Four Takes on the Scott Adams Controversy

Including the view that the poll on which this controversy rests is garbage
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2023 1:28 PM CST
4 Disparate Takes on the Scott Adams Controversy
Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, poses for a portrait with the Dilbert character in his studio in Dublin, Calif., Oct. 26, 2006.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

It's only a slight exaggeration to say everyone is talking about Dilbert creator Scott Adams ever since he shared his takeaway from a poll suggesting that 26% of Black Americans disagree with the statement "It's okay to be white": that white people should "get the hell away from Black people." Here, four views, two that fall within Adams' camp, and two outside of it:

  • An Adams supporter: Though he only knows Adams as a podcast listener, Bruce Bawer at the American Spectator finds him "sober, sensible" and "no racist." Bawer argues that as "a little white kid" in the 1960s, he saw and experienced plenty of love and friendship between whites and Blacks, and that decades of racial healing followed—only to be upended "by a new generation of race hustlers ... slippery professors like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo [who] peddled a repulsive new race ideology." He thinks, essentially, that insanity has followed and the media has only amplified it. In his view, Adams is a balm, reacting "in a rational, dispassionate manner to a set of data that seemed, correctly or not, to indicate that a high percentage of black Americans are racists. ... If you were black and a poll you trusted told you that most white people think being black isn’t okay, what advice would you give your kids about befriending whites?"
  • An Adams critic. At USA Today, Rex Huppke reacts from his vantage point as a member of the media, which "swiftly reported ... on the fact that most humans with functioning brains were labeling the comments racist because they are very, very racist." What follows is a tongue-in-cheek "apology" to Adams for continuing to report that "racism is still a thing." He continues, "When will people like me in the media wake up and realize people like Adams ... just want equal treatment, as long as that equal treatment means they are in control, as they have been throughout history, and are allowed to discriminate against whoever they want under the guise of 'free speech'?"

  • White progressives are the problem. At Red State, Jeff Charles calls the poll garbage: "Rasmussen polled 1,000 people, only 130 of whom were black. If you do the math, 47% of 130 adds up to a whopping 61 black Americans"—hardly representative. But Charles, who himself is Black, has a deeper takeaway: Conservatives need to be able to identify their "true enemy," the one actually "responsible for the bulk of the anti-white rhetoric coming from the far left." It's white progressives, the ones "who bend over backward to make sure everyone knows how deeply they despise other less-melanated folks who don’t adhere to the tenets of their Marxist orthodoxy."
  • The MAGA movement is the problem. At the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson flags another recent comment from Adams, who noted "I've been identifying as Black" because "I like to be on the winning team." The idea of Black Americans existing as a privileged class is laughable to Robinson, but "consequential, too, because it is one of the imagined wrongs that animate the MAGA political movement. There is a direct line between Adams's rant and the MAGA effort to sanitize and distort the teaching of Black American history, because it is impossible to believe Black people are 'the winning team' and at the same time acknowledge the centuries-old fact pattern of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and systemic racism."
(Read more Scott Adams stories.)

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