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If you all have been following what has been going on all over social media, you would have seen the anger which has erupted over a cartoon depicting SERENA WILLIAMS throwing a tantrum and reducing NAOMI OSAKA to a white, blonde woman, essentially erasing the idea that a half black (Haitian) and half Asian ( Japanese) tennis player has just won the US Open. 

Also it probably won’t come as a surprise that the cartoonist who made this RACIST and SEXIST cartoon is an Australian named Mark Knight, who draws for the Herald Sun ( Australia’s version of Fox News in print form). He tweeted his cartoon, which depicts Williams throwing a temper tantrum ( and Knight drew her to look like a “savage”) at the US Open Finals and he totally erased the winner of the US Open Osaka by replacing her with a blonde white woman. Now before I go into talking about why I am so livid about this cartoon, here are a few updates of the outrage over social media. 

Many high profile people, including J.K Rowling and Kathy Griffin have called out the sexism and racism in Knight’s cartoons and the America’s National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement calling the cartoon racist and ‘unnecessarily sambo-like’:

‘The art of editorial cartooning is a visual dialogue on the issues of the day, yet this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two women of colour at the US Open, one of the grandest stages of professional sports,’

The newspaper under fire The Herald Sun has defended Knight (check out their Tweet) as well as a number of other cartoonists and journalists ( who all happen to be privileged white men) who claim this has nothing to do with gender or race…. pfft….as if. Knight himself defended the cartoon by posting another cartoon he drew days back of of Australian tennis player NICK KYRGIOS behaving poorly at the Open. To me, this is not an excuse because he can be double accused of being a racist as Kyrgios is half Malaysian ( on his mother’s side). And that cartoon was not drawn as offensively as the Williams – Osaka one was. 

So my thoughts? Well let me make it easy to read and comprehend, here they are in dot points:

* Portraying Serena Williams throwing a tantrum is MISOGYNISTIC, RACIST and absolutely disgusting. Williams had every right to be frustrated and getting a penalty from the umpire shows that the umpire had poor sportsmanship and was sexist.

* Male tennis players swear at umpires and receive no penalties and do not get attacked this way. Look at the history of John Mcenroe….

* Knight also erased Osaka’s Haitian and Japanese background and made her white and blonde. This is how misogyny and white supremacy work hand in hand to pull down black women and other WOC. 

* When the crowd was booing Osaka, Williams did ask for calm and told everyone to give Osaka her moment – to me this shows true sportsmanship. 

* Knight cartoons highlights what is inherently wrong when privileged white men think it is ok to be racist and sexist. He claims it is not about race or gender, but really, he is blinded because he himself enjoys white privilege. 

* Knight and The Herald Sun need to come off their high horse and issue a public apology to both Williams and Osaka. This cartoon is absolutely disgusting on every level and needs to be condemned. 

Of course, I have more thoughts on all this, but I will be rambling on for days in a fit of anger if I do. With that, I will leave my post here.

1 Comments

  1. Hi Erin.
    Just a few thoughts on your dot points (in order)

    * “…the umpire had poor sportsmanship and was sexist.”
    Really? Poor sportsmanship? How? By applying the rules of tennis? Ramos is a well respected umpire throughout the tennis world, and your cheap opinion of him doesn’t help your argument. Sexist? How?
    But I guess he can always fall back on his whopping $600 a game and laugh at the slander.

    * “…Look at the history of John McEnroe”
    Yep. AKA Superbrat. Lost count of how many times he was faulted for bad behaviour. A Cartoonists dream. And didn’t they go after him. Perhaps you’re too young to know.
    But Serena’s absurd behaviour does have one thing in common with McEnroe and all the other umpire abusers. They are always in a losing position when they ‘light up’.
    It’s called ‘Gamesmanship.’ Crude, but it often works.

    *”Knight also erased Osaka’s Haitian and Japanese background and made her white and blonde.”
    Did he? Look closer. Her skin tone is the same as Serena’s, and she DOES have a blonde ponytail. (Sorry) But of course this isn’t a cartoon about her, is it? She behaved like an adult.

    * When the crowd was booing Osaka, Williams did ask for calm and told everyone to give Osaka her moment – to me this shows true sportsmanship

    Agreed, that was Serena’s finest moment in a pretty shabby performance.
    But what about all those upper middle class white people of privilege in the crowd, rooting for Serena?
    Actually booing a young black woman on her first ever win!!
    How do you think poor Naomi felt? Do you care?

    *Cartoonist exist to prick the balloon of pomposity.
    How dare a mere umpire question the great Serena. How dare he accuse her of being coached from the stands. That’s a lie!!!
    A pity her coach admitted to doing it, on camera, straight after the match ended. But so what? Who cares? It’s Serena! She is above criticism or any kind of mockery. Trump would call it, fake news.

    * Do Serena and her ‘supporters’ owe Osaka an apology for destroying what should have been the greatest moment of her life? Apparently that doesn’t matter. It’s all about Serena the great. Knights picture of Serena certainly wasn’t flattering. But neither was her petulant behavior. Kyrgios cops hell in Australia for his poor behaviour. A cartoonists dream. (As demonstrated)

    In finishing, As much as Serena and her obsequious ‘fans’ have built this in to a major international cause against sexism, racism, it’s important to remember what happened.
    The worlds best female tennis player got faulted (rightfully) by an umpire, three times in a game of tennis, and blew up about it.
    Now imagine if she’d gone down on one knee in support of her African American brothers and sisters being shot by police? (and the poor NFL players being abused because of it)
    Now there’s something to get angry about! But tennis faults? Keep it real.

    Thanks for the time and space to comment, Erin. And here’s hoping that Serena DOES break Margaret Courts record (a real ugly Australian). She’s deserves it. But not if she accuses umpires of cheating. That’s an automatic fault. For everyone.