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The State University of New York at Plattsburgh has apologized for printing a racist illustration alongside an article about diversity in their college newspaper.

The Daily Beast reports the illustration ran in Cardinal Points, a student-operated publication. The article, titled “Minority Admission Rates Examined,” focused on the growth of diversity at the school and others across the nation.

The article was well received by readers – but not so the image of a Black student with “bulging eyes and an exaggerated white mouth,” wearing a cap and gown while walking through a ravaged town complete with broken stop sign, damaged cars, and broken windows.

After students questioned why the Black student wasn’t depicted in a more positive light — like reading a book on campus — the staff issued an apology on their website, acknowledging that the illustration is a disconnect from the story and not meant to offend anyone.

The statement from Cardinal Points reads:

Many of you may have seen the illustration on top of the front page of this week’s Cardinal Points, accompanying the article “Minority admission rates examined.” It has come to our attention that the graphic in question not only has a disconnect to the article it was created to work with, but it also unintentionally features offensive and stereotypical elements that misrepresent African ­American students.

To be frank, we deeply regret the use of this graphic and any offense or harm it may have caused our friends and peers. As SUNY Plattsburgh students and editors of the newspaper, we are constantly trying to represent the campus community in the best possible way, and in this case, we did not do so.

Students were also troubled to see the offending illustrator, Jonny Zajac, post the cartoon on Instagram with the caption, “My favorite person in Plattsburg #ni**ers.” Instagram has since deleted the tag and the account has been suspended. 

College president John Ettling released a statement:

“The front-page illustration in Friday’s edition of the Cardinal Points student newspaper does not reflect a range of values SUNY Plattsburgh holds dear. Rather, as the editors of Cardinal Points indicated in their own written apology, the cartoon features offensive and stereotypical elements that misrepresent African-American students. It is also personally offensive to me.”

The SUNY Plattsburgh Black Student Union held a town hall meeting for students to discuss the illustration and race on campus. But is this really enough? Sound off below.

SOURCE: The Daily Beast | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform 


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