[We didn’t have time to write a post about the Keith Knight controversy yesterday, but Torsten Adair took time out of his commenting/work schedule to write one for us.]
WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio, reportsthat students at Slippery Rock University, located in western Pennsylvania, are upset about a recent “K Chronicles” cartoon written and drawn by Keith Knight. In the strip Knight satirizes the current “post racial” society in this country, where any complaints by African-Americans are dismissed as “playing the race card”.
Students at SRU feel that the cartoon, especially the first panel showing the cartoonist being lynched, is one more example of recurring racism at the university. According to an SRU report from Spring 2008, 87% of the 7,836 students at the university are classed as “White, non-Hispanic”. The local NAACP college chapter plans a peaceful protest and march through campus on Thursday afternoon.
Keith Knight’s official statement deals with the protests with his usual aplomb:
A comic strip can be about more than cats eating lasagna or how stupid your boss is. Some of the best comic strips point out truths not only though humor, but through satire.
Many of my best strips involve real issues: Racism, suicide, war, disease. I mix those in with more humorous, less serious issues.
In the first panel of this specific comic strip, white people accuse a black man, who is about to be lynched, of pulling the race card. This is an exaggerated, satirical version of what we often see and hear in mainstream media: the victim gets accused of pulling the race card, which is an easy way to dismiss the real issues involved.
Beat readers may recall that last October, the newspaper of Montclair State University in New Jersey issued an apology after readers were offended by a cartoon which commented on the Presidential election of 2008. The cartoon was based on a real event which occurred in Washington, Pennsylvania, which is 75 miles south of Slippery Rock. (The cartoon is also available at the K Chronicles website.)
Heidi adds: Gawker has a snarky write-up on this, and the best part of the whole kerfuffle may well be Knight patiently killing the frog by explaining what humor is and how it works.