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North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor slams critical KKK cartoon

North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor held a press conference on Tuesday to express outrage over a political cartoon that linked him and other members of the State Board of Education to the Ku Klux Klan for their opposition to allowing teachers to speak about systemic racism in the United States.

The lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, is a Republican and a member of the board. He said it was wrong for the media outlet, WRAL.com, to post the cartoon. 

“On the second day of Black History Month, the first Black lieutenant governor of North Carolina has been portrayed as [racist],” he said. “That you would portray a Black man, just because he’s in the GOP, as a Klansman ... the hypocrisy is mind-numbing, folks.”

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The cartoon shows an elephant wearing a KKK robe and hood. The elephant is identified as "GOP members State School Board."

“It’s something we cannot stand for, folks,” Robinson said at a Tuesday press conference, according to The News&Observer.

"And if I ran a statewide publication like WRAL, I would not post something like that. It’s all about where you stand at the moment when you speak,” the Republican officeholder said.

Robinson said during Tuesday's presser he does not believe systemic racism exists. 

The editorial cartoon was published on the Opinion page of WRAL.com. Seth Effron, opinion editor for Capitol Broadcasting, defended the image.

“Editorial cartoons are creative and provocative, using hyperbole and satire,” Effron said.

“No one believes Republicans on the State Board of Education are members of the Ku Klux Klan. The editorial cartoon by Dennis Draughon is meant to point out that these members of the State Board are trying to wipe out from the social studies curriculum the record of racism which includes the Klan and the segregationist practices that were imposed in our state and nation’s history," he added.
 
Democrats on the board have been pressing for teachers in the state to be allowed to teach students that systemic racism exists, as well as racial and gender discrimination. Republicans have disagreed, according to the Raleigh newspaper.
 
It reported that at a meeting of the board last week, some GOP members said systemic racism didn't exist and that acknowledging the existence of racism would undermine teaching that the United States is the greatest country in the world.