Chantelle’s Week 7 Blog

Chantelle Boateng

A recent image that upset me was the way Serena Williams was drawn by Australian cartoonist Mark Knight, which was based on an incident that took place during the 2018 US Open. The cartoonist portrayed both women in a way that was not factual or showed what actually took place. Knight drew Serena Williams behaving in a childish manner, throwing a temper tantrum. I felt that this not only attacked her character but also made her seem like an angry black woman, which is how African American women are labeled when they speak against something that is not right. In addition to this the cartoonist went as far as drawing Williams with extremely big lips which doesn’t show how Williams actually looks like. The article Australian paper under fire for ‘racist’ Serena Williams cartoon, written by France 24, stated “Knight draws facial features reflecting the dehumanizing Jim Crow caricatures so common in the 19th and 20th centuries”. This statement is true because African Americans were portrayed by White actors in black face, as a way to not only make fun of African Americans for their looks and full lips, but to also humiliate them. Knight also changed the skin tone and hair color of Naomi Osaka, making her a white woman with straight blonde hair, when she is a brown skin woman with curly brown hair that has blonde ends. Yet, if it wasn’t two women of color who did the same thing, they would have been portrayed in a way that made them look perfect and the situation would have been made less harsh. Also there have been men in the tennis industry that have behaved far worse and yet they were not penalized the way Williams was. This also shows that double standard and the different pedestal that men and women are placed on when they do the same things.   

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Adjunct Professor of Media Ethics in Contemporary Society at Utica College

One thought on “Chantelle’s Week 7 Blog”

  1. The cartoon definitely argues for the social relevance of this issue because yes, it addresses racial issues, as well as sexual discrimination. I think it’s awesome you came up with a different medium to analyze. I think as for a thesis, you’d have a very good argument that the cartoon was harmful.


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