Racist Serena Williams cartoon ‘nothing to do with race,’ paper says


In a statement Tuesday, Herald Solar editor Damon Johnston stated the cartoon “had nothing to do with gender or race.”
The cartoon confirmed Williams leaping up and down subsequent to a damaged racket and pacifier, with giant, exaggerated lips and nostril harking back to racist depictions of black individuals within the US during the Jim Crow era.

Williams’ opponent, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, is depicted as a thin blonde girl, to whom the umpire is saying: “Cannot you simply let her win?”

The US-based Nationwide Affiliation of Black Journalists said the cartoon was “repugnant on many ranges.”

“(It) not solely exudes racist, sexist caricatures of each girls, however Williams’ depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like,” the group stated in an announcement. “The artwork of editorial cartooning is a visible dialogue on the problems of the day, but this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two girls of coloration on the US Open, one of many grandest phases {of professional} sports activities.”

Indignant response

Knight — an award-winning cartoonist who has labored for the Herald Solar for many years — informed his employer he was “amazed” by the response to the cartoon, which he stated didn’t appeal to vital criticism till it was picked up on Twitter by customers within the US.

“It has been picked up by social media within the US and my telephone has simply melted down,” he stated. “The world has simply gone loopy.”

Criticism was voiced from inside Australia nevertheless, the place the furore comes after months of hand-wringing and criticism over the country’s attitudes towards race after a neo-Nazi was invited on air by a nationwide broadcaster.

“I take no pleasure in saying this, however, proper now, it looks like there has by no means been a extra thrilling time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia,” outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane stated final month.

On Twitter, Australian creator Benjamin Legislation in contrast headlines from American newspapers which “matter-of-factly” described Knight’s cartoon as racist to protection inside his nation.

“It is not a subjective name,” he stated. “Embarrassing to see the Herald Solar does not realise defending Knight’s cartoon helps the case swathes of Australian media is blind to its personal racism.”

This is not the primary time Knight’s work has been criticized in this manner. A cartoon from August 10 was broadly denounced after it depicted faceless black figures destroying a Melbourne subway station, echoing a caricature of African gang crime within the metropolis which isn’t supported by statistics.
“The racist vilification of Melburnians from the Herald Solar continues apace,” native lawmaker Rohan Leppert wrote in response to that cartoon. “Totally shameful.”

Lack of illustration

Regardless of Australia’s proud multiculturalism and the truth that at the moment one in 4 Australians have been born abroad, the higher strata of society stays predominantly white.
In keeping with a report by the Australian Human Rights Fee earlier this 12 months, 95% “of senior leaders in Australia have an Anglo-Celtic or European background.”

In enterprise, the report discovered there was “a mixed complete of 11 chief executives who’ve a non-European or Indigenous background,” or 3% of the overall.

Indigenous persons are particularly under-represented, and have themselves been the topic of racist cartoons within the Australian press.

Knight was denounced for a 2012 cartoon revealed on Australia Day, which marks the beginning of European colonization of the continent, whereas the late Invoice Leak was continuously criticized for his portrayals of Indigenous individuals.
Whereas the US has deep racial divides and ongoing points associated to the legacy of slavery and post-reconstruction discrimination, it’s extra numerous than Australia. Non-white individuals make up over 23% of the inhabitants, and 11% of Members of Congress are people of color. The voices of non-white persons are additionally extra distinguished within the US media than Australia’s.

On Twitter, Australian musician Eddie Good, who is predicated within the US, mirrored on this distinction after he acquired some criticism for calling out Knight’s cartoon.

“Received about 200 tweets from Aussies indignant I ‘spoke for them’,” he stated. “This cartoon hit laborious within the US. Issues are VERY totally different right here, the place picture, race, historical past and wrestle are REAL.”

In a follow up tweet, Good stated he continuously hears feedback from People about Australians being racist “and it stings.”

“(It) stings as a result of it is a generalisation, but additionally as a result of it is usually true,” he added. “You do not have to look laborious to see and listen to it. And at the moment’s cartoon SHOCKED People.”

Australian broadcaster Neil Mitchell took the other tack on his morning radio present on Melbourne-based 3AW.

Following an interview with the cartoonist, he stated the response “reveals an terrible misunderstanding of Mark Knight and this nation.”

“I checked out that cartoon and it did not even cross my thoughts it was about race,” he stated.

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