A cartoon depicting an Ohio state senator as Aunt Jemima that appeared in an African American newspaper has led to calls for one of the paper’s advisors, NAACP President George Forbes, to step down.

The cartoon, which appeared on the front page of the Cleveland Call & Post last week, shows State Senator Nina Turner as Aunt Jemima, criticizing her for supporting a reform issue that the paper believes failed to address underperforming schools and criminal justice issues.

Cartoon by Walt Carr depicting Ohio State Senator Nina Turner as Aunt Jemima.

Cartoon by Walt Carr depicting Ohio State Senator Nina Turner as Aunt Jemima.

“It was intended to offend some people. The damage done by this public official was done to black people,” Forbes told Channel 3’s Tom Beres.

Stanley Miller, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP civil rights organization, which opposed Issue 6, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he wasn’t upset about the politics behind the cartoon, but rather the negative stereotype that dates back decades.

“It’s more about the image of an African-American woman in 2009,” said Miller.

“Our opinions on these pages are just that: OUR OPINIONS,” the Call & Post wrote in a editorial defending the cartoon. “And we will continue taking tough stances regardless of the fallout that those stances may engender.”

Cleveland Council Majority Leader Phyllis Cleveland commented on this issue, calling the cartoon racist, sexist and degrading.

“You don’t have a monopoly on what’s good for the community. We have to tolerate all opinions and work together,” she said.

According to Channel 3, a similar controversy happened 20 years ago when the Plain Dealer published an editorial cartoon depicting a black woman officeholder in an Aunt Jemima-like outfit.

“The leader who lead the charge against the Plain Dealer was none other than George Forbes,” said Mary Anne Sharkey, Channel 3’s Political Analyst

[h/t – The Daily Cartoonist]