Serena Versus the Thieves

Samara Colbert, Contributor

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Everybody knows Serena Williams. Shes the queen of tennis, an influential person for so many black girls, and a constant in multiple sports controversies. Williams has been very open about her struggles in being a black female in the sports realm where she feels she is constantly disrespected for her race or gender. She even spoke out about being constantly drug tested when none of other colleagues ever were, and she has never been tested positive. On September 8, 2018, Serena Williams received a violation from the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, for illegal coaching during the first set and another penalty for throwing her racket on the ground. From there, Williams made it clear she had enough and demanded an apology while calling him out for sexism stating,”“Because I am a woman you are going to take this away from me? … That’s not right! Because of this, Williams was also fined $17,000 for verbal abuse. Many umpires were offended by this, though they were never involved in the first place and say they want to boycott Serena Williams until she apologizes to Ramos. 

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Following this story, an Australian artist released a cartoon that got lot of backlash. This photo was created by Mark Knight, an Australian artist for Herald Sun. The photo is of the match, where Serena Williams is throwing a tantrum and was drawn with exaggerated facial features. In the background you can see Naomi Osaka, a Japanese-Haitian woman with brown hair and dark skin, drawn as a white girl with blonde hair talking to Carlos Ramos -a Brazilian man-drawn as a white man. In this comic you see him ask Osaka “Can you just let her win? This drawing received lot of hate and many have had lot to say about this piece. Several have seen it as racially insensitive, disgusting, and problematic. People have related these photos to black face and the Jim Crow era in art.

“He completely missed the point of why she was upset. It was about her integrity, and anybody who doesn’t get that is perpetuating the erasure that so many black women feel when they are trying to speak up for themselves. It’s like our opinions don’t matter. -Vanessa K. De Luca

“Seriously. Is this the result of some twisted, racistmisogynist, Rorschach test for cartoonists? Is this truly how Mark Knight saw Serena when she stood up for herself? & Osaka suddenly has blonde hair? Ugh… -J. Brokaw @Julesitter

Following all of the backlash, Knight has deactivated his twitter. The Herald Sun, however, expresses no remorse in publishing this comic. In a statement, they said,”If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed. and also stated that the whole team stands behind him no matter what. Though it is clear now, that nobody else does.


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Serena Versus the Thieves