Readers’ reactions to ‘Immaculate Deception’

Just last week, I had the distinct pleasure of reading the “Immaculate Deception” comic in the April 12 issue of The Signal that featured a picture of God holding a beer can and saying about Jesus, “That n—– ain’t no son of mine!” I have no words to express my anger and hurt over this.

Now, I understand that whoever wrote this comic strip has the right to express themselves freely. But guess what – there is something called offensive language. There are boundaries to freedom of speech. These boundaries are there so that, for instance, someone cannot yell “there is a bomb!” on a plane. That person would be arrested.

With that in mind, I want to say first that you know whoever wrote that comic strip went too far. Second, I know you know that using freedom of speech as an excuse to offend every minority on campus is weak. Third, I want something done.

As a Christian and a student of color, I do not want an apology. Rather, as a student at the College, I want an apology. And might I add that religion is a very touchy subject; it is a subject that should not be brought up in a public newspaper because you do not know who might get offended – that is why there is separation of church and state.

In closing, I am deeply disturbed by this comic and I want something done to undo the pain and hurt this has caused many students who are, if I might remind you, mourning a student that is missing. Printing this comic was very irresponsible and, if I can, I am going to personally talk to President Gitenstein. I am in the Student Government Association, and I am going to ask that action be taken against this cruel and unnecessary “joke.”

I hope this does not fall on deaf ears. I hope you are moved to do the right thing.

Alaina Griffin

I am embarrassed that The Signal, the student newspaper of a college that claims to be a community of diverse learners, would publish such a derogatory comic.

As a Christian, when I first saw the “Immaculate Deception” comic, I felt it was it was extremely offensive.

Present in the comic were racial stereotypes and the “N” word. The context in which this word was used was horrible.

The God I serve is neither a God of color nor a God of judgment. The God I serve, Jesus Christ, is one of love, peace, acceptance and joy for everyone.

As a white Christian student, I am outraged that something of this nature (pure trash) can be printed. It is a disgrace to our community that we can let such narrow-minded stuff invade our lives and community.

This community has been going through a lot recently, and people trying to find answers in God are being turned away by stupid stuff like this. The comic is not at all funny and, to some degree, the publications on this campus should be censored.

Parents, faculty and staff read The Signal, not to mention the entire student body and visitors to the College. Offensive material printed in publications such as this promote a negative aspect of the College that I didn’t think existed to such an extent.

Racial and religious comics which use inappropriate language, gestures, symbols and settings should be censored. I understand freedom of speech and press and the disclaimer that The Signal posts, however, many members of our community are offended. No one should be made to feel inferior on a college campus.

I will keep the Signal staff in my prayers. Even though this publishing caused a lot of hurt and confusion, I think the campus needs an apology because this was appalling and atrocious in nature.

Gina Favro

I want to voice my concern about the “Immaculate Deception” comic from the April 12 issue of The Signal. I know that we are entitled to our opinion, but I feel that this comic, depicting Jesus Christ on the cross, child protection services coming through a cloud (symbolizing heaven), then God saying “That n—– ain’t no son of mine!” is out of hand. I do not understand the reason or the essence for this comic.

As a freshman at at the College, when one makes comments about a particular issue, there is a reason behind it. As an African-American, I take offense to the word “n—–” because of the history behind it. If there is a moral behind this comic, I feel that it can be expressed differently.

Pamela Enemuo

I am writing this letter in response to the “Immaculate Deception” comic from the April 12 issue of The Signal.

The cartoon explicitly uses the term “n—–” and depicts a picture of a confederate flag, which I find particularly offensive to me and to African-Americans in general.

Regardless of what message this comic is trying to imply, I am opposed to using the word “n—–” in any context whatsoever.

I personally feel that the racist content in this newspaper has created a racially hostile environment on campus for students, especially for African-Americans. The cartoon also failed to include a disclaimer.

I want to let you know that my ancestors have fought hard against language and images like this, and died so that I can study at the College. Racist articles like this do not promote a welcoming environment for minorities at the College.

Although no member of the Signal staff is attached to this racist comic, I still hold you, your advisor and the College fully responsible for the production of racism and hate on this campus, consistent with The Signal policy: “Publication of submitted articles is at the discretion of the editors.”

The staff obviously had no problem publishing such racist content, which has created great emotion and negative discourse within the African-American community on the face of this campus.

As editors, you failed to exercise your “right to edit or withhold all articles, letters and photographs.”

The Signal claims to be a student newspaper, but it has excluded and offended African-Americans in general and on this campus. The Signal is definitely not a part of the College’s mission to promote diversity and inclusion on this campus.

Although I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech and the press, I am particularly opposed to any government (state, federal or local), public or student funds being used for the operation of The Signal and the racist content it supports and publishes. I feel that the The Signal has no place on state property publishing racist content and should abide by “censorship” if it plans to be “dependent and operated” by the College. I also do not appreciate the profanity directed at me, by one of your staff members on Friday, April 14.

In conclusion, I am calling for the resignation of the entire Signal staff. I also recommend that The Signal never again print any racist material. I hope that your staff will take this as a lesson learned and will publish a more “inclusive” newspaper that is not racially insensitive and reflects the rich diversity on this campus. I also highly recommend that your entire staff seek diversity training. The bottom line is: “The Signal signals racism!”

Billie Hayes

Editor’s note: Though we acknowledge that a member of our staff used a profane word in Billie Hayes’ presence, we attest to the fact that it was not directed at him, or any person for that matter, and it should not be misconstrued as such.

During the past few weeks, many have taken comfort in recognizing the College campus community as a family that has united during an extremely trying time.

We have been through a traumatic experience and have shared feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and sorrow. Though we are a diverse group, we have responded uniformly with grace and compassion, offering support to one another while holding John Fiocco Jr. and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Therefore, it was especially disheartening to see that the April 12 issue of The Signal printed a comic strip titled “Immaculate Deception,” which was both insensitive and offensive. Many on our campus found the content to be hurtful and vile. While it is our obligation to respect the freedom of the press, it is also our right to voice disapproval in instances like these.

There is no place for hatred or intolerance at the College, and the decision to publish a comic that made light of those subjects was regretful.

Elizabeth L. Paul

interim vice president for Student Life

As we have celebrated the 50th anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education, the legalization of gay marriages in several states across our nation and countless human forces joined together to stomp out injustice throughout our communities, it was extremely disheartening to read the context of the “Immaculate Deception” comic strip in the April 12 issue of The Signal. Within an environment of higher learning, especially the College, we are outraged, disappointed and embarrassed that a comic of this nature has a place in the campus community.

As a community we are both open and accepting of individuality which includes freedom of speech. However, we hope this freedom does not come at the degradation of others, but comes with a sense of purposefulness and responsibility for inclusively that allows for a deeper understanding of difference to flourish.

We proudly boast that we are a community of diverse learners, dedicated to free inquiry and open exchange. Freedom of speech is encouraged, but surely this freedom will not be at the expense of other community members, where their religious beliefs and cultural heritage is mocked and degraded.

It is our hope that instead of comics that denote pain, suffering and degradation, we will salute our differences with character, compassion and celebration.

The Minority Executive Council