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HomeUS/UKDilbert creator Scott Adams, who introduced Asok the IIT-ian to America, is...

Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who introduced Asok the IIT-ian to America, is canned after a racist tirade


WASHINGTON: They didn’t find it funny. Scores of newspapers across the United States are canning the famed Dilbert comic strip after its creator Scott Adams — who introduced IIT into the American media discourse — went on a racist tirade this week, calling Black Americans a “hate group” and urging White people to “get the hell away from” them.
California-based Adams, who at one time talked up Indians and introduced Asok, an IIT graduate, into his comic strip, has gradually taken to extreme right wing views. On Wednesday, he crossed an unspoken red line drawn by the liberal media by virtually calling for segregation, saying nearly half the Black population in the US are not okay with Whites.
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with White people – according to this poll, not according to me, that’s a hate group,” Adams said Wednesday on his YouTube show Real Coffee with Scott Adams, referring to a survey published by Rasmussen.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the f**k away … because there is no fixing this,” he added.

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Although Adams dialled down on his rant with a “clarification” about his remarks being “taken out of context,” several newspapers across the country, including Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Gannett group which has more than 300 newspapers across the country, pulled Dilbert.
“In light of Scott Adams’s recent statements promoting segregation, The Washington Post has ceased publication of the Dilbert comic strip,” the paper said on Saturday. The San Francisco Chronicle too had stopped publishing “Dilbert” after jokes about reparations for slavery and inclusive workplaces.

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Adams’ embrace of the extremist right and its racist views has gradually tightened over the years, particularly after the rise of Donald Trump in 2016 — surprising for a commentator who introduced workplace diversity into his comic strip through Asok the IIT-ian in 1996 when it the institute was relatively unknown in America. In a 2003 interview with this correspondent, Adams said he conceived Asok after an Indian engineer of the same name (and spelling) he knew during his days as a techie with Pacific Bell in the late 1980s.
“I modeled a character after him for the Dilbert strip because I wanted to add greater variety and bring an Indian to the mix to reflect the diversity of the American corporate world,” he said.
Asked why it had to be an Indian, Adams explained: “Well, it was impossible to add an African-American. When you are as white as I am, you have to be careful. To make a comic strip character funny, you have to make him flawed, and that is a sensitive issue. I’m not sure other communities would have taken it well. Asok’s flaw is that he is inexperienced, although he is smart and intelligent. It’s a gamble that has paid off.”
Asked how he was familiar with IIT, he said he known several IIT grads over the years from his days in the tech world, but until he read Michael Lewis’ The New New Thing, a book on Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial culture, he really did not have an idea how important they are to the US economy.
“I never had anyone volunteer that kind of information. I mean, when you meet guys from Harvard, they will tell you within five minutes of meeting you that they graduated from Harvard. With the IIT guys, you have to ask,” he said.
Asked if he has ever been to India, Adams said he can’t even imagine leaving California. “Like I said I have a lot of Indian friends. Doctors, engineers, retired professors, and a whole family, three generations of lawyers. So I have India here,” he said, joking that half his social circle is Indian.
Over the years, Asok made sporadic appearances in Dilbert, spoofing a desi brainiac conveyed most famously in a strip where he re-heats his tea by holding a cup to his forehead and thinking about fire.
In 2007, Adams “killed” Asok, with his pointy-haired boss announcing that he had died while on a test of a moon shuttle prototype. Although he was briefly reincarnated because he had put a sample of his DNA in a jar before he left, a secretary had used the jar to store candy, so he is re-born as a part human, part Snickers bar.
The bizarre turn was an early indication of Adams’ journey into the right wing ecosystem that accelerated in the Trump years, although at various times in preceding years he had backed Hillary Clinton and even Bernie Sanders.



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