14 January, 2005

Pat Oliphant Caricatures Racist and Misleading


ADC Communicates Concerns, Will You?

Washington DC, January 13–Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle and Universal Press Syndicate to communicate concern over racist depictions of Arabs in caricatures by Pat Oliphant. In recent weeks, ADC received numerous complaints from readers and concerned citizens regarding Oliphant's cartoons.

On January 8, an especially offensive cartoon was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, which implied that Arabs are unconcerned with the Tsunami disaster and are inhumane.  The caricature draws on false stereotypes and reinforces negative views of Arabs. To view this cartoon, click here.

In the letter, ADC outlined its concerns, stating that the caricature is highly misleading because the Arab world has made substantial contributions to the Tsunami relief effort.

The ramifications of this type of 'cartoon' combined with the false stereotypes that Oliphant perpetuates, are tantamount to fueling further mistrust and bitterness towards the Muslim and Arab worlds. It should also be noted that Oliphant has a history of cultural stereotyping in his caricatures. To view letter sent by ADC click - Letter1 and Letter2.

The response ADC received from Lee Salem, Editor and Executive President of United Press Syndicate did not address the issue of using racism in caricatures. In fact, Salem seems to think using racism is fine, as he wrote, “And, as you note, he (Oliphant) frequently utilizes caricatures to make his points, as do most editorial cartoonists, who wish their opinion to be grasped quickly and, often, viscerally.”

If you would like to express your concern