Trying to Trash Betsy DeVos

Trying to Trash Betsy DeVos is a political cartoon by Glenn McCoy published on 13 February 2017. The cartoon centrally depicts Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education in the Trump Administration. The political cartoon is thematically based on the 1964 painting The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell, and attracted critical commentary in mainstream media.

Trying to Trash Betsy DeVos
McCoyDevos2017.jpg
ArtistGlenn McCoy
Year2017

DescriptionEdit

 
Betsy DeVos, the subject of the political cartoon

The cartoon depicts a small version of DeVos walking and surrounded by large men in suits, who are possibly guards.[1] The remains of a thrown tomato can also be seen. The word "CONSERVATiVE" is scrawled on the background wall in graffiti in addition to an anarchy symbol. The abbreviation for the National Education Association is also written on the lefthand side.[2]

PublicationEdit

The cartoon was published online on 13 February 2017 on the GoComics website, in addition to multiple newspapers.[3] It was also published on the website of the Belleville News-Democrat.[4]

ReactionEdit

Commentators point out that the political cartoon draws directly upon The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell, which depicts Ruby Bridges being escorted to school as a child during a time when crowds of white protesters would actively prevent desegregation efforts initiated by the Brown v. Board of Education case.[1][5] McCoy confirmed that he used the Rockwell piece as an inspiration for the political cartoon.[6]

On social media, the cartoon was met with unfavorable criticism.[5] Readers of the Belleville News-Democrat demanded both that McCoy apologize and that he be terminated from his position.[6]

Many complaints centered upon an alleged false equivalency. Among others, Chelsea Clinton responded publicly by expressing outrage at the cartoon, and subsequently pointed out The Problem We All Live With on Twitter.[3][7] One reason for this reaction was due to the explicit comparison of opposition to DeVos with themes of racism explored in Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With.[7][8][9] German Lopez at Vox.com opined that "protests against DeVos and racial segregation in American schools are not the same".[10] Jillian Steinhauer asserted that McCoy's work is an example of false equivalence, saying, "Glenn McCoy appropriated Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With, replacing the six-year-old black girl who desegregated a public school with the billionaire Secretary of Education".[2] USA Today highlighted a comment from a reader who responded to the image, claiming it represents an example of white privilege.[3]

A representative for the National Education Association offered no comment on the political cartoon.[3]

McCoy responded to criticism via e-mail, saying, "I regret if anyone was offended by my choice of metaphors", and noted that he wanted to draw attention to and start public discussion on the behavior of protesters.[3] In a statement on the Belleville News-Democrat website, McCoy also expressed disappointment that, "decades beyond the civil rights protests... people are still being denied the right to speak freely or do their jobs or enter public buildings because others disagree with who they are or how they think". Faced with accusations that the image is hateful, McCoy defended his work, saying, "I thought I was speaking out against hate... You may disagree with her on issues but I didn't see any hate coming from her. I did, however, see hate going in the other direction, which is what made me think of the Rockwell image. That was the only comparison I was drawing".[3][11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Pulliam-Moore, Charles. "A conservative cartoonist just reimagined an iconic civil rights image as a defense of Betsy DeVos". Fusion. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Steinhauer, Jillian (14 February 2017). "Right-wing Cartoonist Inserts Betsy DeVos into Iconic Civil Rights Painting". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Toppo, Greg (15 February 2017). "Provocative cartoon links Betsy DeVos and Ruby Bridges". USA Today. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ McCoy, Glenn (13 February 2017). "Glenn McCoy: Trying to trash Betsy DeVos". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Strauss, Valerie (15 February 2017). "Conservative cartoonist portrays Education Secretary DeVos as civil rights icon Ruby Bridges — and Twitter reacts'". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b "Editorial Cartoon in Belleville News-Democrat Causes Nationwide Stir". CBS Radio. CBS St. Louis. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Murphy, Brian (14 February 2017). "Chelsea Clinton echoes social outrage over cartoon comparing DeVos to Ruby Bridges". Kansas City Star. The McClatchy Company. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Salaky, Kristin (14 February 2017). "Comic Depicts Betsy DeVos As Girl In Iconic Civil Rights Painting". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Mei, Gina (15 February 2017). "People Are Not Happy with This Conservative Cartoonist's Portrayal of Betsy DeVos". Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Lopez, German. "Conservatives keep comparing protests against Trump's education secretary to segregation". Vox.com. Vox Media. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Glenn McCoy cartoon draws strong reactions from people around the country". Belleville News-Democrat. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)