Black History: Special Delivery!!
(Left) Norman Rockwell Painting “The Problem We All Live With”
(Right) Cartoon by Glenn McCoy depicting Betsy Devos
Conservative artist, Glenn McCoy published a cartoon, Monday, February 13, 2017 in which he appears to compare, Education Secretary, Betsy Devos and civil rights activist, Ruby Bridges. The cartoon was published after protests at a Washington DC school made it difficult for Devos to enter the a main entrance. She eventually was able to enter the school through a different entrance.
At the age of six, in 1960, Ruby Bridges made history by becoming the first African American child to integrate the segregated all white William Franz Elementary School. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling desegregated public schools. However states were slow to implement the ruling.
Her attendance at the school sparked protests. Due to the racial tension, she initially had to be escorted to school by Federal Marshals. Her experience was documented in a Norman Rockwell painting called, “The Problem We All Live With.” McCoy’s cartoon is strikingly similar to the Rockwell painting and appears to suggest a parallel between the two.
The cartoon set off a fire storm of protest on social media. It shouldn’t need explaining…….but……comparing the Devos confirmation process to segregation and the civil rights movement is way out of bounds in my opinion. The selection of Betsy Devos was fiercely contested. The final vote to confirm Devos resulted in a tie which was broken by Vice President Mike Pence. It was the first time in history that a VP had to break a tie for a presidential cabinet nominee. McCoy’s attempt at drawing an “artistic parallel” between Devos and Bridges, is not only insensitive, it is offensive.
Germane Lopez of the Vox.com articulated the ill-conceived comparison flawlessly: “Bridges, a 6-year-old, literally put her life in danger by trying to end this system that came out of centuries of racist policies, DeVos was simply trying to attend a public event, and her life was never in danger in the face of peaceful protests — and she (Devos) reportedly managed to get into the school later on.”
I’m interested in your feedback Black Mail Readers. Weigh in and let me know what you think.