Couple of days ago I started a conversation on Facebook about this cartoon. I started the conversation or opinion as following
” I am probably going to get slammed for this, but I don’t think this is racist nor sexist. If your argument is that men behave badly too, well I’m sorry that’s no defense. Did Mc Enroe behave badly, yes he did. Great player but bad loser. I don’t recall if he was reprimanded by the umpire the same way or not. But I do know that current players do get punished for similar offences. Actually I don’t think our two tantrum boys Nick and Tomic got this bad, their behaviour seem rather pale compared to this. I am sorry but Serena did no service in fighting racism nor Sexism.”
As expected I received mixed views and opinions on the subject. I realised for those who opposed and thought this was nothing but pure racism, one line answers were not going to suffice. They were pretty strong with their views I might add. I think I even have room to bring out the ‘Sexism card” or and “I was bullied card” out. However, that’s not me, even if I am going to lose, I will play fair till the end. Also wanting to know the wider communities views, thought I might open the conversation again, but this time with more research and ammunition.
I think I will start from the very beginning. My google finding for the word Cartoon or Caricature as follows:
So I guess, we can accept that this was a cartoon or a caricature. It is not very complimentary to the subject, however, that seems to be a common thread. I wanted to investigate how other Tennis players or others in the public eye in general were treated by various cartoonists.
Other Serena Cartoons:
For me Caption two is very disturbing.
So was wondering if such poor treatment was only reserved for Serena. Just maybe I am wrong, maybe the world is a racist and sexist place. (By the way I think it is in many places but my argument is that Mark Knight’s cartoon isn’t. Also Serena accused the umpire of being a sexist. And again my point is he wasn’t).
How did the others fair in the hands of the Cartoonists.
I then thought I need to see other Mark Knight cartoons to see if he has a racist streak. The following are Sample Mark Knight Cartoons.
I am only attaching two as most of them relate to Australian Politics. He seems to have a go at both Labor and Liberals. For those who don’t understand Aussie Politics, the female in the picture is Pauline Hanson who is considered to be a Racist, homophobic and extremely Islamophobic. So the two pictures are taking a dig at her. If Mark Knight was in fact a racist I wonder if he would have drawn these cartoons?
Is Mark Knight a Racist? I don’t know him personally so I couldn’t say if he was actually a racist in his personal life. If I am to make judgement on his cartoons past and present, it doesn’t appear to be so.
Do I see a resemblance?
I see a massive resemblance of her actual photo and the cartoon, actually the way she was acting up on the match was very similar to the cartoon. There was no hiding that she behaved like a spoiled two year old brat.
Honestly I have not seen such a display by any other sports person, I was rather young at the time of McEnroe’s early matches. I can’t recall him behaving this badly. Even if he did, the poor man couldn’t pull the race card because he was a so called privileged white male.
The only other person that I could recall is Muhammed Ali. But in his case he was really fighting racism. Whether his methods were warranted, if you agree with him or not is another debate for another day. But one thing we cannot disagree is that he did genuinely fight for racism and paid a very personal loss. Even the “baseball players kneeling during the national anthem’, however, controversial it maybe, it is still an act to showcase their grievances of racism. Who’s agenda was Serena fighting for?
Alize Cornet was fined for changing her T-shirt on court. The player as well the fans demanding that be changed is fighting for sexism. I remember as a young child a female player was sent back to change her skirt as it was deemed too short. I don’t recall the name of the player. But I remember the incident. We have come a long way from that. Still it is a constant battle.
I don’t find the word ‘black’ offensive, I don’t find the colour ‘black’ offensive. For me when you do that, it is a submission of inferiority. I am brown/dark, I am short and I have big bosoms. It’s not a necessarily a statement of pride but rather a statement of facts. And I am very comfortable with all that. I may want to change some of the characteristics, such as my height, but not a biggie. A step ladder and high heels does the trick anyway. So if a cartoonist wants to draw me I expect and demand the picture to be all of the above and not to a draw me a 6ft white blonde. I would find that very offensive.
As a woman, as a person with a permanent tan, as a woman who has passed the age of 50, do I face discrimination? Of course. Almost everyday I have to stand up for some woman or another, in my own house hold. Women are questioned on what they wear, how much they weigh, how they look. She has to excuse herself if she chooses a career over family. But then again she is looked down upon if she doesn’t have a career. She can’t win either way. How many failed relationships could she have before she is considered ‘loose’ or ‘easy’? A man is a play boy. then why can’t the woman be a play girl?
So, it’s not just getting a job, or the right pay also in our personal lives we have to justify ourselves constantly. Some cultures/countries are progressing a bit better than others.
Let’s take a culture that is very close to my heart – The Sri Lankan Jaffna Tamils. They are the minority group of Sri Lanka who have been marginalised and have suffered enormously in the hands of the Sinhalese Government. But, there is another type of discrimination in this community, that no one fights for. Their own caste system. The world condemned the South African Whites for the Apartheid system. What happens in Jaffna (even to this day by many) is no different to that happened in South Africa. The main difference is, here it is not about Black/White. We are all Tamils, We are all of the same colour. But we belong to different caste. The higher class, will not allow their progeny to marry anyone from the lower class. Many have been disowned by the family for standing their ground. It’s not just the immediate family even the extended family has to disown them. They will not be allowed in to your houses. If they come to do any work in your property, they will have to consume their meals and water outside in the yard or on the back stairway. The main house will have separate plates and cups for such people. In some villages they are not even allowed inside the temple. Some of the so called ‘lower caste’ have got themselves educated and gone on to become doctors and Engineers. However, they remain lower caste, unable to marry into the upper class.
For me that is a bigger sin than another race looking down on me. My own kind are the bigger bigots. Is colour an issue, only for the white man? I am considered to be of lighter shade of the brown. I am almost considered to be white among my people. It is a desired feature, especially when it comes to marriage. In India some of the darker shade actors are demanding change in their industry. Fair and lovely a cosmetic product for skin lightning is now receiving a bit of back lash. When a new baby is born, one of the questions asked and discussed is the kid’s colour.
My point here is,
before we demand equality, we need to feel equal no matter are colour, race, religion, caste, occupation, gender and every other differences and uniqueness we may posses.