Some newspaper readers who saw artist Bianca Xunise’s comic commenting on both the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic found it so offensive that they complained. As a result, some of the more than 120 publications around the U.S. that carry Six Chix, the strip that Xunise co-authors, decided to drop it altogether.
Xunise, the second Black woman in comics history to be nationally syndicated and the first Black woman in the collective, according to NBC News, used her July 28 contribution to broach the biggest issues of the day. She depicted two women at the grocery store: one is Black, wearing a mask and a shirt that says, “I can’t breathe,” while the one standing beside her is white with blue eyes and without a mask. She says to the Black woman, “If you can’t breathe, then take that silly mask off!”
Here it is, the comic that launched 1000 angry responses. Please clap pic.twitter.com/Cy42h8mlMB— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 28, 2020
That was enough for some of the newspapers that run Six Chix to cancel, and the editors of one publication even apologized to its readers. “We have notified the syndicate that provides the comic that we will no longer be running Six Chix in our newspaper as a result,” the unnamed newspaper wrote. “We’ve also requested an apology from them. Our apologies for a cartoon that reflected the exact opposite of what we stand for as a newspaper.”
Xunise said she doesn’t regret her art.
“I am not apologizing for this comic and this censorship,” she told NBC. “I am being silenced over white feelings from a gag comic. This is a complete step back in the wrong direction.”
So apparently the angry responses got my comic dropped from some newspapers and an apology that I did not approve of is running in its place. For the record I do not apologize for this comic and this is censorship. https://t.co/rfIAMP6wO9 pic.twitter.com/TcLwcxJS1o— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 30, 2020
She further explained the piece, which she said everyone is “getting wrong,” on social media.
Ok now to explain this comic because everyone has been getting it wrong. It’s easy to assume that the white woman talking to me is a racist, that may or may not be true but that is not the point. The point is how white people see issues that effect black peoples as trivial. (1/3)— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 28, 2020
The whole mask debate has been compared to oppression which I find incredibly offensive. The fact that white peoples want to claim oppression now for having to do their civic duty of protecting others is not the black struggle whatsoever. (2/3)— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 28, 2020
Yt ppl have assumed for generations that racism is simply about our sensitivity & not a systemic issue. Furthermore I want this comic to challenge liberal whites who assume that every white person they feel superior over is racist. This is just a random white woman, idk her (3/3)— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 28, 2020
To be clear there was no misunderstanding of the message of my comic. We spent due diligence explaining the “hard to grasp” satire. They are standing against exactly what you think they are. Please stop giving the benefit of the doubt to people who silence black voices— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 30, 2020
Tea Fougner, the editorial director of comics at King Features, the company that syndicates the comic, wholeheartedly defended Xunise as well.
Once again if you enjoyed this comic and would like to support me and my work I have a list of ways here from downloadable comics about the black experience to my venmo tip jar. Support black creators! https://t.co/UXxwvtVEUX— Scary Bradshaw 🕷👠 (@biancaxunise) July 29, 2020
“Bianca created the July 28, 2020, Six Chix cartoon to be a joke commenting on how Black issues are often disregarded as a personal problem and not a systemic issue,” Fougner said. “She is shedding light on two pandemics right now: one on race and another on COVID-19, and both are not being taken seriously while they are destroying lives.”
Xunise offers more of her work on her website.
Related video: How U.S. system racism plays out in Black lives
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