Who Is Afraid Of ‘Dilbert’? – OpEd


Scott Adams, creator of the ‘Dilbert’ comic strip has overnight become a pariah in the mainstream media for his segregationist comments and his cartoon removed by newspapers across the US.

These are some of the comments that put Scott Adams in the current crisis:

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with White people – according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll – that’s a hate group…I don’t want to have anything to do with them…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 … because there is no fixing this.”

These statements were made in the context of the results of a conservative opinion poll wherein 26% of blacks said that they did not agree with the statement “It’s OK to be white” and 21% of them said that they were unsure.

To begin with, what sort of a silly question is this for a poll? What does it mean for someone to ask a non-white person whether they agree with the statement, if it is okay to be white or not? If I were white, how does it matter to me whether someone thinks it’s okay or not okay for me to be white? I am white. Period. Is the whiteness of the person the real issue or the mentality of the person who believes that he or she is specially endowed, because they perceive themselves as ‘white’? Whoever framed this question is to be blamed and not the respondent. You cannot have a right answer for a wrong question. Opinion polls with simplistic, misleading questions like this one rarely reflect the feelings of an entire social group.

Scott Adams ought to have known better than responding in such an impulsive manner. Assuming that, “nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with White people,” there is still the other half that is okay with them. By his own logic, white people should have no trouble interacting with half of all the blacks. Why should therefore white people stay away from all black people? I am just pointing out the discrepancies in Scott’s statement. The first thing that ought to have come to his mind was to challenge the rationality of the poll. Instead, for him to right away conclude that black people across the board are not okay with white people being white is not the mark of an intelligent person. A fair amount of healthy skepticism combined with some irony is the right attitude in these kinds of situations. It is important to laugh back at the person that is expecting a response from you for a question with a clearly divisive agenda.

The hyper-reaction of the newspapers that dropped ‘Dilbert’, taking away the ‘income’ and ‘reputation’ of Mr. Scott Adams is not going to help in improving race relations in the US. By ‘canceling’ the comic strip, the newspapers are indirectly endorsing the comments that he made. The question itself, which I think is racist, is legitimized in the process; that it is okay to ask black people whether a white person can be ‘white’ or not. This is a question that needs to be posed to a white person, if at all. Why should a black or any other non-white person be responding to it in the first place? Why should it matter to me if someone is white or not! All that matters is how that person relates to me at an individual level. Human nature is neither black nor white; it is just human nature. It’s not an absolute; it’s a variable. Nevertheless, that’s what makes people complex and not easy to judge based on external parameters such as race, religion, region or language.     

First and foremost, it is foolish of Mr. Adams to assume that all blacks are dying to get close to white people for their needs or for that matter that all whites intend to help black people. I don’t think that’s remotely the case. At the same time, for him to call black people a “hate group” without sufficient reason, is wrong, to say the least.

But for the newspapers to punish him for his comments by removing his cartoon and destroying his reputation is unacceptable. Scott Adams can be accused of having a wrong view of black people or of race relations. That doesn’t mean he should be without a source of income. Expressing a wrong view is not particularly sinful as long as it does not lead to violence and disturbance on the streets. To punish a person for expressing wrong views reflects the majoritarian self-righteousness of an imperial state that made a man of questionable integrity like George Bush Jr. win the elections twice and brought a white supremacist like Donald Trump to power. Unfortunately, it is made to seem like blacks are responsible for whatever is happening to Scott Adams, when they have not been consulted in making the decision with regard to his comic strip. One white guy is the victim, all blacks are villains and the heroes are the corporate white Americans defending the right against the wrong; this is the picture that the common person on the street is likely to get.  

This is a corporate media-state conspiracy to keep people divided in the name of race and ensure that they never unite to challenge the alienation and injustice that common masses are subjected to on a daily basis. It would be much more rational for common whites and blacks not to allow politicians and corporations to divide them. First, check the ownership of the newspapers that are embarking on this self-appointed mission to save “blacks” from the white people with “bad” intentions towards them. Once you figure that part out, you can be sure that you know who your real enemy is: the one who is opposed to race, class and gender equality, the one who is opposed to ordinary people coming together for a common cause that will empower the weak and the one who is opposed to providing free food, universal healthcare and housing for the working masses.


“Hundreds of newspapers drop ‘Dilbert’ comic strip after racist tirade from creator Scott Adams,” https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/25/business/dilbert-comic-strip-racist-tirade/index.html

“Hundreds of US newspapers drop Dilbert: Cartoonist Scott Adams’ racist comments, and his past controversies,” https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-culture/dilbert-dropped-scott-adams-racist-comments-past-controversies-8469784/

Prakash Kona

Prakash Kona is a writer, teacher and researcher who lives in Hyderabad, India. He is Professor at the Department of English Literature, The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad.

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