Pennsylvania newspaper The Lancaster New Era issued an apology, after running a nationally syndicated cartoon that compared commercial airplane seating to the horrifically crowded and inhumane conditions that existed on slave trade ships. The newspaper was lambasted by those who took offense at the comparison, according to The Guardian.
In The Lancaster New Era’s cartoon, a slave ship packed with human beings is shown, with a man quipping, “Must be where the airlines got their idea for passenger seating.” Many readers who saw the cartoon took great offense to the paper’s insensitivity being that the enslavement of Africans lasted at least 300 years and was an institution that looked to strip African people and their descendants of any human rights and dignity.
Not surprisingly, letters to the editor came pouring in by the dozens.
John H. Kirkpatrick III, who is president of the Lancaster New Era, which serves a predominately White population, along with executive editor Barb Roda, published an apology to their readers for their major oversight. Here is an excerpt of their apology:
To our readers:
Last Saturday an editorial cartoon ran on the Lancaster New Era editorial page.
It compared a slave ship packed tight with human beings brought to America for a life of forced servitude with the discomfort of airline seating.
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.
It both trivialized and demeaned their experience.