Dilbert is dead – killed by his creator

Here’s the scene of the crime. Rasmussen is a political polling company. In the lull after the 2022 midterms and before the 2024 general election, they had some time to kill. And could use a few clicks.

They found some. Last week they released the results of a poll posing the question:

Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s OK to be white.”

Rasmussen reported that 72% of those polled – of all skin colors – agreed with that statement.

Among Blacks, too, most agreed that it’s OK to be white but the percentage was lower. Some 42% strongly agreed and another 11% somewhat agreed. About 18% said they strongly disagreed and 8% said they somewhat disagreed. About 21% said they were not sure.

If you take out the “not sure” category, 53% of Blacks agreed strongly or somewhat that “it’s OK to be white” while 26% disagreed strongly or somewhat. More than twice as many agreed as disagreed.

Enter the murderer. The creator of the Dilbert comic strip, Scott Adams, picked up on the poll, as Rasmussen undoubtedly intended people to, ran off a cliff with it, and splattered spectacularly. In a Twitter storm, he lumped the 21% of not sure Blacks with the 18% of Blacks who disagreed strongly and the 8% who disagreed somewhat. Then in a bit of sophistry, he concluded that “add them together, that’s 47% of Black respondents [who] were not willing to say it’s OK to be white.”

But of course a different bit of sophistry – no less valid – would lump the 21% of Blacks who were not sure if it was OK to be white with the 42% of Blacks who strongly agreed that it was and the 11% who somewhat agreed. Then you could state “add them together, that’s 74% of Black respondents who were not willing to say it’s not OK to be white.” That 74% comprised nearly three-quarters of the Black respondents. 

But that wouldn’t have fit Adams’ narrative. His narrative called for a glass of Black-on-white racism half full rather than three-quarters empty. To be sure everyone got his narrative, Adams made and posted a YouTube video pounding it home:

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with white people…that’s a hate group. 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…because there is no fixing this.”

I’ve always liked Dilbert, both as an irreverent poke at corporate America and as an imaginary person. But Adams was a fool with an ax to grind. Most people have never heard of Adams, but they know Dilbert well. They now see Dilbert as the one with a bloody ax in his hand.

The result is that Dilbert is canceled.  For a cartoon character, that’s the same as being dead. It was Adams who killed him.   

I blame Rasmussen just as much, or more. Because they knew better. The phrase “it’s OK to be white” is much like “Black Lives Matter.” In both cases, no decent human would disagree with the substance of the phrase – it is indeed OK to be white and Black lives do indeed matter.

But both phrases are freighted with much more than their literal meaning. I certainly believe that Black lives matter, but if I were asked whether I agree with the statement “Black Lives Matter” it’s difficult to put aside the violence, race-baiting, corruption and divisiveness of groups that banner themselves with that statement-turned-slogan.

Similarly, “it’s OK to be white” has become not a truism but a badge. It’s been adopted to some extent by white supremacists and others hostile to ordinary decency. It’s still OK to be white, mind you, but the slogan “it’s OK to be white” is inflammatory in a similar way as “Black Lives Matter.” It’s often intended to be.

Better phrases would be “Black and White lives matter” and “it’s OK to be Black or White.”

Finally, Rasmussen’s poll was very poorly worded in a technical sense. Study the question presented above. A white person hearing the question is likely to believe he’s being asked if it’s OK that he and other whites are, or behave, white. Most white people would answer yes. (But take a moment to consider the derangement of the ones who answered no.)

But a Black person may well interpret the question to be asking whether it’s OK for him and other Black people to be, or behave, white – whether it’s OK for Blacks to reject their blackness. I can see where many Black people would believe it’s not, either strongly or somewhat, or would answer that they’re “not sure” because the question is ambiguous and no context is given.

The conclusion that the question was not interpreted by Blacks in the way Rasmussen presents, is supported by their responses to another question presented to the same respondents in the same poll. In the other question, respondents were asked:

Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.”

Among all respondents, 79% agreed strongly or somewhat with that statement, and among Blacks 66% agreed strongly or somewhat. Adams’ conclusion that nearly half of Blacks think it’s not OK to be white is inconsistent with Blacks’ answer apparently showing that two-thirds of them think Black animus toward whites is racist.

Rasmussen of course knew all about the flaws in their poll. They conducted the poll not to generate light, but heat. They wanted clicks, and they got them. That the results would be misinterpreted or racially divisive was a feature, not a flaw – that’s the raw material from which clicks are manufactured.

It’s not surprising, I suppose. Rasmussen is a media outlet, albeit a particular type as a pollster. In a cultural sense, media outlets are ax murderers.

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44 thoughts on “Dilbert is dead – killed by his creator

  1. I agree that Scott Adams stepped in it big time with his rant. However, I don’t like your assertion that “not sure” could be counted either way. If a white person said “not sure” to the question “Is it OK to be black?” he would clearly be labeled racist. It’s hard to argue with Scott’s position that all people should be treated as individuals.

    • Beaton Doesn’t address Adams comments regarding the out of control Black on White violence that is occurring that I thought was central to Adams comments.

  2. I guess I won’t be having coffee with Scott any longer 🫤.

    Your case is well argued, counselor. Guilty of cultural ax murder as charged. But let’s consider the sentencing phase of the trial: Is the cancellation of “Dilbert” commensurate with its creator’s crime? Or is it like boycotting J.K. Rowling’s entire body of work because of a comment or two declaring that men aren’t women, or whatever? It seems like woke mob “justice” to me, what we used to call lynching?

    • That’s a fair comparison with Rowling. A distinction, however, is that Rowling didn’t attack the morality or ethics of trans people, as far as I know. She simply said that a person cannot change his or her biological sex.

      Adams, in contrast, contends that Blacks reject whites — he attacks their morality and ethics by accusing them of a belief that whites are not “OK.” He in effect accuses Blacks of a desire for genocide, and goes so far as to advise whites that it’s not safe to even be around them. Further, his conclusion is supported by only a confusingly-worded poll in which only 26% of Blacks actually responded that whites are not OK (and it might actually be much less than that, due to the poor wording of the poll).

      All that said, I agree that cancel culture is waayyy out of control. And I agree that to the extent it persists it should be applied equally. Refusing to apply it to “protected” groups is not only unfair, but infantilizes them. It says, in effect, we can’t expect better behavior from them because they’re children or subhuman.

  3. Um, okay. But this whole cancel culture leaves me cold. Whatever Adams did seems ill advised, but mild compared to the out and out anti-white remarks and rants that come from all over the place, e.g The View, MSNBC, most rap songs, many Dem politicians, etc. And the only canceling going on, as far as I can recall, is when it is a white person making a remark that is derogatory about Black people. I keep waiting for someone, anyone, to stand up and say, enough. No more cancel culture.

  4. As much as I hate all the emphasis put on skin color (or “race” as you may prefer), it is an inescapable fact that Americans with African ancestry are more likely to commit crimes of violence than Americans of European ancestry. This is by no means a condemnation of individuals of African ancestry, nor is it meant to praise individuals of European ancestry. Among the first group may be found many fine, law-abiding, productive and moral individuals and among the latter group may be found violent criminals and individuals of low moral character. Point being, as John Derbyshire was most careful to point out in his decade-old piece, “The Talk: Non-Black Version”, we must judge people as individuals, based on their individual behaviors and characteristics and avoid treating individuals as if they were simply representatives of the group to which they might belong, but it is also the height of folly to ignore clearly known group characteristics. Having attempted to make clear that, just as there is no such thing as “social justice,” but only “justice,” based on individual behavior rather than a group tendencies, there is no moral, ethical, religious, political or other reason to judge any individual except for that individual’s behavior. Nevertheless, the question remains: is it legitimate to utilize the knowledge gained from experience to make decisions about one’s relationship with others in society? Is it reasonable to avoid interacting with strange pit bulls based on the breed’s proclivities to be aggressive even though individual dogs within the breed might be gentle and docile? Is it reasonable to avoid close contact with grizzly bears, lions or even domesticated animals until the animal’s docility is ascertained? Is it reasonable to assume that a grizzly bear is more likely to be a source of bodily harm than a rabbit? Of course, the answers to all these questions is affirmative. Thus, it is not unreasonable to exhibit the same caution when dealing with other groups of people until one becomes more familiar with them. Statistically, one is more likely to suffer bodily harm from an American of African ancestry than one of European ancestry, but that is neither a blanket condemnation of African Americans nor a suggestion that one may throw caution to the wind when dealing with Americans of European ancestry. It is, however, not unreasonable to have a heightened awareness of danger from other groups of people whose known tendencies are higher on the danger scale than others. A good parent will caution his or her daughter about the dangers of uninhibited contact with boys, because, after all, “boys will be boys,” and if one wishes to protect one’s daughter from possible harm, it is commendable to warn her before she makes a potentially life-altering mistake. I suspect that Mr. Adams probably meant to say no more on the subject than this, but got carried away by his own rhetorical brilliance (because he does think rather highly of himself) and blurted out the more egregious of his sentiments, for which he is now doing mea culpas. It remains to be seen whether he will benefit from his apology tour. My guess is he will not. Alas, poor Dilbert! We hardly knew ye!

    • Your point is apparently that grizzly bears and lions are dangerous, and so are a disproportionate number of Blacks, and so prudent people should take Adams’ advice by staying away from all three.

      Aside from the creepiness of your comparison between Blacks and wild animals, it’s not valid. Because it ignores DEGREES of danger. I shouldn’t have to point out that Blacks are not nearly as dangerous as grizzly bears or lions.

      I’m sure your response would be along the lines of “no, they’re not, but my point is that we should avoid creatures that we know are more dangerous than other creatures.”

      OK, what about this fact then: As a generalization, older Blacks and Black women are not nearly as dangerous as young WHITE men. Under your reasoning, we avoid young white men. You can take it further. White people as a whole are more dangerous than Asian-Americans as a whole. Under your reasoning, we should avoid white people.

      I’ll note in passing that you comment that “Americans with African ancestry are more likely to commit crimes” is either misleading or sloppy in attributing group characteristics to individuals within the group. A given African-American is not more likely to commit crimes. All that can be said about a given African American is that he/she is part of a racial group that commits more crimes. Here in civilization, that’s an important difference.

      • Said the man who lives in Aspen, CO, where a staggering .02% of the population is Black. But don’t trust me and my “sloppy (or) misleading” statistics, these are merely the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau on line edition. And if you had read what I wrote, you would have realized that my comment was clear that, as you paraphrased, “All that can be said about a given African American is that he/she is part of a racial group that commits more crimes.” I specifically said that I was not passing judgment on any individual Americans of African ancestry, that there are many with stellar qualities, as there are many Americans of European ancestry with abominable characteristics. My point was that as humans, we ALL use a certain amount of prejudgment in our daily lives, and are generally better off for it. I am sorry to see that your need to virtue signal prevented you from comprehending my meaning, particularly since you are usually very insightful and perspicacious. I suppose that your retort to me in this instance is merely the exception that proves the rule. At least I hope so, as I intend to continue to read your postings.

      • Let’s both avoid the ad hominem, Steve.

        I’ll stick to my point, however, that it’s not helpful to compare Blacks with grizzly bears and lions, and my further point that young white men are more dangerous than an average Black person. Notwithstanding that, I spend a fair amount of time with young white men. (And for your information, I grew up with young Black men.)

      • “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

        ― Jesse Jackson

    • To restate your argument succinctly and concretely, when I was a kid growing up on Manhattan’s upper east side, I never ventured north of 96th Street. And if I lived on one side of The Falls Road in Belfast, I probably wouldn’t do my shopping on the other side. Thought of this way, Adams’ advice seems like little more than banal common sense. His mistake lies in trotting out fallacious statistical evidence in order to raise pure animal instinct to some higher level of rationalization.

  5. “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.” Why say “too”? That makes my stomach turn. Anyone can be a racist. It depends on their thinking, not their skin color. You are born with a skin color. If you don’t like it, change it. Humans can change everything about their biological birth traits these days; eye color, skin color, sex, hair, etc. So just change yourself, and stop being a racist.

    • Right on about the word “too.” Consistent with what Glenn said about poor wording in the survey. He just missed that particular example. Implication is that whites are racist, blacks may or may not be. Not a very carefully designed piece of field research.

  6. You engage in a little sophistry yourself here. Saying the percentage of “unsure” could equally be lumped with either “agree” or “disagree” reveals that you fail to make a value judgment on the question. What if we rephrase the question as “Do you agree that it is ok to eat babies,” or even, “Do you agree it is OK to be Black?” Any rational person not filled with hate (or who is not a psychopath) would know that being unsure places you on the side of those who disagree. If someone said they were unsure whether it was OK to eat babies, would you think they could easily be grouped with either answer? The non-pathological answer to the is clearly “Hell no!” If you are uncertain, you have no humanity.

    Similarly, if you said you were uncertain that it is OK to be Black you clearly have more in common with those who disagree than agree. You are a racist, who believes different races are of different value. How can it be wrong to have the skin pigmentation you were born with?

    Scott Adams destroyed his career through emotional & inartfull expression. He forgot that corporate cancel culture allows for no divergent opinions (or he was incensed enough to not care at the moment). Your criticism of his math is misguided & incorrect.

    • Exactly almost 50% of the black people who were polled did not agree with the statement “It’s OK to be White.”

      Media people keep obfuscating that fact.

      • Or looked at another way, 74% of Blacks did not agree with the statement “it’s not okay to be white.”

        The point is, the poll is useless because it is very poorly worded and deliberately used a loaded phrase. It was designed not to gather information, but to gather clicks. Rasmussen should be ashamed of the poll, and the rest of us should be embarrassed for taking it seriously.

        Yes, there’s a big race problem in America. But this trashy poll, and Adams’ foolish response to it, are not helpful or insightful.

    • absolutely correct. Not that it makes any difference but Beaton’s article is not based on reality. Ask Joan Naydich a teacher assistant in Florida. Or, was it Cosby who said “at night when confronted by a Black on the sidewalk I cross the street”. Yea. White youth are so scary. LOL

  7. Adams is correct. Anyone that cannot see this is woke or dead.

    Blacks kill Whites in overwhelming numbers. Blacks kill each other also in overwhelming numbrers.

    So unless your already dead you will live longer by avoiding Blacks.

  8. Why does Glenn consistently capitalize “black” while consistently not capitalizing “white”?

    I don’t think either should be capitalized, but if “black” is, “white” certainly should be.


    Such deference to blacks is endemic in the larger society. So, e.g., we get increasingly frequent reminders, and now a movie, about the murder of Emmett Till, nearly 70 years ago.

    But how many people have even the slightest awareness of, say, the Wichita Massacre (2000) or the Knoxville Horror (2007)? Even Wikipedia’s just-the-facts coverage of those is graphic enough to leave a lifetime impression.

    Key point for those just now learning about Wichita and Knoxville: Do you think you’d have known about them if the events had been the same, except with the races reversed?

  9. I support Scott Adams’ right to free speech, even though he initially said some very tyrannical stuff regarding the depopulation shots, before he wised up a bit.

    Ignoring a person’s race is by definition choosing to be ignorant in that regard. You really shouldn’t fault people who want to make a more informed decision.

    Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free. ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  10. I do believe you miss the point. if you look at his follow up comments, Adams knew this would be the result. Because we are incapable of having any real discussions on this issue. Because on this and many other issues of our times, feelings trump facts. While a vast majority answered in one manner, the special group was a close split. Why, because they are told, instead of growing proud within yourself, white people should be coerced into not being proud of themselves.

    • “… the special group was a close split.”

      Actually, the special group (presumably you’re referring to Blacks) weren’t closely split at all, though that’s the impression Adams tried to leave.

      By a margin of 53% to 26% — over a two-to-one margin — they agreed that it’s OK to be white. Adams got to his closely split meme of 53-47% by lumping the 21% “not sure” respondents with the 26%. They can just as well be lumped with the 53% to get to 74% going the other way.

    • Then you’re not reading any newspapers, you’re not reading any books, and you’re not reading anything online that goes past an editor. You’re reading hardly anything at all. Because virtually all style manuals call for “Black” to be capitalized when referring to race.

      As for “white,” the style manual people have evidently determined that whites don’t have the same desire for an upper case letter that Blacks do. As a white person, I get that. I personally have no burning need for an upper case “W.” But if you do, then maybe you should start a campaign.

  11. “Killing” Scott Adams has been on the agenda for quite a while. Lee Enterprises killed Dilbert in all of their newspapers (think it was 47 papers) some months ago, regardless of what their readers wished. Lee Enterprises newspapers are all mostly very liberal and believe in tolerance except for conservative opinions, so killing Dilbert was just on their agenda, waiting to happen. When they cancelled Dilbert, I cancelled my subscription and let them understand why.

    I looked forward to Dilbert each day because of his sense of irony and because he spoke common sense and sarcasm too when it was needed.

    What a boring place it will be when everyone thinks alike and talks alike while riding around in their electric vehicles, windows down, snacking on bugs.

  12. So at least 1 in 4 Blacks polled believe it’s not ok to be white! That is pretty terrible. Sounds dangerous to me. If you are white, and you want to be safe, it’s something to consider.

  13. As in virtually ALL propaganda media stories… the REAL story is much different.
    Scott Adams knew what he was doing. He is trying to “shake the box” to make people wake up. What he said is bad if taken out of context. He is predicting that in a few days, when people look at what he REALLY said, they will find that they agree with him.
    His goal is to make us look at the real world of American race relations.
    His interview is with Hotep Jesus, who is a real deep thinker. They have an interesting conversation.
    People who want to criticize Scott Adams should listen to Scott Adams first.
    Two hours is pretty thorough. Hotep Jesus is pretty funny. I like them both

  14. I have been listening to the daily Real Coffee with Scott Adams. He makes cocksure predictions all the time. It is part of the charm. He says he could get an “A” or an “F” and crashes ahead. Analyzing data is one of his continuing themes so analyzing this poll and making some strong statement is what he does. Also, he has been pondering whether he should retire quietly or go out in a blaze of glory and get cancelled in a spectacular way. I am only surprised that everyone who resells his creative work cancelled their own income in one day.

  15. Adams is right. Best to avoid blacks you don’t already know to be good people. Your job, your life, or those of a loved one may be at stake.

  16. When I was a (Jewish) lad, my father taught me the importance of my public behavior. He said. “When a non-Jew does something bad, people say ‘Look what that person did.’ When a Jew does something wrong, people say, ‘Look what the Jews do.'”
    It is the same for Blacks, Asians, and other ethnic groups, not excluding Hell’s Angels, or, for that matter, guys who look like Hell’s Angels.
    I am reminded of a couple of lines from the late Jackie Mason: “Did you ever see two [Black guys] walking down the street say, ‘Watch out! Here comes a Jew! He might be an accountant!'”
    The good news is, I see that a lot of the young (and I mean young) folk of today getting away from the racism and prejudice that people my age grew up learning by experience. I grew up on Denver’s West Side, and felt I was taking my life in my hands, every Friday night and Saturday, walking to the synagogue. That’s not something easy to unlearn.
    Keep up the good work, Glenn. I’m gonna miss “Dilbert!”

  17. Pingback: Dilbert Creator Scott Adams is Being Cancelled Over Comments on Race

  18. “If you take out the ‘not sure’ category…”

    What?! Why would we do that? They’re not asking about favorite ice cream flavors. Perhaps the phrase “It’s okay” doesn’t mean “It is acceptable” to 21% of black participants?

    There’s only one valid response to the question “It’s Okay To Be Insert-Race-Here”. The correct answer is “Of course, it’s okay! Strongly agree! Now leave me alone, Rassmusen!” Your eyes should also roll like a sarcastic teenager while you slam down your anachronistic dial phone.

    The question was about as “black and white” as imaginable. The “somewhat/strongly disagree” folks are overtly racist. Do they know the name “Stanley Ann Dunham”? The 21% “not sure” folks are simply racist-light. Even the 11% “somewhat agree” folks are seriously disturbing. How can you “somewhat agree” that being born is acceptable?

    But the whole world’s gone insane. What percentage of white folks were “not sure” it’s okay they were born? Clearly, Rachael Dolezal and Rachel Seidel would “strongly disagree”, eh? And speaking of Fauxcahontas, did this poll include a deranged-whites-who-pretend-to-be-non-white demographic?

    Conclusion? Rassmusen is a bunch of race-baiting commies. Everybody, stay away from the Rassmusen pollster hate group!

  19. Is it okay to be white? I don’t give a hoot who thinks what. I judge individuals by their actions. Neither black nor white people can expect a pass from me by virtue of their colour. I think it’s damned lazy to cancel Dilbert and his creator.

  20. Not being as eloquent as many above, I’d just like to point out that Scott Adams is an engineer, unfiltered by any legal confusion. To an engineer, the glass half full or half empty is neither, it is too much glass.

  21. As a very old man who worked San Quentin Prison while attending college, who spent 6 years in the Army during the late 50s and early 60s, who worked as a federal narcotics agent on the mean streets, who later lived and worked in two different Asian countries, who has traveled extensively in both Asia and Europe, who has close family members married to people of non-Caucasian races, I can assure you that racism is rampant throughout the world and across all the cultures which I have encountered and experienced. The most physically dangerous place I have encountered during my work and travels is the American black ghetto. That is a fact, a fact not in any way changed by the BS promulgated by the mainstream media, the Left, the self-hating whites, or by culturally insulated heads-up-their-butts suburban whiteys.

    Scott Adams had a point to make and I suspect that he made it despite very well knowing that the cancel culture would come after him with all its considerable vigor and venom. Mr. Adams also understands that he has considerable support amongst those of our population who think for themselves, who are not immersed in the culture of sheep, who are not NPCs, and who clearly know which foot is their left and which is their right.

    Our perception is our reality. How closely our perception aligns with objective reality is the measure of our functional sanity. Looking at the disintegration of our current society, it stands out that a great number of those around us are functionally insane.

    Although many hate its very existence, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray, maybe should be read and studied by those critical of Mr. Adams.

    Heretofore, I have for the most part enjoyed Mr. Beaton’s articles. On this occasion, however, he has very badly missed the mark.

    • Ahhh, but, significantly, Adam’s comment was not directed at residents of the American Black ghetto, a place that you correctly note is dangerous. It was directed at Blacks in general. He made no attempt whatever to distinguish among them.

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