Racists don’t know they’re racist, I guess, which is how they can deny racism when it’s right there in their face. Like this cartoon:
“It had nothing to do with gender or race.”
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) September 10, 2018
That caricature is racist as fuck. It’s not something you can reasonably argue over — there is no debate. It’s done. You can’t draw a black woman that way, in a way that doesn’t even vaguely resemble Serena Williams, except to make a racist point. It looks like something from the 1930s or earlier.
“It had nothing to do with gender or race,” the artist says. Bullshit, says I. He also claims to be completely unaware of the history of racist caricatures, so how was he to know? He’s a cartoonist, that’s how. He’s so completely uninterested in his craft that he never, ever studied cartoons from the past?
And not only does Knight’s drawing portray Serena with undertones of classic racial stereotypes, including the apelike stance and oversized pink lips reminiscent of the coon caricature and Sambo cartoons, but he included a pacifier in the drawing, presumably to indicate Serena’s childish actions. You’d never know, from this cartoon, that Naomi Osaka is actually two inches taller than Williams.
It is also revealing that Knight chose to illustrate Osaka as a blonde, fair-skinned damn-near white woman whose complexion is the same as the umpire’s. Unintentional or not, the juxtaposition is clear: Naomi is the quiet, questioning protagonist who, along with the genteel official, is opposed by the brooding behemoth, Serena Williams.
It’s stunning how many people are trying to argue that the cartoon isn’t racist. Damn. Racist is as racist does. It doesn’t have to have the n-word scrawled in sharpie across the cartoon to be racist.
- 52 percent of voters who supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election believed blacks are “less evolved” than whites, according to researchers at the Kellog School of Management.
- In a 2018 YouGov poll, 59 percent of Republicans agreed: “If blacks would only try harder, they would be as well off as whites.”
- The same YouGov poll revealed that 59 percent of self-identified Republicans believe blacks are treated fairly by the criminal justice system.
- 70 percent of Republicans agreed that increased diversity hurts whites.
- Republican-appointed judges give black defendants longer jail sentences, according to a Harvard study released in May.
- 55 percent of white Republicans agreed “blacks have worse jobs, income and housing than white people” because “most just don’t have the motivation or willpower to pull themselves up out of poverty” according to the Washington Post’s review of data from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center.
- Nearly twice as many Republicans than Democrats (42 percent versus 24 percent) believe that blacks are lazier than whites, according to the same NORC poll.
Every single one of those opinions are racist as fuck, too. The white people of America are a mob of racists, and the most racist of us gravitate to the Republican party, where they are welcomed with open arms.
What do Australia and the United States have in common? A history of displacing native peoples and justifying it by the claimed intrinsic superiority of the colonizers. Here’s a good summary from an Australian professor.
As Cheryl Harris wrote in her famous article Whiteness as Property, racial regimes based on the theft of native lands and the enslavement of black people produce an association between the fact of being white and the right of possession. Not only are white people given the legal right to take ownership of stolen land, but whiteness itself becomes property, having intrinsic value as a quality that only white people can possess. At the same time, under slavery, black people become property. The privileges that accrue as a result of being white come to be expected by white people so that any threat to their status or their reputation is perceived as illegitimate, particularly when it comes from the racially subjugated.
Both our countries are still dealing with that ugly history…or more accurately, failing to deal with it.