The Australian's cartoon cannot be justified with the twisting of Joe Biden's words

The Australian’s cartoon cannot be justified with the twisting of Joe Biden’s words

Those who choose to point the finger at the Democratic nominee are turning a blind eye to the tones of racism in the “little brown girl” cartoon.

Let me be very clear as a “brown girl”, this has filled me with absolute rage and disappointment.

How dare the editors of Australia’s only national newspaper think it’s ok to print something like this? We are a country built on migrants – of people black, yellow and brown who expect and deserve to be treated equally to white people by the media. A momentous time in history – the first woman of colour to be nominated to potentially become the VP of USA – has been tokenised by Australia’s media.

They have taken a line of celebration from Joe Biden – when he said this week that “little black and brown girls woke up to see themselves for the first time in a new way, as the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents” – and twisted it into something divisive.

Biden used these words to describe a reality that was happening not just for American black and brown girls, but for women of colour all around the world. I was filled with hope on what opportunities would become available. The Australian has sadly, and I feel deliberately, twisted this sentiment of hope to one of tokenism. 

Make no mistake, when we allow our press to publish this type of rubbish, we empower those who are racist in Australia. And as a “brown girl” I look at this cartoon and realise that we have a long way to go before people of colour in Australia are able to reach the same heights as Kamala Harris. Before a leader equivalent to Joe Biden makes a deliberate choice to pick a woman of colour as his running mate.  

If you have ever wondered what white privilege is, this is the perfect example. White privilege lies with those who are sitting back trying to decide whether this is offensive or not, and whether Biden is to blame.

Let me tell you that your frame of reference, justification or comprehension is not acceptable. Telling me that I am overreacting, that I don’t understand and should accept that it was a joke is also not acceptable. This is the time for you to listen and understand why women like me are filled with rage. The question we all need to be asking is how The Australian was allowed to print such divisive tripe and how we collectively work together to fix it.

A different choice could have easily been made, but it wasn’t. No care or thought was given to how non-Anglo Australians would feel. As long as this continues, we will trivialise and ignore achievements of all talented women and women of colour. 

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