An editorial cartoon
that ran in the University of Florida’s newspaper the Independent Florida Alligator
on Tuesday (September 13) featuring rapper Kanye West and the word n**ga has generated
controversy and outrage from numerous student groups, who said the paper was reinforcing
The cartoon played off of
West’s comments that “George Bush doesn’t care about black
West criticized the President’s
handling of the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts on a live NBC telethon on Friday,
September 2 during the “ Concert for Hurricane Relief.”
The cartoon, which ran in
Tuesday’s edition, featured West handing a playing card labeled “The
Race Card” to United States Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.
Over the cartoon was a caption
with the words "N**ga Please!"
The artist who drew the
cartoon, Andy Marlette, said the cartoon was not meant to be racist and said
of the cartoon: "If anything it's celebrating a black person who has really
done something great and represents the best of black culture," Marlette
said referring to Rice.
Independent Florida Alligator editor
Mike Gimignani said the paper has received numerous phone calls and letters
about the cartoon.
"(Marlette) is very
good at pushing buttons," Gimignani told the Gainesville Sun. "Unfortunately,
there is a little too much tied to this word."
Members of the black student
union and other campus organizations are demanding an apology from the paper.
“The recent editorial
cartoon with its associated editorial comment printed in the Independent Florida
Alligator demonstrated a need for further education on the balance of these
principles,” said Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF Vice President of Student
Affairs. “There was a significant disconnect between the two principles
and a lack of respect and awareness of our mission as an institution. Moreover,
the symbolisms utilized were hurtful and inappropriate; and regardless of their
original intent, reinforced negative stereotypes of individuals within our community.
This is unacceptable.”
Terry L. Mills, Ph. D.,
Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Minority Affairs said
that for many, the word is not a term of endearment.
the use of this word in popular media and the youth culture of today, many individuals
with a sense of history, justice and equality still find the n-word, and all
other symbols of hatred, to be distasteful and insulting,” Mills said.