The New York Times has posted an apology on its Facebook page for publishing an editorial cartoon that readers claimed was racist. The cartoon by Singapore-based artist Heng Kim Song was denounced as racist in its stereotypical depiction of Indians.
The Sept. 29 cartoon (pictured above) was a commentary on the then-recent success of India’s Mars probe Managalyaan, the country’s first foray into space travel. In the cartoon, an Indian man knocks on a building labelled “Elite Space Club,” inside of which a pair of Caucasian men read a newspaper with the headline “India’s Mars Mission.” The Indian man is dressed in a rural tunic and is leading a cow, while the men inside the club are dressed in formal Western clothing.
The cartoon led to an outcry on Twitter and in the Indian media, with some outlets going as far as to call the cartoon “blatantly racist.” Indian-American journalist Sharanya Haridas wrote in the Huffington Post that “[w]hether meant to be funny or ironic, the racial, national and classist stereotyping is apparent.”
Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal was forced to post an official apology on Facebook. “A large number of readers have complained about a recent editorial cartoon in The International New York Times, about India’s foray into space exploration… We apologize to readers who were offended by the choice of images in this cartoon. Mr. Heng was in no way trying to impugn India, its government or its citizens. We appreciate that readers have shared their feedback, which we welcome.”
The New York Times will be added to future editions of The Daily Caller’s Alphabet of Racism.