The Lowe Down

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Reject corner!!!!


This submission, while well-intentioned, didn't see the light of day. I'll let my editor, Tony Fins, explain--while I think his point is valid, I do take slight umbrage at the first sentence, specifically, "even Chan," which implies I'm an insensitive monolith. Only my wife can talk to me that way. Herewith:

The problem on this one was so obvious I can't believe even Chan didn't see it. Though not Chan's intention, it suggests that all Muslims are whackos. We all should know that's not the case -- and we have enough problems already with people that can't make that distinction without extending, through misinterpretation, the stereotype.
The cartoon would have worked if Chan had drawn an unassuming profiling victim who looked as unassuming as the way he drew Terry Nichols. That would have been an effective cartoon.

Tony's right that I wouldn't want to suggest Muslims are whackos. In fact, as I implied by using Terry Nichols as my example, there are more than enough Christian whackos to go around. I did intend to make the point, though, that the profiling law was bound to be misused, and that it was precisely Muslims and others of Arabic descent who were most likely to suffer the consequences of its abuse (people who are afraid act in less-than-responsible ways). The guy in the cartoon is startled by having the spotlight thrown on him, not nuts. To draw a generic, unassuming victim would have eviscerated the point of the cartoon, in my opinion.

I will concede, however, that it's an editor's job to make the call on whether a cartoon is likely to be misinterpreted.


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Sorry, but I've got to agree with your editor. If the idea was for him to be startled by the spotlight, a more subdued, nervous "uh-oh" look would've worked a lot better.

The way it's drawn, he does look like he's utterly nuts. Even *I* would be concerned about that guy.

I also disagree that a generic, unassuming victim would defeat the message. In fact, I think it would've emphasized it much better...these days, Arabs, Muslims and anyone mistaken for either are automatic suspects regardless of appearance. It would've been more salient to illustrate how, given a choice of two normally dressed, kempt individuals, the Arab (or Arab-looking) one is "obviously" the terrorist.

Anyhow, just wanted to mention that I enjoy your work and reading the thoughts behind it on this blog.

I'm on your side. It's curious that your editor, and "go fish" saw a muslim in your picture. There's nothing in it to suggest Muslin, but one has to assume that they see "wacko=muslim".

Your cartoon tells well the story that profiling doesn't work (if only because those the wish to avoid be detected by profiling, will avoid fitting the profile).

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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