A cartoon from “The K Chronicles” has caused quite a bit of controversy on the campus of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, after it was published in last Friday’s edition of the school’s student-run newspaper, “The Rocket.” In fact, many are screaming racism, but what I found amazing is that they are focusing on one small portion of the cartoon — a drawing of a black man hanging from a noose saying,”You’re doing this because I’m black, aren’t you?” while white characters accuse him of playing the race card.” According to media reports, the cartoon even led some students to go the Student Union with nooses around their necks. Newsflash to all the protesters — the cartoon’s author, Keith Knight, is an African American who was making a political satire comment on the state of race relations in this country.
There seems to be a separate issue in the cries of racism from some of the students. According to WYTV, some students said they have been hurt by recurring racism at Slippery Rock. That’s a separate issue and should be treated as such, but to tie it to this cartoon is just preposterous. The campus NAACP chapter and the Black Action Society were only too eager to jump on the bandwagon over the cartoon controversy, instead of addressing the allegations of racism on the college campus. They have reportedly scheduled a meeting with earlier this week with “The Rocket” staff and a march and protest are planned for Thursday. I am actually very surprised that it wasn’t picked up by the mainstream media. You will recall that the fallout that ensued in the NY Post “gorilla” cartoon. Do you find the cartoon offensive?
UPDATE#1: I spoke with Josh Rizzo, editor-in-chief of “The Rocket,” who was very candid and forthcoming in his comments. He met with some members of the NAACP and the Black Action Society and said he has a better understanding of why the students thought the cartoon was offensive. He said he would be more sensitive to African American students. He said we are not at the stage yet where printing such a cartoon would not spark controversy. He also added that the general consensus of the students was that the frame was offensive, despite the fact that the cartoonist is black. He closed by saying things in the past have run so deep, that any discussions on such matters will lead to outrage.