Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Newspaper reprints controversial cartoon of Serena Williams

Cartoonist slammed for perceived racist depiction of Serena Williams Don Cheadle Says He Doesn't Believe Serena Cartoonist, You Know It's Racist!
Cary Erickson | 14 September, 2018, 11:44

Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight made global headlines this week after his cartoon depicting Serena Williams responding to the umpire was slammed as racist, reinforcing denigrating tropes against African-Americans popularised in the segregationist Jim Crow era. "The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race".

The cartoon shows Williams jumping on a broken racket with a baby pacifier.

Serena, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, smashed her racquet and called the umpire a "thief" and a "liar" while she was losing Saturday's final to Haitian-Japanese Naomi Osaka.

Wednesday's front page of the Herald Sun included a reprint of Knight's caricature of Williams along with cartoons of other high profile people including Donald Trump, Tony Abbott and Pauline Hanson.

Interestingly, Knight's twitter account, where he posted the cartoon, has since ceased to exist.

The New York Times wrote that the cartoon reflected a "wider pattern" of ignorance from Australians around race issues, saying the conversations in Australia were not as "robust and layered" as in the US.

And the cartoonist, Mark Knight, said he had "no knowledge of those cartoons or that [Jim Crow] period".

Williams, who has since been fined $17,000 by the United States Tennis Association for the violations, vigorously disputed each of them during the match.

Still, Knight has come under withering criticism over the cartoon with many calling the thick-lipped facial features a "mammy character" and "racist". "Mark Knight has just drawn his way into the history books". I think that's what's resonates with people so much about Serena's journey, and explains the hysterical reaction against her.

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He told the Herald Sun: 'The cartoon was just about Serena on the day having a tantrum.

"When I drew that cartoon, I wasn't thinking of racial politics in America".

Navratilova concluded in her piece: "I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.' Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?"

"It rightly mocks poor behaviour by a tennis legend", Johnson tweeted.

The highly publicised spat between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos has made headlines the world over, eclipsing Naomi Osaka's great triumph.

"The Sept. 10 cartoon not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily Sambo-like", the NABJ Sports Task Force wrote in a statement Monday. "I drew her as this powerful figure, which she is, she's strongly built".

"What's hilarious about the discussion surrounding Mark Knight's Serena Williams cartoon is how ahistorical he and his supporters seem to be".

"I'm sorry it's been taken by social media and distorted so much, ' Knight said before adding he's sought to reply to comments "but they don't listen".

Knight's depicting "the world's greatest tennis player spit the dummy" appears in the foreground with the caption: "Vetoed: Large hair and lips, too angry".