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.
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Many are calling this editorial cartoon racist and sexist.https://t.co/XgHVAqePuf
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) September 10, 2018
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.
This is Jim Crow-racist. He Sambo’d Serena Williams. I’m a bit surprised that @Knightcartoons didn’t include a watermelon. For those unfamiliar with the history invoked here, read about the coon caricature. https://t.co/ffmrk76MRM
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) September 10, 2018
Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop. https://t.co/YOxVMuTXEC
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 10, 2018
The racist cartoon re: Serena at the #USOpen is a reminder that there remains a strong appetiteand acceptance for anti-blackness in the media and in segments of society. How did that even get published?
— deray (@deray) September 10, 2018
Don’t know much about the Herald Sun. DO know this Mark Knight muthafucka shouldn’t be employed anywhere on this planet. https://t.co/46g7dh797h
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) September 10, 2018
Criticism of Mark Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon shows the world has gone too PC & misunderstands the role of news media cartoons and satire. Poor behaviour in any sport needs to be called out. #media #cartoons #markknight @Knightcartoons @theheraldsun https://t.co/KQFuvIJp0Q pic.twitter.com/sRo3AQ1cJW
— Michael Miller (@mm_newscorpaus) September 10, 2018
So, only the creator can judge whether the object they created is racist?
— 𝓢𝓾𝓼𝓱𝓪𝓷𝓽 𝓡𝓪𝓸 (@SushantRao) September 11, 2018