During the editing process, I was advised that two cartoons might receive a negative reaction and that I should prepare for that. One of them is on page 93 and the other is on page 99 of my book.
Here is my explanation of each cartoon.
First, the “Chinese Comb Cartoon” or the “triple C”
This is an updated version of the original cartoon featured in my 2007 book, Chook Tails: Free Range Eggs.
The explanation next to the cartoon says, “Here we have a Chinese tourist who’s a bit confused because all non-Chinese combs look alike to him.”
At the time I drew the cartoon, I was looking for a way to make fun of that part of the chicken’s anatomy. As I mulled over how to do this, what came to mind was the stereotypical view encapsulated in the phrase, “I can’t remember what he/she looked like, because they all look the same to me.”
So, I took that stereotypical comment and applied it to the chicken’s comb.
This cartoon simply reflects the sociological observation that there are “in-groups” and “out-groups” and that a member of the former is likely to see a member of the latter in a stereotypical way. To the in-group’s eyes, the out-group all share similar characteristics, whereas the members of their own in-group are all individuals.
I could have used any nationality, but it was a Chinese rooster which came to mind because I had often heard the comment in relation to Chinese nationals.
At no point was I ‘having a go’ at any nationality. Indeed, I have travelled the world for many years and if there is one lesson I have learnt, it is that we’re all human with the same needs, like being accepted as we are and not as others perceive us.
Secondly, the “Gay Chicken Cartoon”
This is a new cartoon. It did not appear in my previous book.
Some cartoons in both books were based on examples of how the word “chicken” and its attached words, such as “gay”, have come to be used in the English language.
In this example, the term “gay chicken” is just that, an English term with a meaning explained in the book. This cartoon was not meant to signify anything at all. It was simply a cartoon that showed two roosters playing an innocent game of ‘dare’.
As in the cartoon above, we tend to interpret things through the lens of the life we have led. In this case, we have two roosters playing a game. What you make of that is a reflection of your values, beliefs, upbringing, and experiences.
Some may be offended, but others will have a laugh. Indeed, I hope members of the gay community who see the cartoon will laugh too.
There is no right or wrong here, it’s just a cartoon!