Comic strip sparks debate at community college

September 28, 2011 9:39:26 PM PDT
A racially charged comic strip has touched off a fierce debate at Fairfield's Solano Community College and prompted an emotional meeting Wednesday.

The cartoon that offended so many students and the administration at Fairfield's Solano Community College appeared in the latest edition of the student newspaper, the Tempest. The print edition is still available on campus, but the comic has been pulled from the school website.

The cartoonist told those he offended that his intentions were good.

"Where the strip was going was that black men and black women together, united, there is nothing they cannot achieve," Phillip Temple said.

The cartoon depicts black women compiling about black men. In one scene, a woman calls them "trifling." Later, another wishes they would all "go away."

"So you can imagine when I saw that picture, I thought 'Wow, another slap in the face,' and then when I saw it was one of my own," Marion Lee said.

Some students were especially offended that the strip ran below an editorial about the recent murder of a young student athlete, Ennis Johnson.

"To put it underneath another 21-year-old black male who just died for no reason is so wrong," student Erica Berg said.

"I will make it clear that the cartoon is part of a series; the story would've shown the innate strength of black male and female relationships," Tempest Editor-in-Chief Sharman Bruni said.

The veteran turned student said it was a mistake to run the cartoon without context or explanation. He also described where his story was headed.

"The black men are taken to a planet of an advanced black race and they're given training," Temple said.

On his way out, Temple told ABC7 this particular strip has been discontinued.

"If I could do it differently, I would, but there it is," Temple said.

Temple says he may put the remaining installments of his comic strip on his website so people can see what he intended.

The college administration says the dialogue about the issues the strip raised will continue.

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