Debate Rages Over Whether Serena Cartoon Was Racist

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Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Days after an Australian newspaper published a cartoon depicting Serena Williams' tantrum during the US Open finals, debate on whether cartoonist Mark Knight is a racist still rages. The cartoonist, who has said he's received insults and death threats due to the cartoon, says his intention wasn't racist at all. Critics however point to the way he depicted Serena Williams, in a style that in America is reminiscent of "Jim Crow Era" racist stereotypes, when black people in media were portrayed by white actors with make-up that thoroughly exaggerated their physical appearances.

The News Corp-owned Herald Sun has insisted there was nothing racist or sexist about the cartoon, with management saying Mark Knight merely depicted Serena's "deplorable" on-court outbursts. But looking at the image, it's hard not to agree with the people who call it racist. This doesn't just apply to his depiction of Serena, but of the 20 year old winner Naomi Osaka as well. Osaka is depicted suspiciously like a stereotypical white blond woman, despite being half Haitian-half Japanese.


In their defense of the caricature, the Herald Sun claimed they were merely depicting Serena as they would have depicted any other person, and took issue with today's "PC culture" that makes one "automatically racist" for criticizing minorities. On his part, the cartoonist Mark Knight has turned his Twitter account private, perhaps due to the backlash.

For Naomi Osaka, this saga has also meant that her achievement has largely been relegated to the backseat, which is unfair to her. ... index.html

Little by little, the ant ate the elephant.