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New Wrinkle in Serena Controversy: a Cartoon

Critics see its depiction of the tennis great as racist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2018 12:41 PM CDT
Naomi Osaka wipes a tear as she talks with Serena Williams after Osaka defeated Williams Saturday.   (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
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(Newser) – Serena Williams' loss to Naomi Osaka over the weekend at the US Open continues to generate headlines beyond the world of sports. One of the buzzier stories Monday concerned a cartoon—see it here—that it appeared in the Herald Sun of Australia, reports Business Insider. It depicts Williams, with exaggerated features, throwing a tantrum. In the view of TMZ, "it looks like a Jim Crow-era, Sambo-style caricature of a black person—not Serena Williams," and plenty of people agreed, including JK Rowling. "Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop," she wrote. Others found it strange that the cartoonist made Osaka and the ump white, when neither are. Related coverage:

  • Catching up: If you missed it, Williams accused ump Carlos Ramos of being a "liar" and a "thief" for docking her a point after what he deemed to be illegal communication between Williams and her coach. As she criticized him and demanded an apology, he penalized her a full game. Williams was ultimately fined $17,000.
  • Lost in all this: The controversy has overshadowed the win by Osaka and the 20-year-old's remarkable journey. Her mother is Japanese and her father Haitian, notes the Washington Post, which makes her Japan's first Grand Slam champ. The New York Times recently profiled her, wondering whether she can "burst Japan's expectations of what it means to be Japanese."

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