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Today in totally non-offensive and non-racist ways to joke about threats to the country’s first black president:

“I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” [Boston Herald cartoonist Jerry] Holbert said. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.”

Although the cartoon appeared as he drew it in the Herald, Holbert said he was “confused” when he received a call from his national syndicate last night asking that he change the flavor to “raspberry.”

When asked if he thinks he should have called the Herald after that discussion, Holbert admitted he “should have done that.”

“That was where I would say I wish I had done that,” he said.

Let’s begin with the presumption that Holbert had no idea at all that people might find this racist. I know, I know. But let’s start there.

Then the national syndicate tells him that he should change the flavor of the toothpaste in his cartoon. And he makes the change. But, apparently, he doesn’t ask why and it doesn’t occur to him to change it in the Boston Herald.

So the original cartoon still goes forward in the Herald. Because, apparently, no one at the Boston Herald thought there was any chance people might find this racist.

And their apology?

As Jerry Holbert discussed on Boston Herald Radio this morning, his cartoon satirizing the U.S. Secret Service breach at the White House has offended some people and to them we apologize. His choice of imagery was absolutely not meant to be hurtful. We stand by Jerry, who is a veteran cartoonist with the utmost integrity.

Sorry to have offended those few people who find racism offensive … but this definitely wasn’t meant to be racist. So, you know, sorry?

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