Caveats for cultural critiques

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Tom Toles’s March 27 cartoon, depicting a plutocrat ascending the steps of a temple to perform human sacrifice to the gods of the almighty dollar, was unfair to the pre-Columbian priests who actually performed human sacrifice. The only interest of those priests was spiritual devotion to their gods. Toles’s point regarding today’s U.S. wealth consolidation at the top would have been better made by a depiction of the Spanish conquerors of those Mesoamerican cultures, given that their goal was extraction of wealth through enslavement of the populace. In fact, the inhumanity of the 1520-1521 Spanish conquest in the shadow of the Christian cross would provide an apt model for our own extraction of wealth from our lower and middle classes since 1981, all while celebrating devotional values.

Eric R. Carey, Arlington

The March 29 Drawing Board included a cartoon by Mike Luckovich spoofing Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s decision to start a foundation to benefit Native Americans. The cartoon has the heading: “If the ‘Redskins’ were called the ‘Nappy Heads’ instead.” It then has Snyder saying, “I won’t change the name, but I will send a check to the NAACP.”

I would like to see the name Redskins changed because I agree it is offensive, but that is in part because social and cultural standards have changed. Many years back, very few people considered Redskins offensive. I found it interesting that, in commenting on the offensiveness of the name, the cartoon mentioned the NAACP, which stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. To call someone of African American descent “colored” would today also be considered offensive. Not so, many years back.

Bruce G. Kauffmann, Alexandria

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