Letter: Responses to I Hate Pam

Never in my life have I witnessed such blatantly anti-Semitic hate-mongering as when I read the most recent “I Hate Pam” comic. After viewing this so-called “comic”, I am appalled that a Jew-hating, bigoted, racist individual such as Matt Vroom is allowed to continue servicing The Daily Illini. A one-month suspension is hardly adequate punishment for this type of insidious, malicious, anti-Semitic, bigoted hate-drawing. Mr. Vroom should be immediately dismissed from The Daily Illini as well as the University of Illinois. Despite the various physical attributes and professions of the Jewish population, Vroom’s comic obviously implies that all Jewish people look exactly the same and maintain the same careers. This is anti-Semitic. To properly restore the journalistic and moral integrity of the Daily Illini comics section, please retire Matt Vroom and “I Hate Pam” immediately.

Mark Daugherty

Senior in engineering

As religious workers at the University of Illinois, we of the Religious Workers Association grieve when our Jewish colleagues and friends are degraded and treated as less than human. The comic “I Hate Pam,” published on Friday, Nov. 5 treats Jewish people and their tradition as mere fodder for what? A laugh? Humorous social commentary? We believe that people of the Jewish faith, as people of all faiths and cultures, ought to be treated first and foremost as fellow human beings with respect, generosity and compassion.

The comic attempts to get at the nature of what we consider offensive as a society. Offense, the comic seems to suggest, is only a bad thing in so far as it has negative consequences for the offender. This point, however, is lost in the punch line where the author takes no account of the repercussions of the offense on those offended. One wonders if Matt Vroom, the author of the strip, has considered the repercussions on the Jewish community, or if he is merely kicking himself for overstepping the line and now has to deal with the repercussions of his offense, namely being disciplined by the editors of the DI.

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We invite Mr. Vroom to consider how the perpetuation of degrading stereotypes creates a climate of fear and mistrust among the Jewish community and perpetuates hatred against it. We note also that his comic strip is regularly derisive, not only of the Jewish community but also of other faiths, ethnic communities and women, as indicated by its title. A free society demands an open, tolerant and civil environment in order to protect the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech, which Mr. Vroom has exploited and thus abused. A responsible use of our freedom of speech requires the realization that such use of stereotypes is offensive because it dehumanizes others and, thereby, attempts to preclude others from the very freedoms one is exercising.

It is sad that the author could not be more creative in his comic strip by remaining respectful of religious tradition and identity. It is reprehensible that the author seeks to deny to the Jewish community the very freedoms he enjoys. We hope the editors of the DI would encourage not only more responsibility on the part of their writers, but also sensitivity, intelligence, maturity and creativity.

Tim Bossenbroek, President

Becca Guyette, Vice President

Joel Schwitzer, Secretary

Sr. Anna Flannigan, Treasurer

John Setturlund, University liaison

The Executive Committee of the Religious Workers Association