On October 24th, the cartoonist Keith Knight had given a talk about his works and the stories behind them. As an African American artist, Knight mainly focused on social and race issues, commenting the problems directly on his strips. As Knight believed that we had to talk about reality to actually face racial issues, his comics were usually reflected to things happened around him or somewhere in the real world.
Vet Mentoring is one of Knight's well-known comics, which questions about "don't ask don't tell" policy in military. This strip was run on the newspapers in San Diego, where a lot of military towns located, and had received many responses from soldiers and some readers about how it changed their views on this policy. Coincidence or not, the President repealed "don't ask don't tell" policy in the fall of the same year when the comic came out, and Knight showed a photo that the President was standing in his office, with the Vet Mentoring comics sitting on his desk.
Knight had a great sense of humor which can be well seen in his comics. He believed humor made strong approach to the subjects like race issues. This talk was probably the most enjoyable speech I have ever had. He made lots of comments on social problems that I’m really agree with. Knight's comic Dog Poop showed how the racial problems were like the big pile of dog poop sitting in front of the apartment. No ones wanted to clean that poop because it seemed to be someone else's responsibility, then soon it just stayed in the same place, being ignored by people who passed through it. I think Knight had made a great metaphor to this problem that we are facing in this country. The racial issue has remained in too many years and it just keeps coming out again and again. People often ignore its existence until something happens but then forgot soon after time passes. Knight's works are not simply to be the comics that make things be humorous. They keep us in mind that there are plentiful issues still exist in this society. And they are urgent to be taken seriously and to be solved.
Vet Mentoring by Keith Knight
Dog Poop by Keith Knight