Pennsylvania Newspaper Pokes Fun at Slavery, Then Apologizes

Reported by Liku Zelleke

Lancaster New Era, a Pennsylvanian newspaper, has gone on Twitter to apologize for a tasteless cartoon that compared modern-day air travel to the horrible conditions slaves had to endure while being transported in the holds of slave ships.

The cartoon that was printed in the paper’s Saturday edition and circulated last week, was not drawn by any of its employees but readers still thought that the New Era was responsible for the gaffe.

In the cartoon, two elderly white people are shown looking at a big image that shows the way slaves were packed into the holds of slave ships. During the Middle Passage, (the voyage across the Atlantic from Africa to the Americas) slaves were stuffed into the ships.

One of the people in the cartoon says, “Must be where the airlines got their ideas for passenger seating.”

So many slaves were crammed into every available space on the ship that many of them died during the voyage. It was this horrible fact that was being compared to the way people travelled by air today — narrow seats, almost no leg space, shared armrests … all factors that were viable reasons for air rage, at the very worst.

But readers couldn’t stomach the comparison and John A. Kirkpatrick, the president of Lancaster Newspapers, and Barb Roda, the company’s executive director, had to make an apology for the cartoon.

In the statement they both Tweeted was written, “To somehow link the inconveniences of air travel with slavery in general and the slave ships in particular was not only just plain wrong, it was deeply hurtful to our African-American community and all those who understand the horrors inflicted on the men and women forced into the slave trade.”

The two tweets read: “…While the editorial cartoon was not drawn by someone on our staff, the decision to run it on our pages was made here. We are deeply sorry about printing this offensive cartoon. We cannot erase the error we made last week.”


25 Comment

  1. Obama's tenure as President of the United States was like open season for racial abuse including murder & droning Coloured Muslim Children.My Father never rejoiced in his ascension to the most Powerful post in the World. I love Aba for that!

  2. Those crackers arent sorry for that comic. Their editor reviewed it,liked it , and then ran it. Screw those dogs and their apology.

  3. Hanoun, did your father rejoice in the election of Pres. Obama’s prececessors?

  4. Hangout Al Mukhtar, Really? Everything is President Obama's fault, RIGHT? What an ignorant comment. And are you a citizen of the U.S.? If not, it's not your concern who we elect here in our country. I love the President! He's doing a great job! Much better then past Presidents!

    • @Carol Parks, you are correct in your statement to Hanoun Al Mukhtar. Personally, Hanoun Al Mukhtar appears to lack knowledge within the United States. @Hanoun Al Mukhtar, are you aware of the carnage and death that was perpetrated by Truman, Nixon, Johnson, Bush 1 & 2, you need to catch up with facts before making idle statements that are not valid.

      @Hanoun Al Mukhtar, knowledge is power, try doing the following: RESEARCH, READ, then RESPOND. It is an honor to see a Black man as President, the enslaved brought the materials that build the “White House”. No one has to agree with the way he does business, but if you can do a better job get on the ballot.

  5. Sorry, my iPad auto corrected your first name, I will try & put the correct spelling here…
    Hanoun …… I don't like to misspell anyone's name.

  6. Anthony Allen, you are correct, they probably are not sorry, that is their ignorance. But, by your own description, ( Crackers), you are just as bigoted as they are. Try judging people one at a time, instead of blaming millions for one persons actions.

    • Well… Crackers do.

  7. Okay Lover of Aba. Yes he was instrumental in signing the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves, but it let’s not be so jubilant. He saved the Union but never really free his slaves. Abraham Lincoln was never really motivated in his commitment to end slavery. This is simple another lie told in the History books, just as it states Christopher Columbus. You would think that by now; we are exhausted by these types of lies to promote the wrong of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was no friend to slaves. He as well as the rest of slave’s owners mistreated, abused, and never respected Negros as equal. If he did he would not have held them captive.
    Just as the Declaration of Independence this document as well as the Emancipation is merely propaganda to meet the need of politics and politicians. Blacks were never freed in the south nor did Lincoln denounce slavery on his on plantation.
    So instead of embracing Lincoln for saving the Union; gain an understanding about the devastation, abuse and murder that traumatize the Black race, and left a scar that will hunt our the Black Race to eternity.
    For years White men had the unwanted task of tell Black folk what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I think it should be clear now that we don’t need your help.

  8. Anthony I can tell by your statement that you are angry, but posting your negative only promotes the response must woud expect from us. Believe me I feel you but we have to show our intelligence and gain and understanding about what's going on in this country and make some changes in our community. It's time for Black Folks to take a look at what we are promoting as well as accepting our failure as success. We as Blacks lead our own destiny. The biggest issue we have to conquer is Black on Black crime, To many of your young men have died for the unGodly notion of gang violance. So I employ all of us to stand in our communities and denounce the violance and kiiling of our brothers. than and only than will we be able to combat the brutal act of the media etc.

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