The Serena Williams controversy kicked off with the game the tennis chair umpire Carlos Ramos docked the diva of women's tennis in the US Open final. “Sexism”, Serena cried and she had good reason to, for no one had been disciplined for coaching in a Grand Slam final ever. The issue didn’t stop there.
A newspaper in Australia, one of the world's predominantly ‘white’ countries, carried a Serena cartoon that was racist. Portrayed in the cartoon with bulbous hair, bloated, outsized frame, a lolling giant sized tongue and an expansive nose, the cartoonist drew on old Black Sambo concept to racially vilify Serena. The obnoxious caricaturing of black people was justified by calling for cartoonist licence to bring the point home with sarcasm. But the portrayal was too much of characterisation of a racial stereotype of an eternally angry black woman.
The cartoon triggered a culture war with its sheer bigotry and insensitivity in a historical context to the moral responsibility for racial equality. The cartoon was just downright unfair to a black athlete thought of as not only one of the greatest players but also an icon to many young people wishing to rise and succeed in life. Serena was deprived of her dignity. Why, even in India, the Amul ad was trolled for not being kind to the issue it was trying to cast its humour on.
J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling
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
The saddest part about Mark Knight's cartoon depiction of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, is that he believes that he has done nothing wrong and that everyone is overreacting and does not understand the art of caricature. Racist bigotry at its finest
Rev Jesse Jackson Sr @RevJJackson
#SerenaWilliams shown as angry baby, #NaomiOsaka as a blonde White Woman, in controversial #USOpen cartoon from Australian newspaper & cartoonist, #HeraldSun & #MarkKnight: .@RevJJackson @SantitaJ @Knightcartoons @theheraldsun
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?
Jennifer Burnett @N18rd8aqNw6
Australians are well known for being racists. Apology for generalising, but we have seen to many examples of their distaste for people of colour. The aborigines are bearers of many displays of racism. This cartoonist is not expected to know better because he lacks intelligence
The cartoonist chose to portray Serena Williams alike depictions of the 1800s. Screaming of racism, sexism, and the notion of the angry black woman!! It's not about freedom of speech or press freeedom but about how she was depicted!! McEnroe looked normal. Why not her???
Nakkiah Lui @nakkiahlui
1. How is it that absolutely none of these are funny? 2. The majority of these are totally fine. The argument is surely you can do a caricature that doesn't rely on racist stereotypes? 3. Woah, Herald Sun, you are extra. Chill
4. Maybe listen to people (especially POC) explaining why your (un)funny little picture was a big bit racist instead of, I dunno, having white guys explaining why it isn't and then having a front page dummy spit? (oh the irony)
Be A King @BerniceKing
So unfortunate that this is your response; and 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?
Steven W. Thrasher@thrasherxy
As we all head to work this week, I feel very sad for the individual and collective consciousness of Black women, which has been & will be stressed hard
No matter what you think about this situation. THIS 'cartoon' is disgusting on so many levels
4. Really? There were no actual news stories that could've taken the front page and instead we get faux outrage?
More like a little Black Sambo having a tantrum is what it portrays. Funny how YOU, of all people, don't recognize that. Your comment is way off the mark. The cartoon is racist...tell it like it is
Don't know much about the Herald Sun. DO know this Mark Knight !@#$%^&* shouldn't be employed anywhere on this planet McEnroe looked normal. Why not her???