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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

About That Racist Cartoon

It seems that every other day, we are reading or seeing something in the news about Black women being abused and mistreated in some way. But when Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight decided to depict Serena Williams in the most disrespectful way possible – it struck a major cord.

Not only is it problematic but racist, ignorant, misogynistic and simply offensive.

Throughout the years, Serena Williams has been criticized for her demeanor, her outfits, and even her body. Now, as one of the greatest athletes in the world, she is shown as a mannish caricature throwing a tantrum.

The reality is that Serena is a strong, beautiful and powerful Black woman who stood up for herself for being unjustly penalized. This is the norm for how she’s always treated. As Black women, we’re not supposed to stand up to injustice or even ask questions. When we do, we’re labeled irrational, angry, and a problem that must be corrected.

Looking closer at the cartoon, you’ll see that Naomi Osaka, Haitian-Japanese, is depicted as a fragile, delicate blond. The cartoon whitewashes her appearance when she isn’t even white at all.

Wouldn’t it just be easier for people to acknowledge that they hate Black women? And for those people to just admit they hate when Black women assert themselves in any way.

Why this cartoon was even deemed acceptable to print is incomprehensible. Someone at the Herald Sun knew better, and they should all be ashamed.

Malcolm X said it best: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

How often do we see Black women being berated on television and in social media? We are historically mocked and marginalized for physical traits specific to Black womanhood. And have been criticized for perceived negative behaviors that are pretty much general.

Black women don’t need to be “corrected”, particularly on our own perspective which is chosen not be believed or taken seriously. Offering empty apologies for offending someone only suggests that you acknowledge making someone feel bad; it doesn’t mean you’ve learned or grown in any way.

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