Ethics Quiz: The “Racist, Sexist” Cartoon

Australian sports cartoonist Mark Knight drew the cartoon above criticizing Serena Williams’ tantrum and otherwise unacceptable behavior as she lost the women’s title at the U.S. Open to young Naomi Osaka.

The cartoon was immediately attacked as sexist and racist. Is any criticism of Williams’ conduct racist, since she couched it as justified as a protest against alleged gender discrimination by umpire Carlos Ramos? Is any caricature of an African American celebrity subject to accusations of racism? Here is another tennis cartoon by Knight mocking a white, male player:

The Washington Post claimed that the Williams cartoon employed “facial features reflecting the dehumanizing Jim Crow caricatures so common in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day ….

Is Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon racist or sexist?

This is a good one for a poll:


107 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The “Racist, Sexist” Cartoon

  1. My preliminary choice, not available as option, would be:

    racism: yes;
    sexism; no;
    and maybe a pinch of ageism.

    I’ll will wait with explaining my choice till the discussion is ‘official’ opened.

    Thereby giving voters a chance to vote without being influenced by my deliberations

    • Only if you deliberately choose to minimize any stereotypically black features they have. Obama was caricatured in political cartoons, but they always went for his oblong head and big ears since those aren’t “black” features.

  2. Knight’s caricature style revolves around emphasis of facial features, as seen in cartoon Kyrgios’ enormous ears and beaked nose. Unfortunately, Williams has fairly large lips and a broad flat nose, making a caricature of her in the artist’s style look like an old-school racist cartoon.

    The thing is, those features became shorthand for black caricature because they’re relatively common in black people- for a parallel case consider the sallow skin and hooked nose of Jewish people in Nazi propaganda. At this point, I’d assume a caricature of an actual Jewish celebrity with an actual hooked nose to be called offensive also.

  3. I’m not sure an Australian cartoonist should be expected to be well-versed in American racist caricature tropes. Cartoonists commonly use exaggerated features of the subject, so the fact that an Australian cartoon depiction matches an American trope would not be unexpected.

  4. I understood the cartoon to refer to Williams because I read the post yesterday concerning her behavior, however at first glance I thought the cartoon looked like Maxine Waters. So, I voted “No, It was a typical cartoon.”

  5. The essential problem, or one of the essential problems, for Blacks forced to participate in white society — forced that is through the conventions of notions of correctness and goodness (essentially a Christian project) — is that the effort, from the start, was based in the only thing it could really be based in and which is obvious: the white plan and project, to the degree attainable, of turning the primitive African into a sort of ‘minor white person’. The horror of the fact and reality of being stolen out of your own lands and social matrix and — as the rather revealing statement goes — forced to perform in the ‘Empire of the white man’s will’. And it really began in those terms: performance, caricature. All the issues and conflicts and the basic warring going on in our present stem from these basic facts.

    Despite 100-200 years of what can only be described as ‘social engineering project’, the physical facts of the black body remain, largely, the same. Foreign, unattractive if compared to the conventional standards of white European civilization, and forced to *compete* within a white aesthetic world. All the realities of basic differences cannot ever really be hidden or glossed-over. But that is in fact what is attempted. That is in fact what is attempted through the strange ‘liberal’ project that we have all lived through and which defines the age we live in. The *liberal imposition* as it might be called. The idea that you can take some dissimilar, mal-equipped member of the wide human body, of any disparate race and ethnicity, and *transform* him or her into a European civilized person. This is the original predicate and it remains the same despite any story we tell ourselves. If one does not understand and recognize the essential force and also *violence* of this effort, one will not in my opinion understand our present very well. To see in these terms, to see through lies, impositions and deceptions, is a radical project. Rather painful really. And you’d better keep your thoughts to yourself!

    It is a culture of forced blending that creates these problems, though it is said to be that backward people cannot or will not rise to the occasion and participate, in the fullness of their assent, to the Multicultural World Project. That is, it is the fault of European people, some of the backward among them, who resist the blending-project determined by the State. They are the problem and *you* are the problem.

    In order to *see* correctly in a coerced environment of politically-correct seeing, one must train oneself not to see what one sees. Let this begin at Kindergarten. Let it continue through all phases. One is not allowed to see what one sees. But in respect to the caricature in question, should one see what one sees and depict it, it reminds everyone of *truth* and *fact* and, today, this is almost intolerable. You are not allowed to see what you see, you must see as it has been decided that you will see. These are issues of cognition really, and the State seeks to impose its *imago* through the force and power of the State.

    Just try to imagine how the cartoonist should have drawn Serena Williams, that is, if he had responded correctly to the *directive* of political correctness. It would be interesting if another cartoonist would demonstrate how it should have been done. Myself, I do not doubt at all that the cartoonist referred on some level to existent caricatures, but then when one considers any caricature, there is something in all of them (for example of political figures) which is deeply cynical and mean-spirited. That is what makes them biting. (I am thinking of a horrid caricature of President Lyndon Johnson that stick in my mind with his horrid ‘white’ nose all deformed and ugly. It is a similar cynicism that is projected there.)

    In my view, we seem to be living in a time, and through a time, when on one hand the imposed lenses that tyrannically determine how you must see (and think and believe and act et cetera) are suffering assault and disintegration (or modification and revision). But at the same time an equal-and-opposite force that insists that these Views be held up! What agony for the average struggling person!

    This is a large element in the present and it operates in many spheres. I could not help but think of this when I watched a 15 minute video, posted on the NYTs front page, of the memorial to 9/11. It amounts to a giant memorial to a False Construct and to a Lie! But if this is true (I recognize that numerous readers indeed believe the *official story* so they will have to imagine) just imagine what the ramifications of what it means to live within a constructed lie upheld by the State’s power! And how would one even think of ‘Constitutional values’ within that context? (My head begins to swim).

    I could not help but reminding myself how the entire *age*, the time we live in, is a determined and in a sense controlled mirage. Has there ever been a period in our history when it has been possible to condition so many souls to *see things as Power determines they must be seen*?

      • “No ethics issue, no cultural issue, no issue of human values, and no issue of our present, can be seen and understood unless a great deal of background is brought to bear on the question. One must struggle to do this against people inclined to limit intellect” — Alizia Tyler, Sept. 11, 2018

        And that is the focus of my writing really. To force myself to see and then to state what I see, despite any opposition, any attempt to coerce, by you, by anyone. To resist communal coercive efforts.

        Did you ever see The Wave? 😉

    • Your comment was as long and tortuous as the Bataan Death March. I disagree with most of what you said and don’t buy into your philosophy. What you say borders on conspiracy theory, but I’ll go with it for the sake of my reply.

      Some of the great aspects of our little European experiment are:
      1. all specimens are free to leave the study at any time.
      2. none are forced to participate.
      3. the majority of subjects have volunteered.

      For the 99.9% who choose to stay, We simply say, abide by the rules of the study or “When In Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” I assure you as one of the scientists, none of us are twisting our mustaches and we have no interest in sabotaging our CrAzY little experiment by holding anyone back or putting them through “agony.” It’s just not in our best interest to do otherwise. We ALL will be either winners or losers depending on the outcome of this diabolical thing. I hope this clears up any of the misconceptions or rumors you may have heard regarding the experiment called Western Civilization.

  6. Jack writes: “Here is another tennis cartoon by Knight mocking a white, male player:…”

    Greek father, Malaysian mother. He is in fact a person-of-color by conventional definitions, unless I am wrong. (Their diet must have been spectacular!).


    But as often happens, he seems to have been influenced by styles of *coiffure* popular among blacks. Looking at the drawing I’d have assumed he was black.

            • Hey, I am proudly a ‘mongrel American’. It isn’t sad, it is and one of the defining themes in American history. I am a descendent of everyone and no one. My ancestors all hated each other at different times. At many times in history, they fought each other and killed each other on this very soil (literally as recently as 3 generations ago). Some were fairly prosperous and had their wealth stripped away because they fought for freedom. Some had to run from place to place to avoid persecution. Some had to change their names to avoid political violence. Others rose from desperate poverty through education and the unique opportunities available in the United States. As Ronald Reagan said, (paraphrased) “The United States has become the most powerful country in the world by allowing more of her people to use their talents than any culture in history.” With my family’s background, I would not have been allowed to achieve what I have in any other country in the world (save, perhaps Canada). Much like ‘clever’, ‘cheap’, and ‘good with his hands’, ‘mongrel; can be a point of pride in the US even though it may be an insult in most other cultures.

              • Except that the term ‘mutt’ is, in fact, part of what has been called, and I see as such, an *anti-white* narrative. It is a way of undermining white identity. It is a system of ideas when you look into it.

                You say “I am a descendent of everyone and no one” and that cannot be so. That is a romantic statement and not one of fact. You are descended specifically from specific people and only those people. A small clarification but an important one.

                The way that we couch our self-description — of ourselves, where we reside, who we are, and a great deal more — has a great deal of relevance as to how we conduct ourselves.

                I am interested in countering the *attack on whiteness* and the *attack on whites*, and I see this as a real thing, not an invention. And I can elaborate on it. Therefor, I call into question the ideological content in the term ‘mutt’.

                If you are a ‘mutt’, and define yourself as such, you must transvaluate a (negative) value and, as you seem to have done, turn it into a positive trait. If being a ‘mutt’ is good, then perhaps you fell fine in blending with ‘everyone’ … or perhaps ‘no one’?

                But you could just as well choose to value whatever your specific genetic and physical aspect is, whatever has been bequeathed to you by the efforts of your ancestors. That is how I view *the body*. The body I have is the best my people could come up with. I have to live with it and improvement of it is a long-term affair.

                But in the realm of ideas, and in the realm of civilizational achievements, no one should desire to be a ‘mutt’, nor desire that. That would correspond to a descent into mediocrity, to non-descriptness. Ni chicha ni limonada. It is what the influx of Meso-Americans is doing to the American stock. (That is just one *race-realist* example, thank Heavens Chris is not here to beat me for it!).

                Therefor, as you see, I state things in line with a different set of ideological predicates. Naturally, I run up against whole other sets of specifically American predicates. But late American. Post-Sixties. The Founders were entirely race-realist. Completely and thoroughly.

  7. 1. Serena isn’t fat. Why was she drawn to be fat?
    2. The hair? Serena’s hair is way more polished than that.
    3. The face and lips? Are you kidding me? This picture doesn’t even remotely resemble Serena.
    4. Note that her opponent is drawn as a cool, collected, WHITE woman. This is so even though her opponent is half Haitian, half Japanese-American. If this doesn’t scream racism to everyone who sees it, then there is no hope for you.
    5. The baby pacifier and the depiction of her acting like a ranting toddler is sexist. I don’t give two figs about tennis, but there is commentary — from actual tennis players who know what they are talking about — that there is a huge double standard when it comes to rule enforcement.
    6. Also, let’s take a look at the ref. He also is drawn as being cool, collected, and rational — even though it has already been shown that this very ref has not imposed these types of violations for worse behavior by men. So, who exactly should be drawn as the ranting toddler?

    As for Serena, none of this is an excuse for not following rules, even if they are stupid and never enforced against men. BUT, it is not remotely childlike for her to point out the glaring double standard.

    • When has it been shown that this ref has not been just has harsh on men? From what I’ve gathered, he’s a known hardass across the board, and has in fact given warnings to men for the same sorts of behavior. Perhaps it’s not consistent, and some people have managed to cherry pick examples. The only instances I’ve seen which are specific to him instead of refs generally have been strict.

    • 1. For a professional tennis player, Serena is HUGE. Fair game for a cartoonist. I’d guess she’s at least 25 pound heavier than her prime. It doesn’t seem to bother her play, but that’s beside the point.
      2. It’s a cartoon. “Trump’s face isn’t that orange.”
      3. How did you know it was Serena, then?
      4. Osaka died her hair blonde for the match. Nice recycling of dishonest SJW talking points.
      5. I don’t think you bothered to read my post, which deals with that canard decisively. Bad form. To just cite one point, if umpires let male players be assholes a bit longer than they should, it doesn’t justify female players being assholes.
      6. “it has already been shown that this very ref has not imposed these types of violations for worse behavior by men.” Absolutely false, according to the Times reporting. Where did you see that lie?
      7. Tantrums are childlike. Throwing a racket on the court is childlike. Using rationalizations to duck responsibility is childlike. Rules against cheating are now stupid, are they? This is why Williams qualifies as an ethics corruptor. She’s corrupted YOU.

      • WTF???

        1. Serena isn’t remotely huge. She’s an athlete. Yes, her body type is more muscular than some of her white competitors, because that is because she is black.
        2. I don’t like Trump depictions either — but they aren’t coloring him orange out of racism or sexism, they are coloring him orange because of all of the stupid fake tanner and make-up he wears. You are allowed to poke fun at people for that Jack, even if I don’t find low-brow humor funny.
        3. I knew it was Serena because this news is everywhere and I first saw it on FB telling me it was Serena. Because I can read, I knew it was her. So?
        4. Did she dye her skin too? Also, did she straighten it? No to both. She was drawn as a white woman — own it.
        5. I do read your posts, I usually just don’t agree with them. Double standards everywhere. This doesn’t excuse her behavior. Also, I went back to watch what she actually said and did — refs have discretion, and I think he abused it. But, that’s not my beef.
        6. I already discussed this.
        7. I have not been corrupted. I don’t care about tennis. If pressed, I would even acknowledge that I don’t even care if this ref abused his power, because rules are rules — even if they are dumb. Serena acknowledged — graciously — her opponent’s win. She now gets to point out that these rules are not enforced equally. Either the rules should change or the refs need some training.

        Your poll results reflect the fact that your readership is mostly white, older, conservative men. Interestingly, I belong to a group of 11,000 female lawyers. Not a single one thought that this cartoon was okay. Not one. Demographics are everything. You wonder why your readership is down? It’s because race, gender, locality, education, and politics shape everything. I have no doubt that this cartoonist believes that his cartoon isn’t racist and sexist. That’s the problem. We all see the world differently.

        • “Yes, her body type is more muscular than some of her white competitors, because that is because she is black.”

          So there are racially specific characteristics/differences that may be discussed without the discusser being called a racist?

          ”Serena isn’t remotely huge.”

          I don’t follow tennis either, but for that sport she’s a big ‘un. Physique-wise she’s an outlier, but like Jack said, it hasn’t affected her play.

          “That’s the problem. We all see the world differently.”

          That’s a problem?? Would the solution be that we all see it the same way?

          If so, I see myself as uniquely qualified (with an assist from my pal Zoltar Speaks!) to determine that way.

          My qualifications will be available once the NDA’s are finalized and some minor…um…trumped-up allegations disappear…

          • Mr. Schlect! slickwilly, reporter for Commonsence Today.

            Will your plan include reeducation camps before or after a progressive violates our glorious new rules? Can we just look at past social media to recommend enrollees for rightthink adjustment?

            /snark 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Conservatives would be good at this crap: we have critical thinking skills not in evidence in most of the progressive camp…

        • The notion that the poll reflects the opinion of old white men is evidence of abject bias. You have no idea who voted and how. Moreover claiming all 11,000 female lawyers in your group is opinion not fact unless you queried every one.

          Have you ever considered that maybe the point of the cartoon was to show how one can use race or strength to bully a weaker but better player. I see it as a representation of black privilege. “Don’t criticize me or I will call you a racist”. Interpret the cartoon anyway you wish but her opponent was female and played by the rules. Male players were not on the field of play so they are irrelevant.

          In traffic court I had a judge tell me when I complained that others were going faster than me that that was irrelevant. As a lawyer you should know that.

        • Spartan writes: Your poll results reflect the fact that your readership is mostly white, older, conservative men. Interestingly, I belong to a group of 11,000 female lawyers. Not a single one thought that this cartoon was okay. Not one. Demographics are everything. You wonder why your readership is down? It’s because race, gender, locality, education, and politics shape everything. I have no doubt that this cartoonist believes that his cartoon isn’t racist and sexist. That’s the problem. We all see the world differently.

          You make one very good point. Demographics are not only *everything*, they are also *destiny*.

          Demographics is destiny.

          This is also quite good:

          “It’s because race, gender, locality, education, and politics shape everything.”

          Once one understand that the core issue we face has to do precisely with what you have very clearly outlined, one can then make real decisions about where one really stands. The whole structure of multiculturalism can then be viewed more clearly. But not until then.

          My own efforts are to:

          Allow the question of race to be discussed openly, without prejudice.
          Allow the question of gender to be discussed openly, without prejudice.
          Allow the question of locality to be discussed openly, without prejudice.
          Allow the question of education to be discussed openly, without prejudice.
          Allow political questions, in all their dimensions, to be discussed openly, without prejudice.

          Not a single one thought that this cartoon was okay.

          But possibly if you pressed them, and if they even bothered to think about it, most political cartoons, cynical and mean as they are, would not be liked.

        • Still Spartan wrote, “Yes, her body type is more muscular than some of her white competitors, because that is because she is black.”

          By virtue of my good standing in the better-than-thou army of social justice warriors, I therefore declare (based on the words I quoted) that Still Spartan is a racist. She should be fire from her job, the company she works for should be picketed for hiring a racist, she should be publicly smeared in Facebook and Twitter, and all her decedents from this point forward should be labeled as racist.

          Zoltar Speaks!

          P.S. I have now removed my tongue that was firmly placed in my cheek.

        • 1. She is huge. She isn’t the most muscular female tennis player. She’s the biggest, and in this run, she was out of shape. It’s a tribute to her athleticism that being out of shape doesn’t seem to slow her down much, but the same could be said of Babe Ruth. Any cartoonist who didn’t emphasize her size would be a coward.

          2. That’s MY point, as if you didn’t know. Exaggerating his features are fair game; exaggerating a black, female tennis star’s features are racist. Got it.

          3. The point is, it looks as much like Serena as millions of other caricatures look like their subjects. “Is doesn’t even look like her” is a deliberately clueless criticism of any cartoon.

          4. I don’t have to “own” a legitimate artistic choice. The figure was small, and the cartoon wasn’t about her. He used her hair as the ID. You knew who it was. Contrived offense.

          5. In this case, there’s nothing to agree with. Fact: she first denied that her coach was coaching her (cheating) and then said it was no big deal. Fact: she smashed her racket, a basic infraction. Fact: she impugned the integrity of the umpire. Fact: in doing so, she wrecked the triumph of a young woman who deserved better, and who, like an abused woman, apologized to her abuser.

          I never endorse double standards, and you should either produce one, or retract that slur.

          6. You never cited anything of the sort. I have cited authority to the contrary.

          7. Then you belong to a group of 11,000 women who can’t get past their own biases, which is sad and shocking.

        • I am most assuredly not male, nor particularly old. I am white, in a distinctly albino, lives in tunnels, related to ghosts kinda way. I don’t understand how a cartoon, highlighting a professional athlete having a temper tantrum, is inherently racist, and leads to not only you, but others, crying racism. Except for the obvious answer, everyone who thinks differently than you only does so because they’re racist.

          Serena is not fat, nor is she thin. She’s strong, fit, and has a whole lot of T & A. Because it’s a cartoon, all of that is exaggerated, because that’s what they do. If someone did a cartoon of me having a temper tantrum, I’d spend less time being upset over what physical characteristics they exaggerated, and more time realizing I needed to stop behaving like a ass.

          As a side note, I don’t believe you went to 11,000 female lawyers and conducted a poll. Complete balderdash. If that’s even half true, you have too much free time.

          • “I’d spend less time being upset over what physical characteristics they exaggerated, and more time realizing I needed to stop behaving like a ass.” (bolds mine)

            Bravo India November Golf Oscar.

            If someone calls you an @$$hole, tell them to fuck off.

            If someone tells why they think you’re an @SShole, IMO that deserves a listen.

            Then tell them to fuck off…

            • Also, I am not remotely upset about the match. I am not vested in Serena. I think tennis is boring. I do get upset about double standards generally, and racist and sexist depictions of anyone bother me. Indeed, if forced to root for someone, I always pick the underdog because it makes for a better story. As for my points above, some are stronger than others, but I’m okay with that.

              • I’m not vested in tennis either. I prefer watching grass grow. I too dislike double standards. This cartoon isn’t a double standard. Serena behaved like an ass. Displays of temper are vulgar, immature, and deserve to be mocked. The cartoonist is blatantly mocking her actions, not her race. Her childish behaviour drove this cartoon, not her race. Rooting for the underdog is commendable, IF the underdog is right. Rooting for the underdog only because of their race is foolish. Thinking Serena Williams is the underdog here is incomprehensible.

                  • It’s a matter of perception: Osaka had beaten Serena roundly the last time they met. Williams is a multiple Gland Slam champion and the greatest female tennis player who ever lived. Osaka is a decade younger in a young woman’s sport. Either one could be justly called the underdog. But people expected Williams to win anyway.

          • Michaelle Klatt: “I don’t understand how a cartoon, highlighting a professional athlete having a temper tantrum, is inherently racist, and leads to not only you, but others, crying racism. Except for the obvious answer, everyone who thinks differently than you only does so because they’re racist.”

            I think this represent a superficial view, but I would not say that your view is wrong. It just needs to be bettered. But first, we have to start with the proper definitions as everything hinges on them.

            This is how white and whiteness are to be seen. I provided the same to Zoltar and, I assume, he is going to work on modifying his perception and restructuring his mind in order to conform:


            In order to see correctly (you are only seeing partially right now) you have to have absorbed and integrated into the very structure of perception certain very important, and non-negotiable facts. These are not mere arbitrary choices someone made, but are in fact Truths. It is a kind of metaphysical anthropology.

            And because they are Truths you cannot argue against them. You can only give your assent. Chairman Mao would often speak of those *too stubborn* to be influenced by Truths.

            Here is a 32 page document that should be studied. If you could organize a study-group (maybe among the 11,000 female lawyers?) this is the best setting. One comrade with the correct viewpoint can often help the others who suffer defective seeing.

            Really, these revelations of the nature of these truths should ideally begin while the child is still in the womb, but kindergarten is likely to be the place where these truths are best instilled.

            Click to access cared-glossary-june2018.pdf

            Once these Truths have been correctly installed, one’s vision becomes clear. In a sense one cannot really see until one has had one vision modified by Truth.

        • SS said “Your poll results reflect the fact that your readership is mostly white, older, conservative men.”

          I’m not old, white, of male. Your statement is racist, ageist, and sexist as it ASSUMES only certain people think certain ways. This is how authors like Burgess Owens and other non-Marxist minorities get their books shelved in Fascism sections. Pure unwillingness to listen to those who think differently than you coupled with beliefs that only “woke” whites and ALL minorities think correctly is why the bigotry of Leftism left me cold. I’m so sick of SJW’s deciding *for me* how I’m supposed to think about a given issue. Your assumption shows how uninterested you are in being open-minded to different views, and how prejudiced your ideology actually is.

          I don’t love the cartoon but it’s not out of the norm for political cartoons. And Ms. Williams was acting like a giant baby, therefore, regardless of her sex the depiction was correct and had nothing to do w/ sexism unless YOU think women are more like babies than men.

          • Oh FFS, not every single person on Jack’s site is an old white man Mrs. Q. You’ve explained that to us in great detail every time you comment. There always are exceptions to the rule.

              • Michael West wrote, “But no exceptions to an 11,000 female panel of lawyers?”

                One must conclude one of the following regarding Still Spartan’s claim “I belong to a group of 11,000 female lawyers. Not a single one thought that this cartoon was okay. Not one.”

                A. It was an unsupportable assumption presented to imply a level of credibility to her opinion.

                B. It was an outright lie presented to imply a level of credibility to her opinion.

                C. It was a twist on The Golden Rationalization; all the other lawyers agree with her opinion so that makes her opinion right.

                D. Still Spartan is part of a brainwashed cult of female lawyers where any dissent from the majority opinion is absolutely forbidden.

                E. A and C Are True.

                F. B and C Are True.

                Zoltar Speaks!

              • I went back and checked last night. If there were people who disagreed — not o. And this is a pretty contentious group, so I doubt that people thought they would be silenced and ridiculed. We talk about politics and race a lot.

                • Still Spartan wrote, “I went back and checked last night. If there were people who disagreed — not o. And this is a pretty contentious group, so I doubt that people thought they would be silenced and ridiculed. We talk about politics and race a lot.”

                  Are you really expecting anyone here to believe that you have some special place where all 11,000 of the female lawyers in this group all responded in short order specifically about this cartoon and you read and understood 11,000 opinions from 11,000 different individuals in such a short time – last night? Was there a poll that specifically asked this question; “Was the cartoon was okay? Yes or No” and that poll only allowed a logged in member to vote only once?

                  Statistics are finicky and what you have been claiming is far fetched in both the content of your claim and physical timing of your statistical analysis. Please check your statistical analysis for errors; for example, maybe there are 11,000 members but only 300 actually participated in the cartoon inquiry and you are assuming that non replies from 10,700 members means they agree with you. Also the timing seems to be nearly impossible; first that all 11,000 had actually seen the cartoon, second that all 11,000 actually discussed the cartoon in such a short period of time, third you were able to review the opinions of 11,000 people in a few hours last night.

                  Inquiring minds want to know.

                  • Michael West wrote, “So there is greater nuance and difference of opinion among about 15 “old conservatives” than there are between 11,000 female lawyers?”

                    Sounds a whole lot more like an echo chamber instead of a place where there is a “pretty contentious group”.

                    I think her statistical claim is ridiculous and it’s insulting to the intelligence of Ethics Alarms participants to expect them to believe the nonsense.

                    • Spartan made an assertion that is hard to back up, in an attempt to appeal to authority. She got into trouble when she started in on the “…so if you can’t see that, you are part of the problem” line, which is bull. (Yes, she did not say that outright, but it was pretty heavily implied by the bias she showed. She doesn’t know if ANYONE here is 1) white, 2) old, or 3) a man, or identifies as one. (I am giving her a pass on the ‘conservative’ part, as why would a progressive sign up for the abuse of being thought a Nazi?)

                      Such assumptions would (and have!) gotten conservatives roasted, especially the gender question.

                      Being a ‘reasonable’ liberal (or progressive, if you prefer) is hard these days: like ‘moderate’ muslims, if you speak out against the madness, they come for you *too,* or even *first.*

    • 4) Go ahead and open the jpg in Microsoft Paint. Use the eye dropper tool to lift a mid-tone off of the caricatured Serena and off the Osaka.

      Imperceptibly different. The color is virtually the same. Also, Osaka’s hair WAS blond during the match.

      5) “The baby pacifier and the depiction of her acting like a ranting toddler is sexist.”

      This is a non-sequitur. You’re going to have to do a lot more to explain this connection than merely asserting it.

      6. Also, let’s take a look at the ref. He also is drawn as being cool, collected, and rational Because he was.

      “— even though it has already been shown that this very ref has not imposed these types of violations for worse behavior by men. So, who exactly should be drawn as the ranting toddler?”

      Even if he has been shown to be this way (which he hasn’t), how would a ranting toddler even remotely caricature his behavior in this situation?

      • I think this is a case of overextending your position. I think there are legitimate concerns over the lips and nose. Which historically, black caricatures were part of a larger concerted effort early on by racist power brokers to convince black people they were inherently uglier as part of the overall effort to suppress black people’s sense of self-worth.

        Yet, at the end of the day, ALL CARICATURES rely on *exaggerating* physical characteristics that are outside of the average. I have big ears, caricatures of me, will have ENORMOUS ears.

        Will there be a point where we can accept caricatures of black people as not actually being part of an effort to demean the *entire* set of people sharing those phenotypic characteristics? Or is this ad infinitum and ultimately going to boil down to a “You can only make fun of white people” sort of trope?

          • I lean towards “racially insensitive” but not outright racist. I like Kmele Foster’s philosophy on ascribing racism…and he’s very very generous about granting benefit of the doubt to ALL manner of people who have been accused of racism or racist conduct in the past. Rather considering it merely poorly thought out or inconsiderate conduct.

            • Not me…I lean towards evaluating this cartoonist as “racially insensitive” but not actually racist.

              But given that he’s Australian, he may not be so aware of sensitivities pricked by subtle cues in the American conversation.

              • Editorial cartoonists are mean. They should be insensitive, if they are to exist at all. I agree with your assessment, but insensitive also means color blind. He should be equally mean to all, and the evidence is that he is exactly that. I think editorial cartoonists are almost always unfair, and they should be used as amusement, or not at all. But if you are saying that a cartoonist should be “sensitive” to race, then you are arguing for a double standard, like affirmative action.

          • And tennis nets aren’t perfectly straight, they sag in the middle, but damn if this cartoon doesn’t have them straight.

            You are grasping at straws here.

            That’s Osaka’s hair, because Osaka made her hair blonde for the match.

            Our cartoonist is focusing on the temper tantrum, not exact renditions of hair highlights.

            • If SS wasn’t a friend, and if I were a bully, I might highlight this exchange in a full post about how seductive biased thinking is. Serena has no defense. Her attempted manipulation and cruel disdain for Osaka is manifest. But feminists, women, female tennis champs and others are literally incapable of admitting this, because it creates cognitive dissonance they don’t want to deal with. So they just grasp at straws to attack the messenger.

              • This whole thing boils down to leftists criticizing anyone who dares call out bad behavior if the person commiting said behavior is black, female, identifies as female, was once female and now identifies as a man, is part of a movement, plays a sport, acts, or participates in marches. All those folks are above reproach, no matter how abhorrent their behavior. The rest of us are just not smart enough to see that the bad behavior is justified.

                • I didn’t respond here today thinking I was going to get any support. I don’t need it and wasn’t looking for it. I’m also not an overly sensitive person, but this cartoon made me gasp out loud. It’s terrible. I get that 85% of you don’t see it, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

                    • (wakes from his slumber)

                      One of the reasons I didn’t pursue doing political cartoons is because… no matter how much I practiced at it, I am absolutely awful at caricature. I tried drawing John Kerry dozens of times, and could never get it down. (Not that it ended up mattering.)

                      The image of Serena Williams has been called ‘something out of 1910,’ which I think it an exaggeration. However, the large lips, even the ponytail pointed straight up… to me, it does invoke some insensitive imagery of old caricatures and similar things. Maybe even the pose itself, her being completely in the air, maybe that is bothering some people for possibly comparing her motion to that of primitive man, or even that particular animal that racist jerks compare persons of color to. But that might be a stretch.

                      Again, that’s just my interpretation. I am not ascribing blame or intention. All I’m saying is… if the cartoon looked indubitably like Serena Williams, people would have a lot less to complain about, even if you could focus on part of it and say it parallels older racist art.

                      If it were me drawing this cartoon, I would have had Serena facing away from the ‘camera’ if I couldn’t make it look like her. The whiny facial expression isn’t important visually. We see her stomping the racket to pieces and the pacifier. The intention is clear. And thus, now that face is all we’re talking about.

                      Obama was drawn in caricature a lot during his term. Most chose to exaggerate his smile, as that was his most prominent facial feature. It’s not entirely different from how Carter was drawn. If a caricaturist chose to instead exaggerate Obama’s lips… well, that would be silly AND it would at least be evidence that the artist might not be trying very hard, and may well be dipping into artistic stereotypes.

                      Unsophisticated artists (like me!) have to do silly things to make it clear who they’re drawing. Remember how far out Ted Rall’s ‘caricature’ of Bush became, just to make him stand out from all the other interchangeable sideways heads he drew? I don’t think this artist TRIED to draw something racist, but I think the drawing can be fairly interpreted that way.

                      Just like looking at Serena Williams’ record of how often she blows her stack at officials would give us a better picture whether or not she’s a diva or just occasionally gets mad, or looking at this official’s record at officiating will tell us if there’s some bias in his history… unless the cartoon is galling and unambiguous, it doesn’t mean the creator is racist in a vacuum. If there’s a history of drawing persons of color in insensitive or questionable ways… then maybe it’s worth calling him out.

                      But to respond to your point that political cartoons are supposed to be mean and ‘make people gasp…’ that parallels what I’ve heard from other cartoonists who worked under political cartoonists. They mentioned an example where they showed the Grim Reaper dunking a basketball over Magic Johnson’s head. This followed his AIDS diagnosis, of course.

                      If someone can tell me what the message of THAT cartoon was, other than “fuck you, Magic Johnson, for getting a disease in the midst of your enviable career,” I would love to know it.

                      When I was a child, I remember reading in a cartooning book by Bruce Blitz that caricature is not meant to hurt anyone. I took that to heart earlier than I learned not to make fun of people for stuff they can’t control, like being bald or a diastema. You could represent those things in drawing, but you shouldn’t make it grotesque or in some way to hurt someone.

                      Now, as I said, the drawing doesn’t REALLY look like Selena, so maybe it won’t bother her personally. But the notion that political cartoons are just meant to rile people up and get under people’s skin… I don’t think that’s an ethical pursuit. Or if it is… I don’t have the nerve for it anymore.

                      That’s the other reason I put down the pen. I wanted to make jokes, or use jokes or observations to get people to let their guard down and see something differently. The career apparently called for the closest thing there was at the time to attention-getting clickbait.

                      (By the way, I voted “racist, not sexist,” even though I’m not entirely convinced it was racist. It’s definitely easier to make that claim than the sexism.)

                  • Spartan wrote: “I didn’t respond here today thinking I was going to get any support. I don’t need it and wasn’t looking for it. I’m also not an overly sensitive person, but this cartoon made me gasp out loud. It’s terrible. I get that 85% of you don’t see it, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”

                    Rather than think in terms of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ — I suggest these are false poles here — it is better to attempt to expose the issue to the light of day.

                    The reaction by the so-called SJW faction, or the anti-racist faction, or black activist groups (each group having a different orientation, a different POV, and a different reason for being concerned), the reason for their reaction can be examined. I suggest that one element at the core of it has to do with power. I will try to explain.

                    The late 19th and early 20th century caricatures of Blacks had all to do with the power of white culture to categorize African-descended people. This *seeing* is tied directly to a specific anthropology. Of course it is based in power. The power to define, the power to explain, the power to show, and the power, essentially, to control. The powerless have no means at their disposal to resist these *impositions* and, often, adopt the terms of the imposition. The origin of a black resistance movement took shape through counter-definitions. You can find that sentiment in Reggae music for example:

                    “If you know your history / then you will know where you coming from / then you wouldn’t have to ask me / who the heck do I think I am

                    In order to know who you are, you have to know the history of how your body (and your mind and soul) got to be where it is. If you don’t know, and if you can’t know, you cannot ever arrive at an accurate definition of yourself and your situation.

                    Once one has gained *knowledge of one’s situation’, and once one knows the history of the trajectory of one’s body (completely essential for a people whose function had been have their *body* chained to the white man’s project, there is no other way to put it), at that point the necessary, the inevitable, project of self-definition begins. I will now begin to contest what you have told me about me. I will now begin to define myself to myself absent of your imposition. And I will now begin to define myself independently of your intentions, your projects, your goals and aspirations.

                    All of this: reclaiming of sovereign power.

                    I understand one of the main issues arising in the present in respect to these racial problems and questions to be rooted in the issue of *definitional power*.

                    Now, any caricature of any black person, especially of the distorting and cynical, mean-spirited sort that are most political caricatures, will necessarily show similarities, even if superficial, to the racialist caricatures of former times when the *anthropological imposition* was uncontested. And the present cartoon demonstrates that this is so. If you placed the recent Serena Williams cartoon among a group of caricatures from former times (late 19th and early 20th century) the setting would sway anyone to question the intentions of the artist.

                    The issue here is one of power and also of definition. Someone will say:

                    It is not you who gets to say whether the image is free of or loaded with racist animus. I will tell you what it shows and what it means. And I will do this because I am working to use my power to achieve my specific objectives.

                    The curious fact is that, far less than one think, one’s reactions and one’s counter-definitions do not have to be tightly linked to either truth or reality. That is, they do not have to be 100% accurate. They have only to be similar to realty. They only have to illustrate a general point.

                    I want to provide a very pure example of how this sort of power, and the reclamation of self-definition, is expressed. I think it is very worthwhile not to merely read the words but to see the performance of it, that is, in the body:

                    What I notice is the evident counter-definitions that are necessary to creating a sound sovereign identity. It is simply unreal to imagine that a given people who had lived through what they had lived through, when given the self-definitional resources and the power to self-define, will not openly rebel against *your* project. That is to say, the Occidental project on one hand, but the specific anthropological project of molding a people to conform to a design that is not their own and was never chosen by them.

                    I suggest that 90% of the problems of our day, in respect to these issues, can only be seen if what I suggest is taken into account.

                    My own *destiny*, my values, my objectives, the civilization, my culture, my polity, that I will and can create because I can give myself to it heart & soul, have very little do do with African history and African post-colonial struggles. I can *see* their issue and their struggle, but it it not mine (and I do not need it to be mine). In my own view *these people*, taken generally, have incompatible goals and objectives, and the getting of them will and necessarily must operate against my own goals and objectives.

                    The sole object of a multicultural and a multi-racial society is to blend the races and ethnicities. That is, through the physical blending of peoples. Then the social conflict will cease. But not completely. When the *blending* occurs, the conflicts are internalized into the physical body and into the *spiritual body*. I say this knowing what I know of Latino culture. What corresponds to ‘Black Rage’ is ‘Malicia Indígena’. That is, a sort of oppositional character, or suspicion, or resistance, to the goals and objectives of the upper-echelons of society (in Latin America always more white, more European). What happens in such a cultural situation is that things get totally mired. This is what is obviously beginning to take shape in Multicultural America, and a great percentage of the present problems stem from it.

  8. ”Is any criticism of Williams’ conduct racist, since she couched it as justified as a protest against alleged gender discrimination by umpire Carlos Ramos?” (bolds mine)

    Want a slam-dunk? Pitch Ramos as a White Hispanic

  9. I think it’s telling how little the cartoon actually resembles her. Serena doesn’t have particularly big lips or particularly “nappy” hair, but those two features were accentuated most. Second, she’s large in an athletic way, but is drawn here more like Aunt Jemima. Why not depict her with huge arms, a big farehead, or broad shoulders?

    Lastly, Kyrgios isn’t white. That said, st least his chariacture actually resembles him.

      • While it’s true that “white” doesn’t mean WASP, I have to disagree that Kyrgios is simply “white.” He is half-Greek and half-Malaysian, making him a racial mix of European/white and Southeast Asian.

    • I think the caricature looks like Williams. She does has thick lips, even if they aren’t that distinctive, but there’s a general emphasis on her mouth, because it’s depicting her having a tantrum. The hair resembles the style Williams was wearing, and I also don’t think any great liberty was taken with her body type.

      The one element that really draws to mind the old “coon” stereotype, from my perspective, is the redness of her lips.

  10. I voted “No. It was a typical cartoon.” but on reflection, I should have voted “Whatever it was, she deserved it”.

    The cartoonist is making fun of Serena’s tantrum, not her race or gender. Serena has a history of throwing tantrums. It is not the first or the last one she will ever throw. Cartoonists take great liberties with their subjects and often hyper-exaggerate facial features or body types. The cartoonist’s representation is not intended to be taken literally.

    Women’s tennis, though, has rules of conduct (changing between sets/games, etc.) that may not apply on the men’s side because they are governed by different rules. Busting up tennis racket is a penalty-inducing action. Calling out a line judge or umpire is prohibited because, as my 14 year old son stated last night, by calling Ramos a “thief”, Serena was impugning his integrity, impartiality, and professionalism. She earned the game penalty because it was part of history of bad behavior during that championship match.

    Serena is one of the most talented, dominant players in women’s tennis. She, and her sister Venus, changed women’s tennis, for the better. They are mindbogglingly powerful players, with huge strokes and monster serves. They are hard to beat. The narrative for this tournament was set to celebrate her return to the top of the podium after years of struggling.

    Then, along comes some 20 year old half Haitian, half Japanese, and haft American upstart and gives her a run for her money. News flash: Naomi Osaka beat her before at the Miami Open in March, 2018, and was on par to beat her again in the US Open. Osaka upset the narrative so now we must focus on the rules disparity between men and women.

    Serena’s defense of Osaka is frustrating. How dare she set the stage for this young player to be abused by the media and The Mob and then run to her rescue. How awful. Osaka’s victory is now tainted because of Serena lost without grace or dignity.


  11. Gad – so much to read in this thread! I beg Jack and all commenters: Forgive me, just in case, for speaking up late, and for possibly missing the fact that the point I am about to bring up has already been talked to death here.

    Has there been the slightest suggestion, anywhere, that PERHAPS Williams’ tantrum and self-righteous bratty-ness POSSIBLY had SOMEthing to do with HER racism against the Asian opponent who defeated her?

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