Michigan Daily (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Dec. 7, 2005
The University chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People may be considering boycotting The Michigan Daily because of an editorial cartoon it published Nov. 28.
The cartoon displays a classroom of smiling dark-skinned students with a single white student. The dark-skinned teacher is shown saying that everyone in the class will receive preference when applying to the University because of affirmative action policies, except the white student.
NAACP 2nd Vice President Jamila Fair said the cartoon reduced affirmative action to a black-white issue. Affirmative action policies do not only benefit blacks but also groups such as women and other minorities, Fair said.
“It makes it seem like affirmative action is only a black and white issue,” Fair said. “To the NAACP it was a slap in the face. It hurt what we are trying so hard to fight.”
NAACP members said the Daily should not have printed the cartoon because they said it is racist. Members also said that the cartoon stereotypes blacks as a minority group that is both abusing affirmative action policies and underqualified to attend the University.
Last Thursday, Daily editors held a meeting with its cartoonists about the way it portrays ethnic and racial groups. A column from Pesick explaining the Daily’s actions will run on the front page tomorrow. Wednesday’s paper will carry a report from the Daily’s Multicultural Commission, which set out in March to examine the Daily’s coverage of multicultural issues on campus and its commitment to diversity.
Part of the NAACP’s concern with the cartoon, Fair said, was the lack of interpretation the Daily offered along with it.
“There are so many ways to interpret the cartoon,” she said.
Fair urged the Daily’s cartoonists to thoroughly research their opinions before putting them into the paper.
“I personally cried when I saw it,” Fair said.
Fair said the NAACP’s grievances with the Daily are not limited to the cartoon. The group was also upset over an article that failed to identify a suspect of a crime as white. The article ran a week after another article identified the race of a suspect in a crime as black.
“The cartoon was just icing on the cake,” she said.
NAACP vice president Alex Moffett would not comment on the issue and said she will no longer be speaking to the Daily.