Editorial Cartoons: Language Diversity

This is the ninth lesson in the series "Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Social Justice."
Grade Level


Activities meet the following objectives:

  • understand the importance of context in decoding an editorial cartoon
  • understand how a cartoon uses satire to make a political statement

This is the ninth lesson in the series "Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Social Justice."



To understand any editorial cartoon, you need to understand its context. What issue or event does it address? What different points of view do people have about the issue? Without knowing these things, the cartoon will be meaningless to you. In this lesson, you will explore the context of an editorial cartoon to appreciate its message.

Monte Wolverton. Reprinted with Permission. Teachers may purchase individual cartoons for other lesson plans at PoliticalCartoons.com



Use a Think-Pair-Share approach to identify the context of this cartoon.

1. Think about the context of this cartoon. What issues do you think it addresses? What makes you think so?

2. Pair: Discuss the context with a partner.

3. Share with the rest of the class what you and your partner have discussed.

Once you’ve discussed what you and your classmates think about the context, you can learn more about language diversity and discrimination based on language by reading Linguicism and Everyone Has an Accent.


The Cartoon’s Strategy: Satire

Now that you’ve thought about the context, you can analyze the strategy that the cartoonist uses to express his editorial comment. Satire is one way that cartoonists ridicule something and make a point. Sometimes satire involves exaggeration. By overstating something, the cartoonist reveals to the reader how ridiculous it is.

1. Describe how this cartoon uses satire. 

2. What position does the cartoonist take regarding Americans who speak a language other than—or in addition to—English? What position does he take regarding those people who want everyone to speak only English in the United States?

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