Newspaper defends 'racist' Serena Williams cartoon

Jose Verdugo
Setiembre 14, 2018

An Australian newspaper defied global criticism and allegations of racism on Wednesday when it reprinted a controversial cartoon on its front page depicting U.S. tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the U.S. Open.

America has responded with shock and disgust over a cartoon depiction of tennis star Serena Williams which has been labelled "racist" and "sexist".

In the background, the chair umpire asks her opponent, Naomi Osaka, "Can you just let her win?".

The caricature was published alongside unflattering cartoons of US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

Underneath the headline "Welcome to PC world", the newspaper wrote: "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".

Knight said he has received death threats over the cartoon and his Twitter account has since been deleted.

The Australian newspaper at the centre of a race row over a Serena Williams cartoon has dedicated its entire front page in support of the artist.

Australian writer Maxine Beneba Clarke said she believed the front page demonstrated a "misunderstanding" of the criticism levelled at the cartoon.

Osaka was portrayed as petite and feminine with jet blonde straight hair-in real life she has dark curly hair with blonde streaks and is taller than Williams.

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Knight said that cartoonists are increasingly concerned about outrage caused by depicting minority groups in certain ways.

"I felt Mark Knight's cartoon was too reminiscent of images drawn from the 1920s and '30s".

"But to focus on that, I think, is missing the point.

It was a cartoon based on her tantrum on the day and that's all it was".

"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. "Poor behaviour in any sport needs to be called out".

At the US Open, Umpire Carlos Ramos warned Williams for receiving coaching from the sidelines before docking her a point for smashing her racket. "I simply saw the world number one player having a dummy spit". She's interesting to draw.

The Herald Sun has since backed Knight following the worldwide criticism. As an African-American woman, so this whole business that I am some sort of racist, calling on racial cartoons from the past, it's just made up.

'Personally, I am with you there. That is the one thing I would say about it'.

"The enlarged facial features and the position of a dummy in the cartoon draws on pernicious stereotypes of African Americans as angry, childlike and in need of restraint by white masters", says Dr Kate Dossett, associate professor of USA history at the University of Leeds.

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