Student Newspaper Runs Controversial Trayvon Martin Cartoon

by Robby Soave - Assistant Editor on March 28, 2012

Is this cartoon racist? Take a look:

The University of Texas at Austin’s student newspaper, The Daily Texan, ran the cartoon on Tuesday. It satirizes the media’s response to the Trayvon Martin shooting, which has been to furiously denounce the shooting as an act of racially-motivated violence.

Gawker published an article calling the cartoon racist, and The Daily Texan temporarily removed it from the newspaper’s website. But the cartoon is currently back up, accompanied by this disclaimer from the editors:

A controversial editorial cartoon on the Trayvon Martin shooting was published Tuesday on the Opinion page of The Daily Texan. The Daily Texan Editorial Board recognizes the sensitive nature of the cartoon’s subject matter.

The views expressed in the cartoon are not those of the editorial board. They are those of the artist. It is the policy of the editorial board to publish the views of our columnists and cartoonists, even if we disagree with them.

One could argue that the cartoon is slightly tone deaf–and the artist did misspell Martin’s first name (it’s Trayvon, not Treyvon). But is it racist? Absolutely not. In fact, it is making fun of the speculative nature of the racial accusations being lobbed back and forth by those who would convict Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, without adequate evidence.

To be fair, there is already some evidence of Zimmerman’s wrongdoing. He inflamed the situation by needlessly following Martin, whom he had no reason to suspect. He had a paranoid habit of calling the police for no reason. And though the initial investigation ruled his actions as self-defense, it’s hard to imagine why Zimmerman would have needed to strike a mortal blow, being that he was the only one with a gun.

But there is considerably less evidence that George Zimmerman was a racist man, or that he killed Martin for specifically racist reasons. The Daily Texan cartoon is making this point: The media firestorm over Zimmerman’s racist motivations is entirely unwarranted until we have more evidence.

For an example of the media’s rush to judgment on George Zimmerman, check out this truly insensitive and over-the-top cartoon in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

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  • Pingback: Two Responses to “Racist” Trayvon Martin Cartoons

  • jellobiafra

    To be fair? That’s rich. You have the facts wrong. You should get your information from duly vetted local newspapers or the police, not msnbc andother race baiting media sources. Zimmerman did not continue to follow Martin. He walked to the corner to see the address of the townhouse that Martin seemed to be stalking – at night, in the rain, in the backyard, no less – so that he could make an accurate report and inform the owner of the home. On his way back to his vehicle he was confronted by Martin. The screams on the 911 tape are Zimmermans, as he was getting his head bashed into the pavement. Don’t worry, truth will out. News sources who are manipulating and lying about his story are being sued now.