(NewsNation) — Scott Adams, the creator of the ‘Dilbert’ comic strip, says he was intentionally trying to create controversy when he called Black Americans a “hate group,” arguing people took his words out of context and that the outrage is coming mostly from white people.
“It’s almost entirely white people that canceled me,” Adams said Monday on “CUOMO.” “Black America is actually completely fine, both conservative and liberal if they see the context. … Black people are contacting me and saying, ‘Come over to the barbecue, let’s talk,’ and all these things.”
Adams came under fire after making the remarks during a Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube show, in which he urged white people to get away from Black people.
Responding to the criticism, he said the comments were merely hyperbole that were taken out of context.
“I intentionally courted controversy. I was trying to attract attention so that I could have a productive argument,” Adams said.
Variety reported that the comments were made in response to a Rasmussen poll that said 26% of Black respondents disagreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white,” while another 21% of Black people surveyed said they were unsure. The remaining 53% of Black respondents agreed with the statement.
“I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense,” Adams said on his YouTube show. “There’s no longer a rational impulse.”
The Anti-Defamation League has denounced the phrase “It’s OK to be white” as a “hate slogan.”
Newspapers across the country dropped the comic strip from publication after Adams’ comment. He claims that he was the latest subject of cancel culture and that his main source of income would now be lost.
But he called the situation a “weirdly good experience.”
“If global cancellation is my price for free speech, it was worth it,” Adams said. “I’m probably the only white man in America who has free speech today because I can say whatever the hell I want and I can’t get further canceled.”
He refused to apologize for the comments because “I offended people so that they would be drawn to the solution.”
Instead, he offered a “reframe” to allow people to get out of what he called a “mental trap” of a worsening racial divide in America.
“We’ve literally monetized racism so that everybody can be a little bit madder at each other,” Adams said. “If you monetize racial divide, you’re only going to get more of it.”
Faulting the “energy” he put into his comments, Adams said he can understand why people came to the conclusion that he literally meant what he was saying. He disavowed racism — “always have, always will,” he said — but went on to offer “context” about other “racist” things that he approves of.
“For example, historically Black colleges. Feels a little racist, totally approve,” Adams said. “Black History Month? Feels a little bit racist to some people, totally approve. Black people should get their own month; makes perfect sense in light of American history.”
During a segment of the show where viewers call in, a Black teacher in Missouri who said she was a longtime fan of the “Dilbert” comic strip said she was hurt by the comments. She asked Adams how she’s supposed to explain this kind of rhetoric to her students.
Adams suggested she tell them to stop looking backward and start looking forward.
“Tell your students that they have a perfect path to success as long as they get good grades,” he said. “I’m assuming you’re a good teacher and you have a good enough school that they can get a good education, and if they employ strategy, and don’t look backwards, just strategy, they’ll do great. Now, there’ll still be way too much systemic racism, but you’ll be able to just slice through it like it didn’t exist.”
In responding to Adams’ explanation, Vanderbilt University professor Michael Eric Dyson said nothing he heard convinced him that Adams was indeed utilizing hyperbole.
“This is a rehash and a retread of the same kind of myopic, narcissistic self pre-occupation of so many white guys who think they are the biggest victims of racism in the country,” Dyson said. “White supremacy is white supremacy, however, you dress it up and whatever cartoon name you give it.”
Mark Davis, a conservative radio host, rejects Dyson’s argument that Adams is trying to dress up white supremacy, but he did criticize Adams’ approach to trying to address race relations.
“Welcome to America 2023, where there is no grace, there is no goodwill, there is no benefit of the doubt, so we need precision of language, rather than stunts like Scott (pulled),” Davis said. “I love Scott, I think the newspapers who canceled him are just virtue signaling, but he stepped into a bear that he should have known existed.”
At the end of the interview, host Chris Cuomo asked Adams if he would do it again.
“Would I do it again to get to this place? I have to tell you, I feel like I’m supposed to be here. It’s a weird feeling. Like I never felt bad about getting canceled, and I can’t explain that, except that I feel like I was supposed to be here,” he answered. “I feel like the race relations in the country are so broken that you just have to stir up some crap to get anybody’s attention and maybe convince them to look forward and maybe work together with people who have exactly the same goals.”