Charlie Hebdo didn’t publish that Mediterranean drowning cartoon — and it isn’t racist

Satire always takes the risk of being misinterpreted. Some publishers try to minimize that risk by alerting the reader, avoiding surprise, but usually burying the joke in the process.

When Ali Dilem drew a cartoon published by Liberte in Algeria, depicting African migrants drowning in the Mediterranean, he was referring to France’s immigration policy for non-EU residents, called “regroupement familial,” which arguably has done less to reunify families than see them broken apart. (H/t to Homo economicus for the explanation.)

Unfortunately, the cartoon has now taken on a life of its own on Twitter where it is being portrayed as a flagrant expression of racism by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo:

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