Thursday, 13 September 2018

Newspaper cartoons are

not meant to be kind. They are generally there to make fun of a person or situation or event.
That does not mean that they are racist statements or that the people who draw the cartoons are racist.
The cartoon about Serena Williams was commenting on the behaviour of a supposedly professional sportswoman. Serena Williams was setting a very poor example and she deserved to be lampooned. Did that have anything to do with her race? 
Let's look at it another way. If she had won the match then a cartoon depicting her in caricature and praising her would almost certainly not have drawn any comment at all. 
Remember the uproar over the cartoon that Bill Leak drew of the two young boys and the policeman? That cartoon landed him in trouble with the Equal Opportunity Commission but there was nothing racist about the cartoon. Leak was simply commenting on a situation that the rest of us needed to be reminded about.
If the PC police are going to insist that only Anglo-Saxons can be depicted in cartoons then cartoonists might as well retire. It is becoming like too many other things that the PC police have had their fingers on lately.  
Recently the "golliwogs" were taken from the display cabinets at the showgrounds on the (mistaken) belief that they depicted something "racist". By no means all of the indigenous community agreed with that decision but they too had to abide by the demands of a minority within it. 
There is a local preschool that did not celebrate Christmas because, while the majority wanted it, one person objected. They did have activities for Eid though. In all likelihood those who object to the celebration of Christmas would take their shoes off to enter a mosque - as they should. What's the difference?
Yesterday there were reports about a nine year old in another state not standing for the national anthem because, it is said, she sees it as "racist".  Where does a nine year old get those sort of ideas and what does she really understand about such issues? Has she spoken to Cathy Freeman who has not just stood for the flag but carried it with pride? Do schools stop teaching the national anthem simply because one child objects? I don't like the words or the tune but it is the national anthem and I stand for it.
Racism is abhorrent and totally unacceptable but depicting someone as they are is not racist even if it is unkind.  Denying some people the right to celebrate their religious festivals while encouraging others to do so is also wrong. Refusing to stand for the national anthem which is intended to encompass everyone is wrong too.
We need cartoonists to make us aware of these acts and absurdities.

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

Newspaper cartoons are meant to be satirical and use caricature. I think where people were complaining of racism is that the depictions of the other people in the cartoon were not also caricatured. Compare the traditional Australian political cartoons in which all the characters tend to be caricatured regardless.

The strangest thing about the Serena cartoon is that the artist, Mark Knight, defended his drawing by saying he accentuated the features of Serena as an African-American woman "because that's what she looks like" and yet he failed to accentuate the Japanese-American features of Naomi Osaka whom he also depicted as a blonde when her hair was brown. Why did he not draw Naomi Osaka to resemble 'what she looks like'?