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University Of Minnesota Student Paper Runs Racist Cartoon

The University of Minnesota‘s

student newspaper published a cartoon spoofing hip-hop in its student newspaper,

The Daily last week. The cartoon was drawn by former Minnesota Daily graphic

designer, Mike DeArmond. The cartoon depicts a young black man using typical

urban slang, denying that he impregnated his girlfriend, whom he accuses of

being promiscuous. In the background, there are such items as a bottle of malt

liquor and a poster of Tupac Shakur.

DeArmond says that his cartoon was inspired by

college culture, MTV pop culture and various rap songs. The newspaper claimed

that DeArmond was fired in the past week for job issues unrelated to the cartoon,

while DeArmond said that he continued to work until the last day of semester

last week. DeArmond’s cartoon, which was titled "Thuggish Ruggish,"

managed to get past even the Editor In Chief, Mike Wereschagin.

This is not the first incidence that a racist

cartoon has run in the paper. In October of 2000, the Daily published a take

on Spike Lee’s movie, "Bamboozled," which featured President Mark

Yudof in blackface. Some African-American students say the Daily should refund

their portion of student fees that support the magazine. The campus has 1,400

African-American students, which each pay $6.12 to support the paper. The total

would be $8,568, which supporters say could help support African-American student

groups on campus.

Shanna Orr, who is the the newspaper’s next president

and who is African-American said that the odds were "pretty good"

that the paper would not publish anymore parody issues.

Various student groups will meet this week to

discuss working with the newspaper to promote diversity. Below is the apology

that the Editor In Chief, Mike Wereschagin posted on The Daily’s website:

On Monday, May 15, a cartoon was printed on the

back page of The Minnesota Daily. Many in the University community have since

expressed how offended they were by the cartoon. I would like to take this opportunity

to tell readers that what was printed was not meant to be malicious, derogatory

or racist. I apologize to members of this community for any offense they might

have taken from the cartoon. I did not foresee how it would affect community

members and so I let it get into print. Those employed at The Minnesota Daily

work hard every day to serve the University community and I hope you, the reader,

can see that the decision to print that cartoon in no way changes the dedication,

commitment and abilities of those who work here.

Sincerely,

Mike Wereschagin.

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