Daily Lobo Editor at University of New Mexico Apologizes for Cartoon Depicting President Obama as a Monkey

The editor of The Daily Lobo at the University of New Mexico has apologized for the recent publication of an editorial cartoon of President Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden criticized by some as racially insensitive.

Local television news in Albuquerque, UNM’s hometown, reported African American students were fed-up and furious about the cartoon, which depicts Obama as a monkey-like creature holding up Bin Laden’s head.  The image was intended as a satire of the famous baby-holding scenes at the beginning and end of Disney’s “The Lion King.”  It also was meant to reference Obama’s own recent use of the scene in a video he showed during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner poking fun at the birther controversy.

The image of the president with facial features resembling those of a monkey are what most infuriated students.  The Daily Lobo reported roughly 30 students met on campus last week to protest the image and the larger racial intolerance on campus they feel it represents.  One UNM senior said she felt “immediately upset and angry because of the history of these types of injuries.  President Obama is drawn as a monkey which portrays him as less than human which is how black people have been portrayed throughout history. Yet, Osama Bin Laden’s face is normal.”

Daily Lobo editor in chief Chris Quintana apologized to readers and said the staff would receive sensitivity training: “It was not published with the intent to perpetuate stereotypes, or infer African-American students are in any way inferior. . . . We saw the cartoon as an interpretation of Osama Bin Laden’s death and the American celebration along with it.  We saw the cartoon as a symbol of the twisted nature of American pride and thought it would provoke interesting, not racist, discussion.”

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