Littwin: Good news from the Dilbert front: It might be possible to be too obviously racist |

Littwin: Good news from the Dilbert front: It might be possible to be too obviously racist

Mike Littwin
Colorado Sun
Mike Littwin

I haven’t seen too many Scott Adams defenders — besides Elon Musk, of course — among the usual cast of culture-war suspects.

I mean, Donald Trump may enjoy dinner with the occasional white supremacist and find “very fine people” on both sides of the Charlottesville hate rally, but even so, I haven’t seen him defending Scott Adams. I google and got nothing. If you’ve seen anything, please let me know because I even tried Donald Trump Jr. And once again, nada.

Naturally, I googled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to see if he was defending Adams. DeSantis, after all, is basing his expected presidential run on visiting every possible battlefield in the culture wars (see: DeSantis, AP African-American studies). I looked, and I looked again, to be sure. Got nothing.

I didn’t try Ye. I’m not that desperate. 

But I do go to Twitter — my favorite online site on which to find people posting either sadly ignorant or intentionally provocative stuff — to see who was defending cartoonist Adams, whose once iconic comic strip has apparently steadily drifted Trumpward. And I found — who else? — Elon Musk, who, in replying to a tweet on Adams and Dilbert, said it was the media that was “racist,” particularly against whites and Asians.

I did go to Lauren Boebert’s Twitter feed to check. She’s big on the cancel culture, and there have been fewer examples of such widespread canceling than of Dilbert. It’s nearly impossible to see it anymore in the funny papers.

I got nothing.

I tried Marjorie Taylor Greene. Nothing.

But maybe — this is just a guess, not a conclusion — Scott Adams was just a little too obvious on the hate scale; although, if you just go to Twitter generally, you’ll still find lots of Adams supporters. 

The funny/sad thing about the whole controversy is that it’s all bogus. And no one was probably more aware of that than Adams himself.

If you tuned out early, you may not have heard the whole story of the Rasmussen poll at the heart of Adams’ YouTube rant.

Rasmussen is, of course, a much-discounted polling site that has openly turned into a vehicle for right-wingish propaganda, which is pretty much what the poll in question was engaging in.

In the poll, 1,000 people — 117 of them Black — were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement “It’s okay to be white.”

Fifty-three percent of Blacks polled agreed with the statement. Twenty-six percent said they didn’t, and 21% said they weren’t sure. From these numbers, Adams said that “If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with white people,” that means they are a “hate group.” He added, “And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

Of course, the math here is fuzzy. Only 26% of Blacks — not nearly half — said they disagreed with the statement. And if you look into the phrase itself, you’ll find that it began on the right-wing 4chan site, apparently as part of a stunt, and that Tucker Carlson would naturally defend the trollers. So, yes, if you’re deep into right-wing trolling or a member of the Black community, you might well have heard of the expression. And, in some cases, you might even have been suspicious of it.

The phrase has been used not just in a Rasmussen poll, after all. But to deface synagogues. To be posted as provocation on college campuses. One student at Oklahoma City University School of Law was even expelled for using it. 

And we can go even deeper into the polling-math world. Yes, 21% of Blacks weren’t sure how to respond to the phrase. The Washington Post reports that 20% of Democrats, 19% of women, and, this may be of interest, 25% who are neither Black nor white also said they weren’t sure.

The Post article also notes that other polls tell a different story. A 2020 American National Election Studies poll asked a “feeling thermometer” question on how, on a scale from 1 to 100, the races feel about each other. And 62% of Blacks said they felt warmly about whites, and 66% of whites said they felt warmly about Blacks.

It’s not that we don’t have serious problems with racism in America. We do. Of course, we do. It’s not that we don’t have politicians and others trying to exploit the issue of white grievance. We do. Of course, we do.

But if there’s any good to come from the Adams story — and who doesn’t like a happy ending? — I’m ready to hope that it’s still possible for a racist rant to be considered a rant too far. 

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