timidness to keep me from exploring issues that I feel are important, whether or not my experience of it is second-hand.

So this week is about black men in urban American, an issue that moves me, angers and frightens me more than most. It’s not “my” issue, but growing up a hopeless, unguided male in today’s America, I feel intimately where my path and the paths of the men in these stories and stats are similar, and how without certain, small pushes in certain directions, I would be nowhere.

That’s why reading the comments of an jerk like this is so frustrating. It’s not so simple as sink or swim, as some suggest. That pull yourself up by your bootstraps stuff is horseshit unless we all start on the same ground, and there are so many people in this country born head deep in muck, they don’t have to tools to “pull.” (Sorry for the extended metaphor.)

I know for a fact that the reason for my success, stability, etc, is due to the bits of information and guidance that did in fact come my way. If certain words and ideas hadn’t come my way (I had a good public school), I would be L-O-S-T lost. My school didn’t have a lot of resistance to counter. I was a sponge for ideas about adulthood in America. It’s not the same in inner city schools- I know cause I go there.

This week is mostly pulled from conversations on Open Source with John McWhorter and other African American academics.

As this strip is about to see print, I find myself needing to go back to the stats to confirm that indeed this 50% number is accurate, and according to Roland Mincy’s “Black Men in Crisis”, it is.

I named this character “Jelly” cause it’s a funny name. I like funny names.


Written by hutchowen

October 1, 2006 at 5:55 pm

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