Friday, 21 September, 2018

Mark Knight: The Cartoon about Serena Williams is not about race

Serena Williams had no complaint with US Open winner Naomi Osaka CHRIS TROTMAN GETTY IMAGES Serena Williams had no complaint with US Open winner Naomi Osaka
Andrew Wong | 14 September, 2018, 11:42

An Australian newspaper doubled down on its decision to run a cartoon of Serena Williams that has been called racist and sexist.

And the editor of The Herald, Damon Johnston, said: "The cartoon is not racist or sexist... it rightly mocks poor behaviour by a tennis legend".

The original cartoon depicts Williams stomping on her tennis racket, with a pacifier nearby, and the umpire asking her opponent, Naomi Osaka, "Can you just let her win?".

It was joined by several other cartoons from Mark Knight, including Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.

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He also Tweeted out the front page of the Herald Sun that reads, "If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very boring indeed".

In an editorial the Herald Sun said criticism of the cartoon showed the world has officially gone mad. If I'd drawn Serena Williams, I'd have focused on her only really distinctive features: her eyebrows and her outfit, as well as her cheekbones, which, together with her strong chin and jawline, give her a diamond-shaped head.

Mark Knight spoke to 7News on Tuesday. "I think that's probably the context of the conversation".

Those cheeky wags over at Fairfax have had some fun at rival News Corp's expense, publishing a cartoon yesterday afternoon that spoofs the ongoing controversy surrounding the Herald Sun's controversial Serena Williams' cartoon.

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In 2016, Bill Leak was slammed for a cartoon that implied Indigenous fathers were alcoholics, poor parents and irresponsible, again painting a whole culture with historic and hurtful race-based stereotypes. "It was about her integrity, and anybody who doesn't get that is perpetuating the erasure that so many black women feel when they are trying to speak up for themselves". Williams called Santos a "thief" for the coaching ruling and in response Santos issued a third code violation, handing the game to Osaka. "So if you're a mediocre, middle-class, typically white male cartoonist who wants to pretend there's no racist genealogy to what you do, well I'm afraid the joke is on you". She added, "There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. I think the only solution to that is for ordinary people to fight and retaliate back much louder, so they can hear us from the back of their stadiums".

"I'm here fighting for women's rights and women's equality", Williams told a post-match news conference. "I simply saw the world number one player having a dummy spit".

But Knight's critics, which included Martin Luther King's daughter Bernice King, say the Sun's defense of Knight is "uncomfortable" and "without consideration for the painful historical context of such imagery and how it can support biases and racism today", she said.

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