Democracy Soup

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Seeing color on the comic strips page is a good way to learn about how other people live

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 02/11/2008 – 2:52pm

We talk about diversity in the many realms of the media. People of color on television and films that give opportunities to talented people and inspire those who might want to someday follow in their footsteps.

But finding color in the comic strips beyond the Sunday funnies is, well, difficult.

Can you name one comic strip that is written by a minority? If you said “The Boonodocks,” we’ll give you some credit, though Aaron McGruder isn’t drawing the strip anymore. And you might only know “The Boondocks” from the animated TV show of the characters established in the comic strip

This was the spark behind a protest, of sorts, in yesterday’s comics page. Several minority cartoonists drew cartoons on a similar vein, where Caucasian characters complain about the influx of minority strips and how they can’t relate to them.

According to the Washington Post Writers Group as of last June, only 24% of newspapers ran at least one strip with minority characters/by a cartoonist of color, 6% ran two or more of these strips, and only the Chicago Sun-Times and The Washington Post published four comics by cartoonists of color.

There are a limited number of slots in the newspaper, so it’s been difficult to get minority cartoonists into the newspaper. After all, many newspapers carry Classic Peanuts, though there are no new episodes. And try being a newspaper editor trying to get rid of Mary Worth or Rex Morgan, M.D. and knowing many older people will complain about removing those strips.

Well, like a number of people, I read comics online. I actually started, ironically enough, when my local newspaper was censoring “The Boondocks” and I could read the uncensored version online. I read about 10 strips daily plus some weekly ones (such as Opus). So I know my comic strips, and I do notice a dearth of minority comic strips.

I do read the reruns of “The Boondocks” online each day, and started recently reading “Candorville.” When I’ve run across other minority comic strips, I find I can relate to some elements. But if you read “For Better or For Worse,” it’s about a woman in Canada with a family. Can I relate to that? No. But I still enjoy it.

When I first started reading “The Boondocks,” sometimes there would be references in the punchline where I would have to look up what was going on. Didn’t stop me from reading it, in fact, I actually learned something.

The protest included Candorville, Mama’s Boyz, Cafe Con Leche, Working It Out, The K Chronicles, and Housebroken.

I remember being excited when I first read the Dallas Morning News back in 1995 and saw they had more than 2 pages of comics. Well, thanks to the Internet, you can read as many comic strips as you have time for. And if you haven’t already, consider adding some minority comic strips to your list. You just might learn something.

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Written by democracysoup

February 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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