RaceSex & Gender
serena williams racist cartoon under fire
By Erin White
September 11, 2018
Yesterday I saw a down-right despicable cartoon depiction of Serena Williams’ and Naomi Osaka’s now infamous U.S. Open Finals match and was sick, but not surprised by the misogynior on display.
Created by cartoonist Mark Knight, who along with the Herald Sun which published the drawing, now defend the piece and claims gender and race had nothing to do with it. The illustration ran in an Australian newspaper after Williams lost the match due to a much criticized and allegedly sexist ruling by a US Open umpire. The National Association of Black Journalists said the cartoon was “repugnant on many levels.”
“There’s nothing inaccurate in the cartoon, but I’m sorry it’s being taken by social media and distorted so much,” Knight said. “The cartoon is about Serena, it was about her poor behavior. It had nothing to do with race.”
“It had nothing to do with gender or race.”
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) September 10, 2018
Then why is Osaka depicted as a blonde-haired woman while Williams’ is made to look monstrously oversized?
But it doesn’t matter what Knight has to say about his alleged racism and seeming abuse. Anyone with eyes and basic knowledge of how Blacks were demonized through propagandistic illustrations in the media during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Illustrations that played into manufactured stereotypes of Black womanhood pegging us as either hyper-sexual, hyper-aggressive, or eager servants for white folks to work and abuse. Knight wants us to pretend that his caricature of Williams is somehow removed from that.
This is getting really annoying. Nobody is criticizing his decision to criticize her. We are criticizing his grotesque Jim Crow era-esque caricature of her and the concurrent whitewashing of Naomi’s features which includes but is not limited to her hair.
— Call Me Dora. Dora Milaje (@HildaBiggins) September 11, 2018
“Black women are often faced w/ people responding to their emotions ‘from a place of perceived fear. There’s almost a paranoia around it… that you have to go above and beyond to make people feel comfortable around you’” – @BrandingBrandi. #SerenaWilliams https://t.co/60ewi3skfL
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) September 11, 2018
the misogynoir surrounding this entire non-incident with Serena Williams makes me want to set controlled trashcan fires throughout the city of Oakland. https://t.co/9ZxHg31Hly
— Imani Gandy o—€ (@AngryBlackLady) September 11, 2018
Case in point:
You never allow the oppressor to define what is or isn’t racism. Otherwise, it’ll claim it is never racist. https://t.co/doQUxfkDjG
— zellie (@zellieimani) September 11, 2018
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