When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of the pilgrims, resolutely sharing the first thanksgiving dinner with their Native American allies having survive one full year in the new world. I mean, that’s the garbage they teach in American schools, so of course it’s true. Given the popular image of what Thanksgiving is, could there possibly be a better holiday to publish a racist cartoon lampooning undocumented immigration?
The Indianapolis Star didn’t think so when they ran a Thanksgiving-themed cartoon, from editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel:
The cartoon features a family gathered around the table, the patriarch holding the turkey while a family of immigrants is bursting through their window. The patriarch announces that “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”
Cue laugh track, cut to commercial break.
The only way this could be less self-aware is if it were ran on Columbus Day.
Apparently, the Indianapolis Star didn’t want to come across as racist, you see, because they quickly made a stereotype-erasing edit to the cartoon:
The Star clearly intended for it to be about undocumented immigrants, and not white truckers, because they ran it with the question: “Will the President’s executive action on immigration fundamentally change America?”
I’ll save you the trouble: no.
The Star eventually pulled the cartoon, and the executive editor Jeff Taylor stated that they “erred in publishing it:”
Cartoons are seldom intended to be read literally. And Gary did not intend this one to be viewed that way. He intended to illustrate the view of many conservatives and others that the president’s order will encourage more people to pour into the country illegally.
He did a good job of it, because he illustrated the racism that’s right there at the heart of that reactionary view very well.