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Another college cartoon causes outrage

I swear I’ve written that headline before. This time the cartoon was published at Eastern Michigan University and depicts several individuals in KKK garb standing around a tree with a noose hanging from a branch. The caption reads, “Honey, This is the tree where we met.” Students, particularly African American students, found the cartoon offensive. According to The Detroit News The university has distanced itself from the newspaper issuing a statement, “The university does not exercise any editorial control over the content of the newspaper. The university does not condone or support any actions that are racially offensive or insensitive. reports that in addition to an apology being issued by the paper,

Community Comments

#1 Woodrow Barlettani
@ 10:44 am

….sounds like the shallow juvenile college press is learning, sometimes folks learn by their thoughtless mistakes,….maybe, sometimes it encourages their arrogant ignorance….protest, that is freedom

#2 Kelly Ferguson
@ 11:44 am

Here’s the cartoon, itself:

I’m at a loss as to why they thought this might be funny.

#3 Beth Cravens
@ 12:10 pm

Always watch out for the unsigned cartoon

#4 Steve Walsh
@ 12:42 pm

I didn’t laugh.

But I did chuckle.

I can pretty much tell what they were going for, they just didn’t quite get there. Such is life.

#5 Eddie
@ 2:18 pm

Why is this cartoon offensive and this one not:

Just curious. I’m offended by peanut butter on pancakes.

#6 Tony Piro
@ 4:38 pm

Meh. You could write an article like this almost every day about some university somewhere.

Between my time at two different UCs, I lost count of the number of offensive cartoons (and articles too) that I saw in the school papers.

#7 Mike Peterson
@ 4:44 pm

Eddie, when you’re old enough to have a last name, you’ll also be able to read the papers and you’ll find that the man Mr. Davies was making fun of had said things that sounded very much like what members of the Ku Klux Klan believe. So there was a point in suggesting that people like that would like him.

I can’t explain the other cartoon because it’s not funny. I think the point to that one is that it’s easier to draw people when you don’t have to actually draw them.

#8 Shane Davis
@ 5:08 pm

Putting this crappy cartoon up here gives it about 1000X more attention than it deserves.

This is the same juvenile junk that a lot of college papers put out, the same old tired tripe. When I was in college about 150 years ago in the ’80’s, it seemed every week a cartoon put Ronald Reagan in Nazi uniform, KKK bed sheets or hit man outfit. I often wondered, ‘Are they evey trying? Do they even care?’ This one strikes me the same way.

It’s intellectually lazy, boring and unimaginative.


#9 Dave Stephens
@ 6:31 pm

I was in college 150 years ago in the 80’s, too. My editor would have NEVER allowed me to draw any crap like that, she had that old-fashioned attitude – what was it called? – oh, yeah, integrity…

Also, I wasn’t an extremist nit-wit and neither was she. That helped, too.

Beloit College. They were fearless – made about half the Freshman class re-take basic english AND math… LOL
That would not fly these days…

#10 Eddie
@ 7:20 pm

Can’t wait till I’m old enough to have a last name.

#11 Tom Wood
@ 7:30 pm

“Its intent was to ask how can someone show affection for one person while at the same time hating someone else enough to commit such a heinous act as hanging.”

– Statement from the paper

The contradictions within the human psyche are the source material for a lot of interesting characters in literature, theater, and cinema. Maybe it’s too subtle for a simple cartoon, but it’s a valid subject.

#12 Jerry Zee
@ 8:36 am

The problem is that everybody wants an America created in their own image, rather than dealing with the vast variety of opinions and beliefs that exist. That’s why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are critical to our free society – they not only protect those who think and create from the government itself – our rights protect us from EACH OTHER.

We have become hypersensitive as a society, and too quick to look for and find offense in everything. Seek and ye shall find.

Free speech and a free press don’t exist to make us comfortable – they exist so that we can express and discuss ALL ideas, even those that are unpopular, make us uncomfortable or angry or that we disagree with. That is true freedom, and there will always be someone who will hate it when their own group is gored.

There is nothing offensive about this KKK cartoon. It actually is a jab at the KKK. But again, we are too willing to cave into hypersensitivity instead of standing up for our Constitutional rights.

#13 Tom Pappalardo
@ 1:40 pm

It is a poorly conceived joke that was poorly executed. Sounds like a college paper comic to me.

#14 Mike Peterson
@ 5:04 pm

“But again, we are too willing to cave into hypersensitivity instead of standing up for our Constitutional rights.”

That includes the right for people to buy or not buy a particular publication, and the right for advertisers to support or not support a particular publication, and the right for editors to set a tone for their publication that they feel they can stand behind.

If you want to draw cartoons that make people angry, it is your right. But you may end up running them on your own website and appealing to a very small audience. There is no obligation for anyone to support a point of view they consider stupid, unamusing, unentertaining, offensive, cloth-eared, foolish, racist, nonsensical or otherwise unworthy.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a guarantee of commercial success or even of publication. But you knew that.

#15 Ted Rall
@ 6:52 pm

The cartoon mocks racists.

But anyone can see that.

#16 Bryan Senka
@ 11:02 pm

I’m with Ted on this one, I can see what they were doing. It’s not that funny, but it’s still a valid political statement.

#17 Gar Molloy
@ 5:14 am

So… people coming together through shared hatred? I think that’s the joke.

Cute, I guess, but not especially funny.

#18 Jeff Stanson
@ 6:27 am

Too many college cartoonists and journalists have a misconception of freedom of speech that would translate to “just because I can think it, it is appropriate to be printed.” Their professorial mentors have either wrongly led them to believe anything is appropriate for a given audience, or they’re too afraid of an ACLU lawsuit to tell them any differently.

#19 Pete Tarkulich
@ 8:32 am

Tom Woods’s comment points out the exact issue (something I brought up about another controversial college newspaper strip) about intent and PERCEIVED intent. And I agree with Tom Pappalardo’s comment – the perceived intent overpowered the actual intent because the comic was poorly executed.

I admire the attempt at trying pointing out the hypocrisy of the KKK, but maybe it’s just too big an issue to deal with in a simple cartoon. A VERY simple cartoon.

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@ 10:12 pm

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@ 3:17 am

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