Ken Livingstone’s [Thatcher-era] Greater London Council may have been “a cacophonous experiment in racial, sexual and gender politics” caricatured at the time as “the loony left”, but, as Beckett points out, most of its ideas have since become mainstream, from primary school teaching to the official recruitment policies of big business. (…)
Me: “Yesterday’s mental illness is today’s social policy.”
These days, when people reflect, nostalgically or angrily, on the Lampoon’s fearlessness regarding things like race and ethnicity, they’re likely to think of P.J. O’Rourke’s “Foreigners Around the World” piece from May 1976. It still gets mentioned because O’Rourke is still a presence on the right. But O’Rourke’s piece has nothing on an illustrated feature from the April 1978 Lampoon. Thirty-seven years before Principal Van Haren decided to give her students a lesson in the heavy hand of “diverse democracy,” Shary Flenniken, a seminal figure in National Lampoon history (she was one of the few women to work her way up from writer and artist to a position as editor), crafted a four-page comic spread that managed to be funny, insightful, and devastatingly politically incorrect.
The strip is called “Whiteface,” which should give you an idea of why you can’t find it anywhere online except buried in the National Lampoon Internet archive.
Flenniken’s recurring character Bonnie, a blond, precocious 13-year-old, arrives at school on student-body election day, eager to participate in the grand democratic process. Sadly, Bonnie learns that the faculty members, who are boarded up in the teachers’ lounge, have turned the election over to black nationalist student Itty Bitty Meanie Mohammed, a middle school Idi Amin wannabe who has declared that only black students can participate. (…)
This gives racial despots like Principal Van Haren an edge. They know that any criticism or satire of their vision of race-based democracy will be limited by boundaries that even their harshest opponents have agreed to adhere to.