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EDITORIAL: Straightforward about 'Dilbert'

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | February 28, 2023 12:53 PM

You may notice that the comic strip “Dilbert” is missing from the paper. After recent events associated with the comic strip’s artist and writer, Scott Adams, and commentary on his YouTube channel, the Herald is choosing not to do business with him any longer.

Last week, Adams took to his video channel and went on a rant, inspired by poll results from Rasmussen Reports.

In that poll, 53% of Black respondents in the U.S. reported that they agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be white.” The results also indicated that 26% of Black respondents disagreed with the statement while 21% were unsure.

For context, the phrase, “It’s OK to be white,” has a history that suggests it shouldn’t be taken at face value. It’s OK to be whatever race one is born into. However, the phrase has been used by white nationalist groups for years now to bait people into arguments and conversations online and even to recruit followers into those same groups.

On a local front, flyers with the slogan, “It’s OK to be white,” were distributed in Moses Lake neighborhoods recently. On one side, the home-printed flyers simply had the catchphrase. On the other side, the flyers directed recipients to visit a website promoting white nationalism. That website is filled with references to long-disproven racist beliefs based on debunked topics like craniometry, intelligence quotients being racial qualities and other unfounded theories. Several condemnations of interracial marriage and diatribes about those of the Jewish faith were also included on the website. All laced with racial epithets and framed by swastikas.

All-in-all, just not a pleasant web address to visit.

In addition to that local concern, Adams’ comments continued to lean further and further into a racist rant. He called all Black Americans a collective hate group and advised white people to avoid Blacks entirely.

“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,” Adams said.

He adds that fixing the racial divide isn’t possible and that whites should avoid Blacks entirely.

That mindset is exactly the opposite of what the Herald holds true. The communities we serve aren’t wonderful because we all stay in our race groups, but because we all work together regardless of skin tone to support one another. Our neighborhoods are filled with folks of every race, creed, religion and way of life. The Hispanic potato farmer works alongside the Black mechanic and both buy their food from the caucasian clerk at the local grocery store. The white wrestler cheers his Indigenous and Asian teammates on to victory and we all pitch in whenever a neighbor is hurting somehow.

This move away from Adams’s work isn’t simply cancel culture at work. As a news outlet, we understand that freedom of speech is also a responsibility. Adams chose to use his platform in an irresponsible and hateful way which we simply cannot condone.

There is a reason we print a correction whenever we make an error in a story – because it’s our responsibility to do so and ensure our readers have correct information to base decisions on.

In contrast, when confronted about his comments on multiple televised interviews, Adams doubled down, saying his comments were being misconstrued. Not once has he apologized or recanted in any way that makes the situation better. He’s simply dug his proverbial hole deeper.

Frankly, that’s nonsense.

Calling all Black people a “hate group” is straightforward. Telling whites to “get the f–k away” from Black people is straightforward.

Our response is thereby straightforward as well. We will no longer be publishing “Dilbert” or any other items associated with Adams. Should you have a suggestion on a comic you’d like to see replace that strip, drop me a line at editor@columbiabasinherald.com.

I understand that some of our readers may disagree with our decision. Your concerns may be emailed to me at the above address as well, and I will respond to them promptly.

As we move forward, let’s remember that racism has no place in our communities and our nation. We’ve made progress in equity and eliminating racism, but we are sadly not finished with the work that needs to be done – as this situation demonstrates. Take care of one another out there.