Karen Roberts, lohud, December 21, 2017
Jim Corbett wants to help political democrats and progressives cope with the current times by coloring.
The Yorktown native, now based in Seattle, has co-authored an adult coloring book, “I Am So Sick of White Guys,” which offers a message about white privilege and unchecked power.
The 61-page book contains images of political humor that take aim at controversial policies and politicians.
Instead of unicorns and snowmen, readers can color images of Donald Trump and illustrations that represent freedom of speech, Russian collusion theories, the Ku Klux Klan and football civil rights action.
“It came completely out of me screaming at my TV, and the way the GOP is taking the country off in a totally different direction,” says Corbett, who graduated from JFK High School in Somers.
He is, by the way, a white guy.
“I’m just a concerned citizen,” says the law librarian, in a phone interview.
Corbett and Tim Jones (another white guy) wrote the text; the 27 illustrations were done by veteran artist (and African-American) Steve Hartley. The coloring book is available online at Amazon for $10; Corbett says 10 percent of the profits are being donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“For us, this is a humorous coping mechanism. I am very frustrated and sad,” Corbett says. “But we want to make sure people understand this is not a vehicle of intolerance or hate. We are not trying to get people to hate white guys. We need people to have good coping mechanisms.”
He’s had firsthand experience with agitated white guys: Corbett went to Marist College in Poughkeepsie with conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly.
“I knew who he was. He was a loud-mouth even back then and went professional with it. Nobody could empty a room quicker than him.”
Corbett says the angry white guys don’t realize their advantages.
“You may have lost a battle here or there, but it’s not institutional racism or sexism that you have to deal with.
“Look, I’m a white guy; there’s a lot of white guys like me and this idea of white privilege is a real thing,” he says.
For example, he remembered getting in trouble as a young man and having his parents show up to smooth things over with police.
“I have been a beneficiary of white privilege and gotten in trouble for stupid things. If the same thing had happened to a couple of black kids it would have been different.”
He’s convinced people are confused about American symbols and their meaning.
For example, the much publicized protests by football players, started by Colin Kaepernick, off kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against police brutality.
“The flag is merely a symbol of what we revere and one of those things is free speech,” says Corbett. “In football, they are using a really visible way to get across that more than 800 unarmed people have been killed this year by police. It is outrageous.”
He wants to tell people that there is enough to go around in order to achieve the American Dream.
“It’s not a zero-sum game. With more people, it doesn’t mean there are fewer rights but that everyone should be sharing in the pie and opportunity. That’s the American Dream.”
Corbett says he contributed to Democratic candidate Doug Jones in Alabama and the win shows promise. “I’m thrilled that he won. There’s hope.”
He knows the book won’t necessarily sit well with conservatives but hopes to open minds.
“Be open to hearing other perspectives or opinion. And don’t be so defensive,” he says
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