The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 14, 2000, Page 4, Image 4

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Cartoon quick to provoke
unfair accusations of racism
We are offended by and disappointed in the campus
In the past week, this newspaper has been mischarac
terized as racist by many who presupposed discrimination
without understanding the meaning or intent of our polit
ical cartoons.
Our long-standing commitment to diversity and cover
ing issues important to campus remains unwavering. The
articles published each day in the Daily Nebraskan are
evidence of that.
Last Tuesday an article about Eddie Brown appeared
on our front page in recognition of his recent leadership
Brown’s involvement and accomplishments were
chronicled, and near the end, Brown explained how those
things prompted some people to look to him as a
spokesman for minority students - a role he never wanted.
The university has included Brown in recruiting
videos and posters. When prospective students visit cam
pus, Brown is held up as an example. And the Daily
Nebraskan often has quoted Brown.
Our political cartoonist noted all this and decided to
highlight how Brown has been used as a mascot for this
university. Brown’s profile seems to exceed that of Herbie
Husker or Lil’ Red.
we reel mat our cartoonist maae an excellent observa
tion - one that all of us who have put Brown in this posi
tion should heed.
But some who read that cartoon perceived something
else. Perceptions can be dangerous, especially when they
are not based on the truth.
There was no racist intent in the cartoon. If a white stu
dent leader had been used in Brown’s place, there would
have been no objection, but Brown’s unique position on
campus was the entire reason the cartoon was created.
It is disappointing that so many people leapt to charac
terize this cartoon as racist. If the same commentary
would be acceptable with a white student, shouldn’t it be
acceptable with any student?
The University of Nebraska is challenged to foster
diversity when its campuses are centered in a very homo
geneous state. There are many people who work to ensure
that campus is receptive to all students, but that does not
mean that we should be hypersensitive to racial issues.
The Daily Nebraskan will remain committed to diver
sity and fairness in its pages and on campus. We welcome
informed comments and criticisms on our work.
manorial lioara
Josh Funk (editor) • J.J. Harder • Cliff Hicks • Samuel
McKewon • Dane Stickney • Kimberly Sweet • Lindsay
Letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the editor
and guest columns, but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject any
submissions.Submitted material becomes property of the
Daily Nebraskan and cannot be returned. Anonymous mate
rial will not be published. Those who submit letters must
identify themselves by name, year in school, major and/or
group affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 20 Nebraska Union,
1400 R St., Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448 ore-mail to: let
Editorial. Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the spring 2000
Daily Nebraskan. They do not necessarily reflect the views
of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its
student body or the University of Nebraska Board of
Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author. The
Board of Regents acts as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan;
policy is set by the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by the regents, super
vises the publication of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial content of the
newspaper lies solely in the hands of its student employees.
The Daily Nebraskan strives to print fair and accurate cover
age; any corrections or clarifications will be printed on page
David Baker
23, likes origami, swing dancing and hip hop.
Sarah Baker
22, likes drinking, dancing, drinking and
making sure she looks hot.
Margaret Behm
19, likes people shorter than 6’.
Tony Bock
21, likes breasts and college radio, particular
ly Hot Lunch, Mondays 1 lpm-lam on 90.3
Diane Broderick
22, likes people with penchant for Prince.
Karen Brown
22, likes vampires, sheep and vampire-sheep.
Silas A. DeBoer
20, likes humor, long hair and weightlifting.
Dave Diehl
19, likes sports, the outdoors, fishing, hunting
and walking along the beaches of that park
with two lakes over by 1-180.
Chris Gustafson
19, likes large women with big ropy muscles.
J.J. Harder
21, likes ballroom dancing, cool jazz and
Send your love (in the form
of pictures and letters) to:
DN: Desperate Newsies
20 Nebraska Union
1400 R St
Lincoln, NE 68588
Cliff Hicks
23, likes music, technology, creative anarchy
and aggressive women.
Trevor Johnson
22, likes people who can move.
Tim Karstens
29, likes turqouise jewelry and prison movies
Adam Klinker
20, likes women with knowledge of Henry
Shelley Mika
23, likes smarts.
Neal Obermeyer
21, likes potassium.
Michelle Starr
21, likes "The Goonies,” police scanners,
handcuffs and anywhere but the basement of
the Union.
Mike Warren
23, likes Guinness and cartoons about Eddie
Lindsay Young
21, likes George better than John or Paul.
Jill Zeman
19, likes chocolate and exotic dancers.
classified advertising
Letters to the
The Obermeyer bridge
Obermeyer’s cartoons have con
sistently addressed the credibility
gap between actions and words on
and off campus. His cartoon on
Wednesday questioned the credibili
ty of the university in extrapolating
the achievements of one student as
representative of the entire student
body, much like a mascot embodies
an entire team. As a student at UNL,
I would choose a student who has
explored his own leadership possi
bilities over a fuzzy plush-toy suit
and a plastic blow-up doll every
The Chancellor’s interpretation
of Obermeyer s depiction as racist is
perhaps a knee-jerk reaction to see
ing an African-American student
compared to two white mascots. Had
the depiction been of any other stu
dent on this campus, Obermeyer’s
message would have been
unchanged:It is misleading to elevate
the image of one student to portray
an entire student body.
John Kastning
chemical engineering
and German
No apology needed
I don’t believe Mr. Obermeyer
owes anyone an apology. In today’s
society, people are all too willing to
use the term racist when a minority
is involved in any situation.
Obermeyer’s cartoon was poking fun
at the university more than at Eddie
Brown. I think the chancellor should
have tried-to understand the cartoon
before he started throwing around
such a dangerous term as “racist.”
Chris Rodgers \
computer science
False image
Neal Obermeyer has just
as much right to feel that Eddie
Brown is being used as a mascot ^
as others have the right to feel
that Eddie Brown is actually a
real campus leader. 1 believe that V
Eddie Brown is a campus leader
to a certain extent, and I also
believe that the university uses him
as a mascot.
A mascot isn’t just a cartoon
character. I believe it is a symbol of
some greater institution. It seems as
though Brown is put out there in that
way in order for UNL to say, “Hey
look everybody, we’re culturally
aware.” To me, he’s being used so
UNL can carry out a false message
that it is culturally aware.
Eddie has done good things for
the campus, but a spokesman for
blacks? Please ... whether he wanted
that mythical position or not, Eddie
Brown speaks for me as much as my
left shoe does. The only reason why
he has been made a voicebox is
because Eddie Brown seems to be
the only black person ever asked
about anything.
One point I do agree with in that
“wonderful feature story” is that
many people have done some great
things both on and off this campus.
Too bad their works are overshad
owed in the name of exploitation and
false images.
Gabriel Stovall
He’s a big boy
Why is everyone jumping to
fight Eddie Brown’s fight for him? I
would assume that if he were offend
ed by Neal Obermeyer’s cartoon por
traying him as a recognizable repre
sentative of this university, he would
confront Obermeyer himself. But
rather, he has everyone, including
the chancellor, strapping their gloves
on to beat down Obermeyer.
I’m sure anyone who has ever
had satire written about him or
her that depicts him or her in a light
he or she feels is degrading has feel
ings of hostility. But if the cartoon
did offend Brown, let him deal with
Obermeyer himself. He doesn’t need
an entourage to throw stones back at
Obermeyer. Find a fight of your
Ryan M. Jennings
UNL alumnus 1997
Blinding spotlight
I can’t claim to agree with many
of the viewpoints expressed by
Obermeyer in his cartoons. However,
I do think his cartoon involving
Eddie Brown has been over-criti
cized. Obermeyer actually may have
had a good idea. I think it’s sad that
what one college student draws in a
newspaper can be instantly con
strued as racist. Even the chancellor
was quick to label it “a new low in
Does everything have to be
racially motivated?
If you don’t look at the cartoon
as comparing a person to stupid
pieces of cloth and instead consider
it as ways the university could be
perceived, it presents a very good
point. Perhaps one way to foster rela
tions on this campus is to stop doing
everything possible to make each sit
uation into a racial one.
Jayson Bishop
computer engineering
Delan Loncnvski/DN