In the cartoon, a woman labeled “black community” is caring for two children while a beer-drinking Democratic donkey reclines on a couch: “I can’t leave him. We’ve been together for decades,” she’s saying. “Plus, he says we’d never survive on our own.”
The Journal said it received sharp criticism from irate readers, noting that the cartoon “made you hurt — many of you.”
One reader wrote on the Journal’s Facebook post issuing the apology: “It’s propaganda, not political expression,” and another wrote: “Tasteless! ... With all the racial bias and tensions y’all really thought this was a good idea?” Another commenter wrote that after the sense of #SenecaStrong unity in the wake of devastating tornadoes in April, “Now you want to divide the town.”
A Baptist pastor told the Fox Carolina News station that the cartoon showed “every stereotype there could possibly be for black people.”
Acknowledging the reasons for reader anger, the Journal said that people “want policies changed and someone fired, and we’re going to do that.”
The paper said that it will change its process for internal approval of editorial cartoons and that it will no longer publish Goodwyn’s cartoons.
Goodwyn said he did not intend for his cartoon to be hurtful, though “clearly it was.”
“I attempted to be respectful with the depiction of the woman and children, portraying their care for each other as sincere and the concern on their faces indicative of the current racial strife they face,” Goodwyn told The Washington Post. “My intent in the cartoon was to project the Democrat Party lacking in care and effective measures, yet minorities continue to support Democrat candidates. I stand by that intent, although the execution wasn’t thorough.”
Goodwyn said he communicated at length with some people offended by the cartoon.
“Those conversations have been very good for me to get a feel for the elements of the cartoon that were offensive,” he said. “I believe I have empathy and have said publicly — shortly before this controversy — on the death of George Floyd that if you can’t have empathy over this tragedy, one lacks intelligence and creativity to be a human being. My attempt here seems to prove that I’ve got room to improve in both of those elements.”
The Journal said that it was in conversation with community members, as well.
“On Wednesday, we met with several leaders from the African-American community to apologize and explain,” the paper wrote, “and we want you to know that our doors are open — and our hearts are as well.”
Reached by The Post, the paper declined to comment.
Its apology was published on the same day that the Washington Missourian newspaper in Franklin County, Mo., apologized for a “racist” cartoon by syndicated cartoonist Tom Stiglich that satirized proposed “defund the police” reforms.