The long-running comic strip Dilbert has been widely dropped from publication after its creator, Scott Adams, was falsely accused of being both a racist and segregationist.
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Adams came under scrutiny after addressing a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports which found that only a very small percentage of black Americans disagreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white”.
According to the poll, of the 1,000 individuals surveyed from across various ethnic and political groups, roughly 18% of Black respondents – or roughly 180 individuals – asserted that they “Strongly Disagree” with the statement as presented.
Similarly, 8% of Black respondents – or 80 individuals – “Somewhat disagreed with the statement” while 21% – 210 individuals – were “Not Sure” how they felt about the phrase.
Taking notice of the poll on or around February 22nd, Adams carved time out of that day’s episode of Real Coffee with Scott Adams to comment on – ridicule, even – its results.
“Rasmussen had a provocative little poll today,” prefaced the author. “They said, ‘Do you agree or disagree with the statement that ‘it’s OK to be white?’ That was an actual question.”
He further noted, “Rasmussen asked white and black voters, and probably others, ‘do you disagree with the statement that ‘it’s OK to be white?’ 26% of blacks said ‘No, it’s not okay to be white.’ 21% weren’t sure.”
“Adding together, that is 47% of black respondents were not willing to say ‘it’s okay to be white,'” Adams summarized of the 470 individuals who provided such negative answers. “That’s actually… that’s like a real poll. This just happened. Did you have any idea? Would you have imagined that that could happen?”
Making a comment that was obviously meant to be taken as light-hearted humour, the artist then said, “As you know, I’ve been identifying as black for a while. Because I like to be on the winning team. And I like to help.”
“I always thought, ‘Well, if you help the black community, that’s the biggest lever,'” Adams explained. “You know, you can find the biggest benefit. So I thought, ‘Well, that’s the hardest thing and the biggest benefit, so I like to focus a lot of my life resources in helping black Americans.'”
“So much so that I started identifying as black,” he then revealed. “To just be on the team I was helping. But it turns out that nearly half of that team doesn’t think I’m ‘okay to be white,’ which is, of course, why I identified as black, so I could be on the winning team for a while.”
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Explaining that he isn’t always easily influenced by poll results he comes across, he admits that Rasmussen’s latest survey did manage to change his mind.
Declaring that he normally gives little weight to such polls, Adams admitted, “I have to say, this is the first political poll that ever changed my activities.”
“I don’t know that that’s ever happened before,” the befuddled creator continued. “Normally you see a poll, you just look at it [and] you go ‘whatever, yeah. Oh, this is interesting what other people think.”
He went on, “But as of today I’m going to re-identify as white because I don’t want to be a member of a hate group. I had accidentally joined a hate group. So, nearly half of all blacks are not okay with white people – according to this poll, not according to me. According to this poll, that’s a hate group.”
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“And I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” he affirmed in follow-up. “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—k away. Wherever you have to go, just get away — because there’s no fixing this.”
“This can’t be fixed,” he argued. “You just have to escape. So that’s what I did, I went to a neighbourhood where, you know, I have a very low black population because unfortunately there’s high correlation between the density — and this is according to [CNN anchor Don Lemon], by the way. ”
“So here I’m just quoting Don Lemon when he notes that when he lived in a mostly black neighbourhood there were a bunch of problems that he didn’t see in white neighbourhoods,” Adams recounted. “So even Don Lemon sees a big difference in your own quality of living based on where you live and who’s there.”
Ultimately, Adams declared, “I think it makes no sense whatsoever, as a white citizen of America, to try to help black citizens anymore — it doesn’t make sense. It’s no longer a rational impulse.”
Adams’ mention of Lemon refers to a 2013 appearance made by the CNN This Morning host on the network’s sister show, CNN’s News Room, wherein he listed five steps that black Americans could take to start fixing their community.
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“Here’s number five: pull up your pants,” began Lemon. “Walking around with your a** and your underwear showing is not okay. In fact, it comes from prison when they take away belt from the prisoner so that they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role a prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex. The one with the really low pants is a submissive one. You get my point.”
At number four came Lemon’s recommendation that the black community refrain from using the N-word, with the TV personality explaining, “By promoting the use of that word when it’s not germane to the conversation, have you ever considered that you may just be perpetuating the stereotype the master intended acting like a n*****?”
For his third point, the CNN anchor declared, “Respect where you live. Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities. I’ve lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life. I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering.”
“I live in Harlem now,” he recalled. “It’s an historically black neighbourhood. Every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.”
“Number two: Finish school,” Lemon continued his list. “You want to break the cycle of poverty. Stop telling kids they’re acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English.”
“A high school dropout makes on average $19,000 a year,” he detailed. “A high school graduate makes $28,000 a year. A college graduate makes $51,000 a year over the course of a career. A college grad will make nearly a million dollars more than a high school graduate. That’s a lot of money.”
Pointing to a 2010 study conducted by the CDC’s the National Vital Statistics System – which concluded that “The proportions of nonmarital births vary widely among population sub groups. In 2010, these proportions were 17 percent for API, 29 percent for non-Hispanic white, 53 percent for Hispanic, 66 percent for AIAN, and 73 percent for non-Hispanic black births” – Lemon ultimately closed out his list by sharing what he considered to be “probably the most important [thing black Americans can do to help]: just because you can have a baby it doesn’t mean you should—especially without planning for one or getting married first.”
“More than 72 percent of children in the African American community are born out of wedlock,” said Lemon. “That means absent fathers and the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison. And the cycle continues.”
But despite raising the same points that even the ideologically-poisoned Lemon would have agreed with just a little over a decade ago – and publicly, no less – Adams has since found himself facing outright cancellation for his opinions.
While numerous publications would respond to the author’s comments by dropping Dilbert from their pages (with a Washington Post spokesperson even apologizing for being unable to remove the strip’s Sunday edition before the paper was published), the most prominent entity to distance themselves from Adams was his publisher, Andrews McMeel Universal.
Taking to Twitter on February 26th, the noted comic strip publishing-and-syndication house announced that not only would they be “severing our relationship with Dilbert creator Scott Adams,” but that this decision would “extend to all areas of our business with Adams and the Dilbert comic strip.”
“As a media and communications company, AMU values free speech,” said the publisher. “We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate. Recent comments by Scott Adams regarding race and race relations do not align with our core values as a company.”
“Our creator -first approach is foundational to AMU, and we deeply value our relationships with our creators,” AMU concluded. “However, in the case with Adams, our vision and principles are not compatible.”
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