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Here’s a fun story. The color cartoon shown here is what appeared in my client newspapers but it is not the way I originally wrote or drew it. The black and white cartoon below was my first attempt.

My editors at the syndicate didn’t understand the original cartoon (I don’t blame them) and thought that it might be seen as racist, and they were undoubtedly right. As those of you who have read my blog regularly know, people will complain about racism if given even a sliver of an opportunity. Complaints to newspapers are bad for business, so I changed the gag to a ventriloquist theme, which is a better cartoon anyway.

The original gag was supposed to be that a couple of white ladies see a middle-aged black lady walking a blond baby in a stroller and think she has adopted him. Their comment is meant to imply that they see this sort of thing all the time. What they are actually seeing are nannies, of course. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but here in NYC one regularly sees middle-aged women-of-color walking white kids. Evidently, lots of rich white folks don’t raise their own kids and who can blame them? Making babies is so much more fun than making sure they don’t grow up to be scourges on society.*

*This statement is sarcasm.


11 thoughts on “>Offspring

  1. >Hi,Living in the Midwest (WI) I would not have gotten the first cartoon you drew. We may have nannies here (no one that I know!), but not nearly as many as NY. The ventriloquist cartoon is funny!

  2. >Right you were to make the change. Race aside, the first was just a little too obscure and people really wouldn't get it.Besides, among the young-and-entitled crowd these days, the real surprise is seeing an Asian child with … Asian parents! Apparently, they manage to obtain them with a great deal less paperwork and they don't have to travel to China. But I don't think you're allowed to make jokes about it.

  3. >Yeah…I can see how that one would cause confusion. The Nanny angle was a good idea. I didn't get that off the cartoon though. Keep it on the shelf till you finds the right way to do it though. I think it has legs if carried off well.

  4. >I LOVE the original! People just can't handle the truth…(I relished time with my middle-aged El Salvadoran nanny/maid Conchi so much, I learned to make the tub & toilet sparkle, get out those stubborn grass stains, clean dirty pans 'til they shined like new, iron a shirt like a pro & appreciate 'Days of our Lives.' She spoke no English, so most of our time were spent with these and other unspoken activities.)

  5. >The joke was crystal clear to me. I guess it is a coastal phenomenon: NYC, L.A. … no so much in between. Even in ritzier parts of – say Seattle or Chicago – I have never noticed it.

  6. >Sarcasm? Really? That was my favorite part of the post.Yeah, I didn't get the original either. A first for me with your stuff, actually. I think if there were some clearer evidence that the women or the area they are in is very wealthy, I would have.

  7. >I don't live in a city environment. People occasionally have babysitters looking after their kids, but I have never known anybody with a nanny. I would never have gotten the original joke. If I saw a black woman with a white child, I would have assumed she had a white husband (or son-in-law, depending on her age).

  8. >South American living in Europe here and I must admit I didn't feel offended… then again, I did have a few nannies while growing up. Not nice experiences there, since I actually could understand what they said and would not do their job for them.That aside, I have an aunt living well-off in a Caucasian environment (won't say country) who married a Caucasian man and had fairly white children (in spite she is quite tan herself). Well, it so happens that one day she was going to the park with her kids when a lady approached her asking how much she charged (as a nanny). My aunt, who is a very capable professional, didn't take it the wrong way, since it's become somewhat of a family joke.Just thought I'd share. I'd love to see the face on that woman when my aunt explained they were hers.

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