Students at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware are taking action after the school’s student-run newspaper, The Whetstone, published two racially charged cartoons last week.
The drawings, which feature a Black woman saying “would you look at the time, I’m late for my abortion” while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and another cartoon of a garden hoe asking a Black man “who is you calling a hoe,” have many students speaking out, calling the caricatures offensive.
The artist, Bryheim Muse, is Black.
Tymira Holman, a freshman at the college, is one of those students condemning the questionable cartoon.
“I just feel like it’s inappropriate, and it kind of offends me,” she told WBOC. “I know that we have student events where students that aren’t minorities feel let out and discriminated again and then something like this is just not OK to me.”
Another student felt it was not helping black students’ cause.
“It really doesn’t if it degrades us as a people,” said Williams Johnson, a junior. “Saying that we don’t understand everything that we stand behind. And so I do feel that he shouldn’t have put that out.”
Shaylynn Bivens, vice president of the Black Student Union, said the drawings are problematic given the campus climate and racial divide. In an email to the Huffington Post, Bivens said the artist gave White students “a reason to disrespect” Black men and women at the college:
“We have worked hard, especially black women, to defy and break down all of the stereotypes that were thrown at us,” she said in the statement. “It is humiliating to know that we were dehumanized by a fellow African-American male. He essentially gave the white students a reason to disrespect and think less of us. That comic promotes hate speech.”
Students Damyra Price, Tiffany Griffin, and Bivens have since created a list of demands they delivered to University President Robert Clark on Thursday.
Less than an hour later, Clark released a message to the university saying the drawings were in “no way reflective of the beliefs or values” of Wesley College, adding that he looked forward to working with the leaders of various student groups to create a better climate of inclusion, respect, and support.
Jessica Cook, the director of communications and marketing at Wesley, said administrators are working to address the concerns of students:
“We believe this open dialogue is the most constructive way to address such challenging and controversial issues on campus,” said Cook. “In doing so, out students learn first-hand both how to exercise their own freedom of speech, the impact they may have on others, and that they must take responsibility for the ideas and opinions they express when they exercise that right.”