In Mix-Up, Second College Paper Runs Obama ‘N-Word’ Cartoon

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By: Dexter Hill

A newspaper cartoon that has already sparked controversy after being run in a New Jersey college newspaper has caused an uproar again. This time, an Arizona college newspaper has been criticized for a poorly timed oversight.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat, a newspaper serving the University of Arizona in Tuscon, on Wednesday unintentionally ran the syndicated cartoon that used the ‘N’ word in reference to President-elect Barack Obama.

The cartoon features a canvasser asking a Pennsylvania woman who she intended to vote for. The woman asks her husband, who responds from inside the home, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!” The woman then tells the baffled canvasser, “We’re votin’ for the n***er.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star in Tuscon, the cartoon appeared in the college paper Wednesday because of a “production error.” Wildcat Editor in Chief Lauren LePage had originally selected a comic that commemorated the Obama election victory; another editor had chosen the controversial comic from a server and placed it on the page. LePage then replaced the other editor’s pick with her own on the server — but not on the page. She didn?t catch the error until the newspaper was printed, the Daily Star reported.

LePage called the incident an ?honest mistake.? Other students were offended and demanded the newspaper apologize for publishing the controversial content and have called for a boycott of the Wildcat.

Keith Knight, the syndicated cartoonist who created the cartoon, has commented on this latest conflict over his cartoon on his blog. He has dubbed the fallout over his work “the controversy that just won’t end” and has posted letters from newspaper readers both extolling and condemning the strip. Knight calls the Daily Wildcat incident “a very unfortunate mix-up,” and has talked to the editor,
who apologized, according to the blog.

In an official statement in response to students upset with the cartoon being intentionally run in the Montclair State University newspaper, Knight defended his cartoon as depicting a harsh reality in this year’s election.

“Straight-up racists are prepared to pull the lever for a black man,? he said. ?While some folks out there, who never thought they were prejudiced, aren’t going to vote for him because of his skin color,” Knight wrote. “Should we ignore stuff like this? I don’t think so. Should it be in a comic strip? Yes!!”

Page explains the incident in an editorial in today’s newspaper. She calls the controversy “damaging to our campus and our community.” Wishing to move forward, the Daily Wildcat has suspended Knight’s comic and is seeking out a student cartoonist to feature in future editions of the newspaper.

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