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by Farida Dawkins, at 10:00 am, September 11, 2018, News

Deny it all you want but the Australian cartoon of Serena Williams is racist

Photo: AJ+/Twitter

Australian cartoonist Mark Knight has come under fire for drawing a stereotypical racist cartoon of tennis icon Serena Williams.

The cartoon, first published by the Herald Sun has now gone viral with many people calling Knight and the publication for being racist and sexist.

Williams is seen with exaggerated lips while she is stomping on a tennis racket. The portrayal of her features is highly reminiscent of how blacks were seen in minstrel shows and advertisements during the days of Jim Crow. Blacks were made to appear as buffoonish, ignorant and unintelligent.

White actors would paint their faces black using burnt cork or shoe polish and exaggerate their lips and other body parts. These images were seen on stage, on posters and other memorabilia widely spread throughout the United States and elsewhere.

Williams opponent, Naomi Osaka’s caricature was made to conform to the standard European features even though she is Half-Japanese and Half-Haitian.

Berniece King, the chief executive of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. said about Knight’s imagery, “It was “without consideration for the painful historical context of such imagery and how it can support biases and racism today,” “Why wouldn’t a human being care about that?” as documented by The Guardian.

Knight responded, “I’m upset that people are offended, but I’m not going to take the cartoon down,” continuing, “I can’t undraw the cartoon. I think people have just misinterpreted. Maybe there’s a different understanding of cartooning in Australia to America … It was a cartoon based on her tantrum on the day and that’s all it was.”

The cartoon comes a day after Williams was fined $17,000 for three violations she committed at the U.S. Open.

She was docked $10,000 for verbally using the umpire, $4,000 for being coached during the game and $3,000 for breaking a racket.

Many feel the fine was unwarranted because the behavior she portrayed is typically portrayed by her male counterparts and yet, they receive no admonishment. Secondly, because of the negative connotations linked to black women exhibition of emotions outside of happiness.

Here are some of the reactions to the racist cartoon.

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