Controversial Artwork

Good for illustrator Mary Engelbreit: 

With Brown’s mother in mind, she created the picture of an African American mom holding her young son in her lap. His hands are raised in the familiar gesture of surrender as the two gaze at a newspaper headline that says, “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot.”

There’s a single tear falling from the mother’s eye. Running down the side of the illustration are the words, “No one should have to teach their children this in the USA.”

That, apparently, is a divisive sentiment. IF YOU’RE A FUCKING ASSHOLE:

She posted the information on Facebook and her Web siteThen the onslaught of comments began. “I was shocked by how ugly the comments were,” Engelbreit said. People threatened to boycott her products. Some demanded she give equal time to create an illustration favoring law enforcement. Others resorted to name-calling and epithets.

Because that’s the balance.

Black children and law enforcement are equal opposites.

She should give some space in her artwork to both of those sides.

After all, you can’t care about cops unless you agree that an unarmed black teenager should be shot by one without any outcry whatsoever.

Those are two weights on the scales. Black children, and police officers. Can’t love one without hating the other. I mean Jesus Meyer Lemon Christ.

I always thought Mary Engelbreit’s target market (as distinct from her work) was ladies who get their political news from their hairdressers, so I can’t say I’m surprised by the viciously racist reaction to this mildest of sentiments, this statement that perhaps we shouldn’t have to teach children to surrender before they can talk. Here’s one of the saner responses:

I cannot believe this! I’ve been a fan of ME for so many many years! Love the merrily merrily items — Hence my name! This, unfortunately really rubs me the wrong way! I probably will have to say bye bye ME!

Yes. This is truly a bridge too far. To state, without much rancor, that black children don’t deserve to grow up as if they are de facto enemies of the establishment, that’s what rubs this lady the wrong way. If this is too extreme for her, I wonder where she goes next. What’s the next level down? Did Thomas Kinkade ever advocate for fair housing? What about the Precious Moments kids? Are Beanie Babies apolitical? Or is that stuffed frog up to something?

A.