Saturday, October 15, 2011


Friday Oct 14 issue of The Wave Newspaper on pg 29 featured an open letter To The Wave by Congressman Gregory Meeks. The Wave graciously devoted an entire page to the letter where the congressman shares his thoughts on the allegations of the article, and the editorial cartoon depiction I drew of him, and Senator Malcolm Smith. I have lifted excerpts from that article so you can get his point of view.

America is a great place where we all can express our viewpoints. Without further delay, Congressman Meeks remarks

Both your column and the cartoon explicitly suggest that I stole funds from the New Directions non-profit. You and your colleague are perpetuating an outright lie. The fact is I welcomed an investigation into New Directions and promised my full cooperation with any and all authorities. And there has been no credible allegation, let alone any investigation that has supported this dishonest charge.

Finally, I will not let it pass that your provocative, incendiary, and deliberately inaccurate column was accompanied by what I believe most observers would regard as an explicitly racist cartoon caricaturing State Senator Malcolm Smith and myself. I don’t use that characterization lightly or frequently, but it definitely applies in this case. The cartoon crosses way over the line of civility and violates the necessary sensitivity that a publication in 21st century America ought to consistently and conscientiously display on every page of every issue, particularly when a publication has a racially diverse readership and relies on ads from retailers and other commercial enterprises that have a racially diverse customer base.

It is one thing to disagree with me politically or on policy, or to just dislike me personally for whatever reason. However, none of these reasons justify or authorize you as managing editor, or The Wave as “Rockaway’s newspaper since 1893” to resort to gross racial caricature reminiscent of the portrayal of Black elected officials during Reconstruction in the film, “Birth of a Nation,” nearly 100 years ago.

What the publication of the cartoon by Elgin Bolling reveals is the length to which The Wave will go to drum up animus toward me and other African American elected officials. This is not the first time you have published a demeaning depiction of African Americans. Therefore, I am left to conclude that the comfort that you as managing editor and a columnist, and The Wave on a whole, evidently have in publishing a racist caricature of African American elected officials as conniving thieves with thick, oversized lips, speaking in some sort of street vernacular, actually expresses a general view of African Americans.