By: Lawrence Johnson | March 13, 2023
Read more at https://theblacksphere.net/2023/03/its-ok-to-be-white-maybe/
“Why, you little… I’ll teach you to laugh at something that’s funny!” -Homer Simpson
As a society, we understand very well the term, “free speech isn’t free.” This double-entendre statement has arguably been more applicable in the past several years than in any other time in history. That all freedoms come at a cost, most understand, but the freedom to say what you believe or think, is literally under siege these days.
In such cases, due to terms like, ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation,’ it need not even be a lie; an imagined slight is all it takes. This quote from “The Simpson’s movie” back in 2007 references an ideology that at the time, seemed far-fetched. However, as life imitates art in 2023, simply laughing at something funny or speaking unpopular truths can end a career.
During the last weekend of February 2023, the popular comic strip “Dilbert” was dropped by nearly 80 newspaper outlets across the country after what many considered a ‘racist rant’ by its creator, Scott Adams.
According to News One, “It followed an incident in which Adams, on his program “Real Coffee with Scott Adams,” reacted to a recent survey by Rasmussen Reports that concluded only 53% of Black Americans agreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white.” If only about half thought it was OK to be white, Adams remarked, this qualified Black Americans as a “hate group.” “I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” Adams added. “And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the f— away because there is no fixing this. This can’t be fixed.”
Adams later doubled down on his statements, writing on Twitter that “Dilbert has been canceled from all newspapers, websites, calendars, and books because I gave some advice everyone agreed with.”
According to Forbes, this was the timeline of events:
- February 22: Adams spends several profanity-laden minutes telling white people to “get away” from Black people after reading a Rasmussen poll that found that only 53% of Black respondents agreed with the statement, “It’s okay to be white.”
- February 24: Some newspapers and publishing groups, including the USA TODAY Network and Advance Local Group, decide to stop publishing Dilbert, removing the cartoon from over 200 papers across the country.
- February 25: The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Antonio Express-News, among others, drop Dilbert.
- February 25: Adams expands on his remarks in an almost two-hour interview with online personality Hotep Jesus.
- February 26: Adams links to Saturday’s interview and tweets he’s only accepting criticism from people who know the full context, claiming that much of the coverage against him is “fake news.”
- February 26: Elon Musk tweets support of Adams, claiming: “For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.
- February 26: The National Cartoonists Society disavows “all forms of racism and discrimination” (Dilbert won the Society’s highest honor, the Reuben Award, in 1998).
- February 27: Adams is dropped by publishing company Andrews McMeel Universal, whose chairman and CEO tweeted that the company supports free speech but not “commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”
- February 28: Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House, cancels the September release of Adams’ Reframe Your Brain, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Cancel Culture Gone Crazy
Though Adams has been derided for his outspokenness before, this was something new. In a matter of only four days, an iconic comic strip with millions of devoted readers is erased from newspapers all over America. Amazing how damaging thinking aloud can be.
Whether audiences of media, social and otherwise realize it, we are at an inflection point. While it may appear hyperbolic, unless you’ve been sleeping- we should all be concerned. One of the best things that Americans and those seeking to be citizens of this country once appreciated was our Constitution.
Within that document sits a list of Amendments, and these contained rights that bestowed freedoms on every American. Among those are rights against illegal search and seizure, the right to bear arms, and of course- the freedom of speech.
No doubt most of us have watched over time as those rights (mentioned and not mentioned) have not just eroded, but rather, simply been taken away. If the adage, “absolute power corrupts absolutely” tells us anything, our Constitution, as is, may have a shelf life, with a looming expiration date.
While this writer does not agree entirely with Scott Adams’ feelings or assessment, he has every right to say it, much like a Klansman in full-hooded garb, can, and has the right to walk into an all-black-neighborhood and yell, “I HATE NIGGERS!” from the top of his lungs- at his own peril. And while “The Simpsons” is not anyone’s paragon of virtue, hope or even familial example, Homer’s words still ring no less true.
As we watch black-and-white films of civil rights attacks from the 60’s, and cringe at the Holocaust atrocities of the 40’s, we dare not be so naïve to miss the fact that history is repeating herself. However, don’t be fooled. It isn’t through angry words and rhetoric that this is occurring, and not even because of those colleges and venues that boycott and allow the shouting down of speakers.
It won’t be due to judges being mocked and bullied from outside their own homes, or pro-lifers being accosted because of praying in front of abortion clinics. No, it will be because of those that knew it happened, those
that heard it happened, those that saw it happen, and those sat by as it happened-and did nothing.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened; stay tuned.
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