These past couple weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for Serena Williams; first the Fresh Tennis Association tried to strip Williams “Superpowers” away by banning her body suit to the finale of the U.S Open. But, this blatantly level of disrespect from the Australian based publication was the icing on the cake.
Mark Knight’s piece was suppose to reflect Serena Williams in her controversial lose at the U.S Open finals. But, instead transitions into a culturally insensitive caricature towards the slave-rooted culture of Black America that embodies multiple racist tropes that demoralizes not only both players depicted in the drawing, but also the communities they represent.
If you been under a rock and missed probably one of the most controversial Tennis matches in years, The Nikes sponsored athlete was initially penalized with a coaching infraction which later turned into a domino of other penalties that cost her the U.S. Open during the Grand Slam Finale.
ESPN said, “Williams and the other women on tour — especially women of color — have to be twice as good and half as mad to succeed. It’s a criteria they have to navigate in tennis, and in life,” showing that the social stigma of that Blacks must remain content just to be allowed in the room transitions from corporate America to sports as well.
But for an outside entity to not only interpret a nationally decorated athlete as a ape-styled baby crying over something so minor as “sexism.” completely ignoring to research into the dark history of slavery, systematic oppression, and historical tools used against people of color, a simple apology isn’t enough. The artist even converted the U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, who is Japanese and Haitian, into a white skinned blonde haired woman; which further shows that this was more than a simple caricature.
“The racist cartoon of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka by Mark Knight of the Herald Sun is repugnant on many levels. The Sept. 10 cartoon not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams’ depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like,” said The National Association of Black Journalist, “The art of editorial cartooning is a visual dialogue on the issues of the day, yet this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two women of color at the US Open, one of the grandest stages of professional sports.”
To add insult to injury, the pro tennis phenomenon been hit with a $17,000 fine for her outburst with the line referee.