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I started work on this cartoon on November 28, 2006. (Or at least, that’s when my computer tells me this file was created). I had the idea and wrote a bunch of panels, but I wasn’t happy with them, so I left it in my folder of unfinished cartoons. And every year or two, I’d take a look at it and rewrite some panels, and write in some new ones, and then put it away undrawn.
I wrote fifteen panels in all before I had eight I liked.
Then I started drawing it in my usual “bighead” style before I realized I wasn’t happy with it and put it aside for another year or so.
Then I did some more rewrites (including moving the title lettering to the center panel, rather than having it in panel 1) and finally actually completed it. I used somewhat more realistic human proportions just for a change of pace, since the last several strips I’ve drawn have all used bighead proportions.
Fifteen years from start to completion might be the longest I’ve ever taken to do a cartoon. If not it’s sure up there.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has nine panels, arranged in a 3×3 grid. The central panel has no images other than large title lettering, which says “White People, But With Subtitles.”
Each of the other panels has an image of a single white person talking directly to the reader. All of the panels have yellow printed subtitles, “translating” what the person is saying.
A cheerful looking white man stands in front of flowering bushes. He’s holding out one hand towards us, shaking it in a “no no no” gesture. He’s wearing a tee-shirt that says “Close The Border” with an illustration of the border wall (although the illustration is kind of unclear and I suspect a lot of readers won’t get that, but that’s okay).
MAN: It’s not about race!
SUBTITLE: It’s completely about race.
A light-haired white woman leans casually against a stone wall as she talks to the reader, smiling.
WOMAN: Of course I have Black friends!
SUBTITLE: I ask my Black doorman about his kids if I’m not in a hurry.
A white man with glasses, a mustache, and a necktie sits at a desk, a laptop open in front of him. He has one hand raised, palm up, in a sort of half-a-shrug gesture.
MAN: They’d feel better if they talked less about racism.
SUBTITLE: I’d feel better if they talked less about racism.
A white woman stands on a city street; we can see bits of two buildings, and an alleyway, behind her. She has glasses and her red hair is in a bun. She’s smiling, and holding one hand to her chest (just below her collarbone) in a somewhat surprised manner.
WOMAN: You’re so articulate!!!
SUBTITLE: I’m surprised that Latinos are intelligent.
This panel has nothing but large lettering, which says “White People, But With Subtitles.”
A white man with a van dyke beard and a full-of-himself expression is at some sort of party (we can see a few other partiers in silhouette in the background) and holding a wine glass.
MAN: I’m one-twentieth Indian myself, so I know all about reservations.
SUBTITLE: Your culture, my party chatter.
A white woman with a checkered shirt is behind the wheel of a car, speaking out the window to us with a somewhat grumpy expression.
WOMAN: I’m not against assistance to hardworking families.
SUBTITLE: I’m against assistance to brown families.
A redheaded white man clasping his hands in front of him and standing on a grassy hillside smiles wide and speaks directly to the viewer. His tee shirt has a manga drawing of a pretty woman.
MAN: Asian women are so beautiful and quiet!
SUBTITLE: Let me tell you what kind of porn I enjoy.
A light-haired white woman holding a book (possibly a bible) open, as if she was just reading it, speaks to us. She has a pleasant smile, and is standing in front of a small but nice church building, which features a bell tower with a large clock on it.
WOMAN: Judeo Christian values built this country!
SUBTITLE: If I put “Judeo” at the start of sentences, I sound less like a Christian theocrat.