The Arizona Desert Lamp

Daily Wildcat statement on Comic

Posted in Campus, Media by Evan Lisull on 6 November 2008

From today’s paper:

We owe our readers an explanation about a comic we ran Wednesday, “The K Chronicles,” that used a derogatory term: the “N-word.”

The comic that was published was not intended to run; the Editor in Chief had selected a different comic, the one shown at right, to match the excitement of the election. There was a miscommunication within our staff, and the wrong comic made its way into the paper. The Editor in Chief accepts full responsibility for this error.

As for the comic that did run, the timing was horrible. Instead of embracing the joy of this momentous occasion, the comic focused on racism that canvassers witnessed during President Obama’s campaign. The artist, Keith “Keef” Knight, had intended for the comic to run a week or two ago, when campaigning was still underway. We have apologized to him for running this comic after its time.

We understand that the language of the comic has upset many people across campus. We contacted Keef directly, so that he might share an explanation of what was going through his head.

Keef explained to the Editor in Chief that he is vehemently against the “N-word,” but that “the reason I chose to use the ‘N-word’ is because it juxtaposes the idea that they’re going to vote him in … It wouldn’t work if (they said), ‘We’re voting for the black guy.’ … Obama’s campaign has been so successful that they have been able to get to places, to canvass in places that no Democrat has been before.” He also added, “These casual racists are actually going to vote a black guy in … It’s a slightly hopeful situation … a uniquely only-in-America moment.”

The Daily Wildcat has been running Keef’s comic, which routinely addresses race and political issues within our society, since the beginning of the semester – not to upset our campus community, but in an attempt to help create discussion and provide a voice for what we feel is an underrepresented group on our campus.

In many of Keef’s comics, the racism shown – such as police brutality (Sept. 24 issue, page B7) – does not need explanation because people know it has happened. This particular comic covered an issue the nation’s media did not cover, and it was not clear that the artist was reconstructing an actual event to make a political comment.

Our letters column is always available to readers so that your voices and viewpoints will be shared with our community, and the Editor in Chief is available to discuss any concerns about any content that appears on our pages.

Lauren LePage
Editor in Chief

A few things of note here, the most important being that the paper is not apologizing for the content — in fact, it defends it the penultimate paragraph. Instead, the paper is apologizing for the timing of the publication, which is more a technical flub than anything with “intent” as alleged by Sen. Andre Rubio, among others.

So far, there’s been no statement on Keef’s blog regarding the University of Arizona specifically.

One Response

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  1. J said, on 7 November 2008 at 1:37 am

    I agree. The Wildcat still has their freedom of speech and I feel ignorance of this is where confusion about the “proper action” originates. However, the Wildcat readership (or a large voice of the readership) have spoken and the Wildcat has hopefully decided to not publish such candid language in something like a comic that doesn’t necessarily provide a blatant purpose for using this language. I feel that the cartoon would have made a great article; but unfortunately, the readership speaks and when they have contacted all of your sponsors and ad companies about the comics “distasteful” word, you must succumb.

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