The Australian Published A Stunningly Racist Cartoon Today And It’s From Guess-Fucking-Who

It’s tricky writing about the latest racist cartoon in The Australian, because there’s so little that’s new to say. It’s not a surprise that Johannes Leak, son of Bill Leak, would slap a weird racist caricature in the paper, nor is it a surprise that he’d face instant condemnation.

But here we are, waking up to more stale bigotry, from a guy whose sole form of gratification appears to be angering people with the naive belief that racism shouldn’t be plastered in a national paper.

Here’s the scene. This week, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee in the upcoming US presidential election, Joe Biden, revealed Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Harris is the daughter of an Jamaican father and Indian mother, making her the first Black and Indian-American woman ever selected to run on a major party’s ticket.

Before she became a senator, Harris also served as a district attorney and attorney general of California; Biden’s decision to run with a self-described “top cop” is notable, considering the mass protests and calls for police reform which erupted after the death of George Floyd.

Guess which factor Leak focused on.

Today’s cartoon imagines Biden introducing a speech about America’s racial divisions, before saying the “little brown girl” behind him will take over. The cartoon is meant to cast doubt on Biden’s mental faculties, but the phrasing is cruel to her; it’s bigoted and misogynistic, and the overall implication is that Harris was chosen to run as VP purely because of her race. In short, it’s racist as shit.

Perhaps what is new about the cartoon is its attempt at obfuscation. While Leak’s contemporaries have been quite brazen and old-school with their racist depictions, this one slips in a racist dig while accusing someone else of the racism.

I get that you can’t squeeze the full context of the past four years into two panels, but the cartoon brushes over the existence of US President Donald Trump, who is gearing up for a reelection run – and is famously great on race issues.

If recent history is anything to go by, folks who see the cartoon for what it is will be described as triggered softies, and there will probably be some chatter about ‘cancel culture’ for good measure.

But if One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson can lose her recurring breakfast TV gig after one too many racist upchucks, there’s a slim chance that someone will recognise this is the last of about forty thousand straws.

Probably not, though.