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AN American political editor has explained why he believes an Australian cartoonist’s depiction of Serena Williams was racist — regardless of intent. Dr Jason Johnson, who is also a professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University, suggested the Herald Sun’s Mark Knight was aware he’d drawn Williams as a “brooding, big-lipped, almost ape-like” figure and that it was unnecessary in his endeavour to highlight her bad behaviour at the US Open. “If the cartoon was purely about bad behaviour I don’t see why she had to be depicted the way she was. You can have her jumping up and down, whining, crying, whatever — that’s typical for sport … you can depict people as sore losers,” Dr Johnson told Melbourne’s 3AW....
“It’s a cartoon about poor behaviour. It’s nothing to do with race. I drew this cartoon on Monday night, I saw the world’s greatest tennis player spit the dummy.”
But Johnson said Knight’s explanation failed to take into account the history of the way black people had been represented in America.
“But to depict her in this large, brooding way — even for a cartoonist — is reminiscent about (how) black women in America and black women’s bodies (have been racially portrayed in the past) — especially in comparison to Naomi Osaka who in the back corner is drawn as this lithe, possibly white, looking woman.
“I understand Mark Knight is Australian, consequently his understanding of racial depictions might not be the same as they are in the United States, but I also think as a cartoonist who is writing about an international incident and international figure, I don’t buy that he was completely oblivious to how his work would be perceived either.
Dr Johnson argued it didn’t matter what Knight’s intention was. If his cartoon was received as racist, it was racist. “Regardless of what his intention was, the way it was received is legitimate as well,” he said. “He can claim until the cows come home that he didn’t intend this to be at all racist — maybe that wasn’t his intent — it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.
“The world’s gone crazy,” Knight said. “It’s a cartoon about poor behaviour. It’s nothing to do with race.
SBS Life talks to four diverse Australian cartoonists on what their take was on Serena Williams' argument with an umpire who docked her a point and a game in the US Open Final.
We asked Australian cartoonists Maddie Hah, Costa A, SBS Sexuality writer and illustrator Sam Leighton-Dore, and Walkley award-winning graphic novelist Safdar Ahmed how they interpreted the match, in light of the political and racial politics of what Williams represents for tennis and broader society.....
"I thought the match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka was a case study in athleticism, strength and the sheer emotion that comes with the myriad pressures of competing on a world stage. Sadly, the fallout since has demonstrated once again the gross double standards that women of colour are held to. I felt it was telling that white men had somehow managed to make such an historic event, shared by two women of colour, about them and their misplaced rage."
Serena Williams called sexism after she was penalised for ranting at the umpire in the US Open Final. Williams claimed a man would never be sanctioned for what she did.
Carlos Ramos is a notoriously strict umpire, however. He has handed punishments to male and female tennis stars over the years, which they have disputed.
However, Williams may have a point about men getting away with more than women. Just one day after Williams' outburst, Novak Djokovic smashed his racket on the floor in frustration at the US Open Final… but received no code violation from umpire Alison Hughes.
There are other examples of men getting away with far worse than Williams, and none of them show tennis in a particularly good light. That being said, Williams did break the rules, three times and received three penalties. Sexism in tennis is alive and well - but her punishments were not an example of it.
Naomi Osaka is the first Japanese player to win the U.S. Open, but that’s not what most people will take away from it. Serena Williams was fined
Here are some of the quotes via The Telegraph.
“You are attacking my character.”
“You are a liar.”
“You are never going to be on my court ever again.”
“Say you are sorry.” “How dare you insinuate I was cheating.”
“You stole a point from me. You are a thief too.”
The “thief” comment caused the third code violation and prompted the game penalty in the crucial last set, making it 5-3. Williams called out the officials to lodge her complaint, and probably vent some frustration.
originally posted by: TheConstruKctionofLight
a reply to: StoutBroux
Yep - if would have gone down really well if he sanitized it, drawing her thin
beat the bacon into submission
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I'm not sure of the artist's true intent and won't consider the art racist, but damn those lips are way over-exaggerated!
originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: StoutBroux
It's a caricature in which features are exaggerated. In this case, I presume the mouth is larger precisely because of what she was doing -- opening her big mouth to throw a tantrum. As for the rest of her physical appearance, be honest -- Serena is a large girl, not in a fat way, but in a muscular, brawny sort of way.