A cartoonist for News Corp’s Aussie tabloid the Herald Sun drew a racist cartoon of Serena Williams on 10 September. The reason it’s racist is because it uses tropes that were historically used by racists in racist cartoons – tropes like:
- Black women with masculine physiques.
- Black people with exaggerated, animal-like features.
- Black people being angry/unstable.
The cartoonist responded by saying:
You can’t expect me – a professional cartoonist – to know anything about the history of cartoons.
"It's a cartoon about poor behaviour. It's nothing to do with race."
Mark Knight responds to the international condemnation he's copped as a result of yesterday's Serena Williams cartoon.
More online soon. pic.twitter.com/IhDjn0uEJL
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) September 10, 2018
The counter argument is that someone who works with things like symbolism, cartoons, and politics should know something – especially if they’re getting paid for their work. Not knowing is like trying to become a guitarist without learning about tuning. You could, but who would pay to listen to the hideous noise you produced?
The Herald Sun editor took the defence further, claiming that:
Before all this happened, we never even knew what racism was. It’s really not fair to expect us – as people in the information industry – to be widely informed.
And anyway, what’s next? You want to ban racist cartoons today – will it be non-racist cartoons tomorrow?
It was explained that ‘no one is saying non-racist cartoons should be banned – primarily because they’re not racist’. The editor shouted in response:
You said ‘non-racist cartoons should be banned’ – I’m printing that!
It goes higher
The Herald Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. A spokesperson from the evil news conglomerate claimed:
You can’t expect us – as the people who own Fox News and The Sun – to know what is or isn’t racist. It’s not like we get people contacting us on a daily basis to shout ‘THIS IS RACIST – WHY DO YOU KEEP PUTTING THIS SHIT OUT!?’. You’re really not being fair.
So yes – how could any of the numerous people involved in publishing this cartoon have known?
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