Is this Rod Emmerson cartoon offensive or racist or neither?


Added to the problems within the Warriors is mixing Meds with energy drinks. Rod Emmerson 03/05/16

Added to the problems within the Warriors is mixing Meds with energy drinks. Rod Emmerson 03/05/16

It is time to do a comparison between Rod Emmerson’s cartoon A) and BoomSlang’s cartoon  B)



BoomSlang cartoon

1.Does the cartoon make a reference to Maori violence?

A) Yes, it uses the words, Once were Warriors which is reference to both the movie ‘Once were Warriors’ as well as the sports team.



B) Yes, it makes a reference to an event in the news, the killing of Moko, who was beaten before being killed.

2. Does the cartoon use a Maori symbol or a Maori word to help get its message across?

A) Yes, it uses a Maori design similar to the logo of the Warriors sports team



B) Yes, it uses the Maori word Ta Moko which is similar to the name of the child who was killed.

3. Is the message of the cartoon negative or critical and was a Maori symbol or word used to get this message across?

A) Yes, the Maori design which represents the Warriors team appears to be intoxicated and its tongue instead of being thrust out in a warrior like challenge is loose and lying on the ground. The design is burping as a further indication that the head is intoxicated.Also the eyes are spinning and unfocused.

B) Yes, a child is drawn with bruising, clutching a teddy bear who also has been beaten. The cartoon is linked to the news story of Moko by the use of the word Ta Moko and the explanation given for it.

So there you have it readers. I have outlined for you all the things the two cartoons have in common. Both use Maori in some way to make a point about a recent event in the news.Only one has been accused of racism yet both have linked Maori to violence as part of their message which is negative and critical. I think it was a clever play on words to link the Warriors story with a film title, just as it was clever to link Moko’s name with Ta Moko in order to get the cartoonist’s message across.

Should either cartoonist be labelled racist for employing a common technique of political cartoons? Is it racist to use Maori symbols, designs or words in a cartoon? Is it racist to make a negative or critical point about something that happened in the news when you are a political cartoonist or is that your job?

Finally is it fair to assume that the criticism made by both cartoonists extends beyond the one news event that they were referring to? Is it fair to assume that Rod Emmerson is criticising ALL sports teams with Maori designs because he mocked the Warriors? Or is it reasonable to assume that his criticism is about one particular news story?

Is it fair to assume that BoomSlang is criticising ALL Maori families?Or is it reasonable to assume that the criticism is about a news story about the abuse and slaughter of a Maori child?

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