March 7, 2023

Dilbert Canceled

The creator of the Dilbert comic strip faced a backlash of cancellations [last week] while defending remarks describing people who are Black as members of ‘a hate group’ from which white people should ‘get away.’… Adams referenced a Rasmussen Reports survey that had asked whether people agreed with the statement ‘It’s OK to be white.’ Most agreed, but Adams noted that 26% of Black respondents disagreed and others weren’t sure.” AP News

Both sides condemn Adams’s comments and criticize the poll he cited:

“It’s sad that this must even be said, but black Americans are not a hate group… While Adams later admitted that the poll was probably biased, and attempted to measure his claims, he did not clearly state that they were wrong. Conservatives should not advance Adams’ arguments as they stand and should decisively reject them: do not attempt to segregate our communities; do not let statistics justify discrimination against individuals or groups; do not treat people, in communities or as individuals, as representative of broadly construed groups.”
Jeremiah Ludwig, American Spectator

“Adams is just a prime example of the era we live in, a time when some people will say racist or bigoted remarks and then play the victim card, alleging that they have been victimized by ‘cancel culture’ in hopes of silencing their critics. In the minds of people like him, freedom of expression means being free to spew all the hate-filled garbage they want and in response, requiring the rest of us to bite our tongues. But that’s not how free speech works. People will and should push back against bigotry.”
Dean Obeidallah, CNN

“As Rasmussen surely knows, the phrase ‘It’s OK to be white’ is a right-wing troll that originated in the forums of 4chan… Better pollsters would tell you that if you really wanted to assess Americans’ views on race, as the Pew Research Center has done well, you would avoid terms with strong political associations like ‘it’s OK to be white,’ or even ‘Black Lives Matter.’ That is far from what happened here.”
Aymann Ismail, Slate

“Adams is well aware that the particular phrase ‘it’s OK to be White’ isn’t a neutral statement–it became a counterpoint to the whole Black Lives Matter movement and hence has a meaning to many Black people that extends beyond the plain meaning. It is a slogan some use as a refutation of a political movement. Again, that matters, and I am sure Adams knows that… Adams knew what he was doing: he wanted to be canceled.”
David Strom, Hot Air

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

“[Adams] has been able to tread further into controversy thanks to celebrity and power. Years of pushing boundaries only to see them stretch to accommodate him (as with the introduction of the first Black Dilbert character last year — who, true to Adams’s worldview, identified as White) simply reinforced his own self-confidence and led him to push harder… “You don’t simply jump from one poll about the views of Black Americans to a position of ‘I endorse avoiding Black people at all cost.’ This is a position that is already in your immediate vicinity if all it takes to be nudged across the boundary is one misleading poll question.”

Philip Bump, Washington Post

“[Adams] had the right to advise White people to ‘get the hell away from Black people’ — just as the media companies that published Adams’s work had the right to get the hell away from him. That is exactly how free speech is supposed to work… Free speech is not the same thing as consequence-free speech. The former is guaranteed by the Constitution. The latter is not. There is no right in this country to say grossly offensive things and expect those who are offended not to react.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

From the Right

“There exists a truly massive, obvious, and bizarre double standard when we Americans discuss issues of race

“In 2017, the New York Times, in fact, ran an op-ed literally titled ‘Can My Children Be Friends with White People?’ From my quick but open-minded read-through, I gleaned that the author’s answer was ‘not really.’ Over in the wilds of Medium, Sundiata Soon-Jahta wrote a popular piece a year ago that sounds almost verbatim like Scott Adams but in reverse. His title? ‘Why I Walked Away from White People.’… This sort of thing does seem to be having an effect…

“One of the most remarkable and yet never-cited pieces of data out there is that race relations have consistently gotten worse during the modern era’s ‘racial reckoning.’ In 2001, at the tail end of the ‘color-blind’ Michael Jordan/Larry Bird phase of American life, 62 percent of white adults rated U.S. race relations as good or very good, and an even higher proportion of blacks — 70 percent ­— said the same­. Now, however, the equivalent figures are just 43 percent for whites (a 31 percent drop) and a stunning 33 percent for blacks (a 53 percent drop).”
Wilfred Reilly, National Review

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