Obama Cartoon in Daily Wildcat Called ‘Racist, Offensive’

October 2012: Arizona Daily Wildcat Apologizes for ‘Fruit Roll Up’ Cartoon Depicting Homophobia, Child Abuse

Charges of racism have been levied against The Arizona Daily Wildcat at the University of Arizona after the paper ran a political cartoon in its Wednesday issue that included the N-word.

The syndicated cartoon, headlined in part “Stories from the Campaign Trail,” recounted an actual recent event in which a Pennsylvania couple told a canvasser they intended to vote for “the n—–” for president, in respect to their apparent support for Barack Obama.  A screenshot of the cartoon is below, with the offending word in two bottom panels blurred.

The controversial Daily Wildcat cartoon

According to The Arizona Daily Star, Wildcat editors say the cartoon was run by mistake.  Critics are livid.  A pair of packed-house meetings have been held, with university students, staff, and community members demanding an apology and answers.  An e-mail signed by student leaders also  has been making the rounds calling for a reading and advertising boycott.

The professional cartoonist, who is African-American, wrote in a statement published in the Wildcat:

The strip is based on some true incidents that happened to canvassers in some battleground states.  Is it offensive?  Yes.  Is it sad?  Sure.  But that’s the reality of the United States and this very unique election.

OK, fair enough.  But there’s reality and then there’s news judgment.  It was Wednesday November 5th.  The country had just elected its first African-American president.  Amid all the economic woes and military strife, Obama’s big win represented a contemporary and historical moment of profound hope and change for the country.  If there is one day in which the offensiveness, the N-word, the underbelly of this hope and change could and should have been left out, it was the day after the election.

Running the cartoon appears to truly be an honest mistake on the Wildcat‘s part, and kudos to the editor in chief for owning up.  As she said, “The timing was absolutely horrible.  You want your content to be relevant and match the news of the day.”

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