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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    ‘Bigoted’ comic ‘disgusting’

    We write in response to Joseph Topmiller’s “”comic”” in yesterday’s Wildcat. While we defend Mr. Topmiller’s right to hold and express whatever bigoted ideas he cherishes, the Wildcat is certainly not compelled to publish such despicable rubbish. Thus, the editors of the Wildcat chose to publish this “”comic,”” and this choice is an unfortunate display of professional inexperience, cultural insensitivity and boorish taste. All we ask anyone to do is consider their response had the word “”JEWS”” been replaced with a term for any other minority group, and the word “”MITZVAH”” with any other religion’s term for an act of religious and humanitarian devotion.

    We trust that the vast majority of people on this campus reacted with the same degree of disgust that we did when we read this “”comic.”” The stereotype is disgusting, and the Wildcat’s decision to publish it poorly represents this campus. One of the things we admire most about our campus is the respectful yet robust ways in which we have been addressing issues of cultural and religious difference. Many faculty, administrators, staff, students and religious leaders are working diligently and successfully in these areas, and yet the editors of our campus newspaper have in this case failed our community miserably. The sentiments of Mr. Topmiller’s shamefully bigoted “”comic”” have no place in our community. Our standards are higher than this, and we are certainly better than this.

    -Ed Wright
    Judaic Studies professor;
    director, Arizona Center for Judaic Studies

    -Michelle Blumenberg
    executive director, University of Arizona Hillel Foundation

    -The UA Hillel Foundation

    ‘Anti-Semitic’ cartoon ‘profound disappointment’

    I write to express my profound disappointment that the Wildcat would publish what is clearly an anti-Semitic “”cartoon”” (“”No Relation”” by Joseph Topmiller) in yesterday’s edition. Freedom of the press is critical to our society. But it doesn’t provide an excuse for poor judgment or discrimination. This “”cartoon”” does not represent the values or ideals of the University of Arizona community.

    I am deeply disappointed that this would appear in the Wildcat, and strongly condemn the prejudice that it represents. It is simply out of place at our university.

    -Robert N. Shelton
    UA president

    Comic ‘openly anti-Semitic’

    I would like to say as an avid reader of your paper that I am deeply disappointed in your choice to publish yesterday’s “”No Relation”” comic. I would have hoped you would have chosen to not publish openly anti-Semitic remarks and perpetuate negative stereotypes throughout our campus. In a world that is trying to move toward acceptance and understanding, your decision to publish this comic has not only set us back as a campus but is helping to breed another generation filled with bigotry and racism. I hope in the future you will use better discretion when publishing possibly offensive material.

    -Joshua C. Offenhartz
    pre-business sophomore

    Jewish stereotype off

    As a 22-year-old senior, I have never before written to the Wildcat, but after reading yesterday’s edition, there is something that was so appalling that I had to break that streak. Usually, I browse the paper, read some articles and get a quick giggle out of the cartoon section, but yesterday it took a lot of willpower to not rip one specific cartoon in half. The “”No Relation”” comic that addressed a Jewish stereotype should do as it says – have no relation to this newspaper. On the Daily Wildcat Web site, it states that “”We’ve hand-picked these comics carefully, choosing only the best of the best for your reading pleasure today.”” Clearly, this was not the best of the best. It is clear that to put a cartoon in the paper that offends an entire religious and cultural group, which makes up 10-15 percent of the student population, is just wrong. The cartoon depicts a stereotype that is completely ill-founded and absurd. I would like to replace that with a positive stereotype. As president of the Hillel Foundation here at the University of Arizona, I have worked with many young Jewish students, and if there is any way to stereotype them, they are vibrant, hard-working, goal-driven, amazing people. Moreover, they are people who reach out to any student on campus with their programming, and are warm and friendly to anyone they meet. I am proud to be a part of the Jewish community at the UA, which is applauded for its strength nationwide. It is for that reason that cartoons such as the one printed yesterday will not be tolerated. I hope that in the future, the Wildcat exercise more caution when choosing what to publish so as not to perpetuate such preposterous stereotypes.

    -Eric Cordova
    Hillel president

    Comic merely ‘poking fun’

    Let me start by saying that I am Jewish. Even though that should not make a difference on whether or not my comment is taken seriously, I have no doubt that it will. I have seen the comic by Joseph Topmiller and have no problem with it. As we all know, being “”cheap”” is a stereotype that we Jewish people have – it is a thing that can be poked fun at. That is exactly what the comic is doing – poking fun. People need to realize that it is a comic and not some front-page opinion editorial. The comic is a joke and ONLY a joke. It is also quite witty, if people would take the time to see the intelligence behind it. I am appalled by the angry people who have commented on the Web site. I am sorry to say this, but the people who are so disturbed by this comic are probably the people that put that thread of truth behind the stereotype. Don’t be angry that this was printed. Thank Topmiller for bringing it to your attention so you can make a change.

    -Stephanie Eargle
    Arizona alumna

    Defense of comic ‘doesn’t hold up’

    I’m sure my inquiry is among several with regard to yesterday’s “”No Relation”” strip. After paying particular attention to Joseph Topmiller’s pieces since his “”sabbatical,”” as it were, I imagine yesterday’s comic was likely to end any “”second chances”” at clever, snide punditry. I write not only as a Jew – naturally offended by such a blunt display of anti-Semitism – but as a student and teacher here at the UA. Topmiller’s attempt at humor, which many have and will continue to defend as “”just a comic strip”” or “”just harmless fun,”” holds critical implications for our collective consciousness as a university community. Folks, these are precisely the discursive channels where race is made and discrimination (of any sort) reproduced. Let’s not forget that the most dangerous type of racism and hatred is the stuff we might find embedded in everyday discourse, conveniently in places where such garbage is likely to go unchecked. Enough normalizing and dismissing this as simply a product of a harmless fun. It’s that sort of short-sided defense we’ve heard before, and it simply doesn’t hold up … we’re certainly hearing it in Jena, aren’t we?

    -Adam Schwartz
    doctoral candidate, Language, Reading and Culture department

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