The Wednesday, February 18 New York Post editorial cartoon horrified me. The cartoon depicted a chimpanzee being shot dead by two police men, one saying "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." It was shocking in its blind political bias and its blatant racism.
The reaction from Al Sharpton and the rest of the race police was predictable. Callers flooded urban radio drive-time programs to express their disapproval and utter disgust with the paper's editor Col Allen and cartoonist Sean Delanos. Discussions railed on social networking sites and news media internet sites. The staff in my dentist's office debated on and on the merits of the arguments supporting the cartoonist and those who found it offensive.
What is still to be seen, as public outcry wanes in the face of a half-ass apology from the paper, is
what all the talkers will be willing to do to make their point. When radio hosts publicize phone numbers and email addresses in calls to action, a handful of the audience will call or email; even fewer will take the initiative to write or call without being stirred by their favorite on air personality. Yet fewer will go beyond that phone call or letter, will take the time and endure the inconveniences of taking real action. How many will participate in a protest march or boycott a favorite product to make a point?
Talk is easy and it is very true that it is cheap; which is why it carries less weight than action. Anything worth having, any positive change worth making is certainly worth substantive sacrifice from stakeholders.
For this cartoon and for the next exposed nipple or racist comment, those who claim to be outraged must back up the chatter with a willingness to take action and to make sacrifices. Only then will change come. Put up or shut up.