Editor, Daily Nexus,
I understand that the cartoon strip for “Cowardice and Immaturity Are the Only Motives for Hate” (Daily Nexus, Oct. 24, 2002) was intended to be funny while carrying an important message beneath the surface. I also, however, found the depiction of the ethnically Asian man a little distasteful.
After seeing the stereotypically stocky, balding man with glasses to imply his nerdiness, slits for eyes, and catfish-like whiskers on the page, I got the point: He’s supposed be Asian. But to add insult to injury, the cartoonist, Rad Sechirst, decided to throw in Pikachu as a sidekick in case we didn’t get it. And for those who really didn’t get it, Sechirst added in a frame of kung fu/karate-like ass-kicking. So, how many stereotypes, exactly, were shoved into this cartoon, pray tell?
I’m sure that the cartoonist wanted to further emphasize the message of the editorial, but when he combines so many stereotypes into a single cartoon, how does that illustrate Christine Bai’s point? The article points out that we should recognize the differences between people of Asian descent, or at the very least, respect the fact that people from these notably different ethnic groups shouldn’t be placed into one whole mass. However, the cartoon combines all sorts of stereotypes, resulting in a depiction of all Asian-Americans as one uniform group of people who adore PokŽmon, are nerds, don’t own a pair of visible eyes and know how to kick ass like Jackie Chan. It just adds fodder to the hate and fuel to the fire, so that the bigots will only feel justified in tearing down a multiethnic group of students on campus.
Hate incidents occur because there are people who are ignorant of the fact that their “targets” are actual people, not the stereotyped, slit-eyed, Pikachu-carrying, calculus-plugging kung fu fighters. While I’m sure that Sechirst meant well, publishing a cartoon riddled with so many clichŽs tends to imply that the Daily Nexus supports the act of identifying different ethnic groups by using stereotypes.