Racially offensive cartoon
This letter is sent in response to the cartoon which appears in the Tempest volume 28, no. 2.
I found the cartoon to be offensive and in very poor taste. While I acknowledge First Amendment rights, I do not believe that bad judgment and bad timing are protected.
In this instance the cartoon is not only poorly timed, it offers no context or meaning to the publication. The fact that editors have discretion to print something, does not mean that they have to print it because there is a heavy sense of responsibility that goes with editorial discretion. In light of the fact that one of our African-American male students was recently killed this cartoon had no place in this school publication where students are mourning the loss of a loved one. The cartoon clearly states “black men just need to go away”!
This cartoon is inappropriate and absolutely should not have been placed under the editorial about a student who has just died. It should not have been included in this edition of the Tempest.
While the First Amendment provides important protections to the press and to each of us who wish to speak out in protest against oppressive governmental institutions, the press also carries important ethical obligations that in this instance have been ignored. Not only is this cartoon strip racially offensive on its face, it offers no context in its presentation. For example, there is no research presented in a companion article that documents any of the things said about black men, as depicted in the cartoon.
A serious journalistic effort would have given thought to context and impact. So the editorial board can stand behind the First Amendment however, what comes across is a seriously dismissive and unprofessional error.
I trust you will consider how this experience becomes a “classroom of real life in real time” and transcends a theoretical discussion of hypothetical events.