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Editor explains paper’s reaction to Non Sequitur’s KKK cartoon

If you’re a regular reader of the comments on this blog, you may have followed a discussion regarding a recent Non Sequitur cartoon depicting a hen wearing a KKK hood who only lays white eggs. The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran that cartoon and received a few complaints. Their columnist,Ted Diadiun, has taken the time to explain their paper’s position on a newspaper (at least theirs) should pull a cartoon from the paper.

A few money quotes:

I realize that as a white man, I’m in no position to be lecturing about what black people should or shouldn’t be offended by, though, so I asked several black colleagues what they thought of the strip. They had varying reactions, but all had three things in common: They didn’t laugh. They didn’t think the strip was racist. And they didn’t think it should have been censored.

But the most interesting reaction was from someone outside the newsroom — Stan Miller, executive director of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP.

He said he had gotten some questions about the strip also, and called trying to reach the syndicated artist. But he said his own reaction to the strip was different from some of his callers.

“I saw it as a shot at the Klan,” he said. “It indicated that here we are in 2007, and the Klan is still doing knuckle-headed things, and the rest of society’s looking on, shaking its head.”

From Debra Adams Simmons, managing editor:

“Generally, I think it’s appropriate for newspapers to let comic strips run as they are presented by the artists,” she said. “Clearly, if the artist provides work that we know is going to be highly offensive to our readers, we have to consider that, but I’d be far more likely to err on the side of letting the comic stand.

“But that doesn’t mean I’ve never lost sleep over what’s going to be in the paper after I’ve made the decision,” she said.

The columnist ends with a great statement.

In the end, I think we should pick the syndicated comics that do the best job of appealing to the wide range of ways people laugh at the world, and then let the artists do their jobs.

You can check out the cartoon over on

Community Comments

#1 Pab Sungenis
@ 8:34 am

“‘I saw it as a shot at the Klan,’ he said. ‘It indicated that here we are in 2007, and the Klan is still doing knuckle-headed things, and the rest of societyâ??s looking on, shaking its head.'”

Bingo! That’s what the message was (or at least that’s what I gathered from Wiley’s comments here). I’m surprised that only one person, an “outsider,” understood that fact.

And why is newspaper circulation plummeting, again? Should we add “lack of intellectual ability by too many editorial staffs” to the list?

#2 Wiley Miller
@ 8:48 am

My e-mail address is printed on my cartoons every day.
Would’ve been nice if he bothered to ask me about it before running this column.

#3 Ed Power, writer of My Cage
@ 9:46 am

LOL! That’s weird. We had a biggot turkey in My Cage a few monthes ago.

Bernie the Turkey. He was a ‘Flight Supremacist’ (i.e. birds are superior to mammals). In it he confuses Norm the Platypus for a bird, and makes anti-mammal comments to him, then Norm has to explain he is a mammal and not a biggot regardless.

Great minds DO think alike I guess. :D

#4 Clay Jones
@ 10:18 am

I think it’s offensive to chickens.

#5 JBoy
@ 10:29 am

Surely you’re yolking.

#6 Angela Robinson
@ 4:59 pm

You people really crack me up! ;-)
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

#7 John Read
@ 7:28 pm

Wiley, are you sure he didn’t try to contact you? I’ve sent two e-mail questions to you at the address on your ‘toons (and confirmed with Paul Fell that that was the way to best contact you), but I’ve yet to get a reply. I know, I know – it could be ’cause you didn’t want to talk to ME…but possibly Mr.Diadiun tried?

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