This comic is meant to respond to the possible way that an earlier comic could have been taken. A comic titled “Undersexed” that printed on 10/31/2002, could have been taken as racist, stereotyping black males as racist and violent, looking for a reason to beat up a white male to vent anger. It is all too easy to agree with the portrayal of black males that has been the foundations of institutionalized racism. This comic, through its humor, may have flown under the radar of many who would not recognize the subtle racism it potentially conveys.
In my response, spoken in the same language as the original comic, I wished to illustrate the point that we need to be aware of our history of violent racism, as well as our present institutionalized racism. The comic begins with “When Comics Aren’t Funny?” to give readers the understanding that this is not intended to be a joke, it is intended to make a point. It continues to say that “This has happened ? Everywhere, USA” to show that the racism that will be depicted has happened everywhere in the United States in our past.
The three scenes of the comic mimic the presentation of the original “Undersexed” comic strip. The first scene shows the setting up of the wordplay. The second scene shows it coming to fruition in a racial epithet, and the enactor of violence responding in a linguistic fashion outside of Standard English (where in the original, “SAY WHAT” was uttered by the black character, here the white character says, “What you say, boy?”). The usage of “boy” refers to the legacy of demasculinizing black males. The third scene depicts the violence that is so hard for us to bear. Lynching is probably the most violent of any racial crimes that have been perpetuated since slavery, and is thus symbolic of the violence whites have been responsible for against blacks. The blank face of the white character is especially prominent in this scene in order to illustrate how racism, especially racial violence, dehumanizes us all.
The comic finishes with the statement that it is the other side of the 10/31 comic. In giving readers an understanding of past racism, this comic attempts to give readers a lens for re-reading the original comic, this time better able to understand the subtle racism that is conveyed through it, which only perpetuates institutionalized racism.
The intent of the comic is to give food for thought, and to convey the opinion that racism will not be solved and eradicated until the community can have a healthy discussion on race.
This comic is by its nature offensive, and the author would like to apologize to all students, employees, and readers for any offense taken. However, it was never meant to be confusing or unclear. The author hopes that any concerns or questions have been answered by reading this explanation, but will answer further questions or concerns by e-mail.
Any questions or concerns regarding the Campus Times, its choice in printing the comics or its opinions should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Todd Hildebrandt by email or by reaching him directly at 233-9843.
Thank you for reading.