The Psychological Terrorism of People of Color

By Woody Henderson

The racist and insulting editorial cartoons in The New York Post during the mayoral primary run-off were an outright attempt to degrade and discredit people of color in general and Black and Latino leaders in particular.

Those racist cartoons and similar-minded editorials and columns in the Post are the continuation of a negative, ongoing campaign against people of color. They reach back much further than the recent blatant editorial that attempted to denigrate the memory of Aaliyah, that young, bright, and shining star, by claiming she was not worthy of the type of funeral her family and her community saw fit to give her.

These types of editorial comments are without question a form of psychological terrorism. Implemented by and carried out with the knowledge of the management, advertisers, and ownership of the Post, they are insensitive and definitely not conducive to a healthy and just society, especially in a time when compassion and tolerance are the order of the day.

People of good will in New York and around the country must stop tolerating the divisiveness of the Post and its constant attacks and insults on people of color, their leaders, their youth, and their struggle for justice.

Ignoring other's pain can and will eventually lead to an adverse and negative impact on those inflicting that pain. To paraphrase what George W. Bush said about the terrorists, who attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, could also apply to the Post and its attacks on people of color. Those who harbor and support those who are inflicting pain on others by providing financial support or by their silence are ultimately contributing to that pain and may at the very least find themselves involved in a costly, unwanted, and unnecessary conflict.

We implore people of conscience and good will to take steps that will stop the attacks, insults, and degrading propaganda referring to people of color that is being heaped on New Yorkers by the Post. You can accomplish this by refusing to buy that paper under any circumstances.

We further request that the stores, bodegas, and newsstands in communities of color seize this opportunity to show that they respect and want a healthy and meaningful working relationship with the communities they serve. For any of them to use as justification for stocking that paper "I carry and sell it because people buy it" is much like the drug dealers using that same logic to justify selling drugs in communities of color, and this too must stop.

If there is truly to be a war on terrorism, wherever it exist; as Mr. Bush said, then people in Black and Latino communities must take the lead in waging that war by ending the psychological terrorism of the Post in their own neighborhoods.

Stop buying that paper immediately. Each of us at every opportunity must spread the word in our churches, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods and encourage others to do the same and demand that the newsstands, bodegas, and other places of business, at least the ones in communities of color.

Stop carrying the Post. As for the businesses in our communities, please show that you respect the people in the communities that you do business with by not stocking the Post and its racially degrading propaganda.

A door has opened. We must each step through it and not allow there to be business as usual in our communities, in our hearts, or in our minds. Don't buy The New York Post until it not only apologizes for the years of insults aimed at people of color but also changes the way it portrays our communities, our leaders, and our youth. We are New Yorkers and must all work for the common good. The tragedy of September 11, 2001, demonstrated that quite clearly. As Roy Wood, that great, Black, news commentator used to say, "Now run and tell that."


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