Two cartoons, two Maori victims but only one complaint to the HRC

Why is BoomSlang’s cartoon called racist when this cartoon by Murdoch is being re tweeted all over twitter? Both cartoons have an image of a Maori who has suffered violent abuse.Both Maori are portrayed as victims. BoomSlang’s cartoon referred to a specific story in the news and a specific victim while this cartoon generalises about ALL Maori.

Both cartoons make powerful points about things we know to be true based on statistics.So why has no complaint been made to the Human Rights Commision about this cartoon?

It is true, not racist to state that Maori suffer many more negative outcomes than non-Maori. How are these statistical truths made in Murdoch’s cartoon any less offensive than BoomSlang’s cartoon making a powerful point about the slaughter of a Moko by his Maori caregivers? Could it be because BoomSlang’s cartoon blames the abusers who were Maori whereas no one is blamed for the suffering of the Maori character in Murdoch’s cartoon? Is it possible that portraying Maori (in general ) as victims is not considered racist but pointing out the race of those who beat, tortured and killed Moko is?




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  • sheppy

    In my book, the reason BoomSlangs cartoon was complained about is simply because it was published on WhaleOil. It’ll be the usual suspects doing the complaining, and as usual free speech is only allowed when it agrees with their point of view.
    If you’d published both of them first there’d be 2 complaints

  • niggly

    It’s simple, Sharon Murdoch is the darling of the left-wing “intelligentsia” (think Green Party, Alliance etc). In her cartoon Maori are still the victims of “Colonial oppression”. So I would say that the beating that the woman in the cartoon has suffered is not from other Maori thugs in a contemporary setting (a la Boomslang’;s cartoon), but instead is a representation or symbolic of the suffering Maori have “endured since the signing of the TOW” by the “white man” etc.

    In other words, it is awfully “politically correct”, so it will be celebrated, re-tweeted (by other liberally minded cafe set MSM, leftwing and intelligentsia types) and of course no one will complain to the HRC (and if anyone did complain to the HRC, because they have the same mindset as Murdoch, they will throw the complaint out. So why would anyone want to waste their time).

    So this is also reflective of the modern day MSM, in which a cartoonist representing 2-5% of NZ’s fringe Left (think the extreme elements of the Greens, Mana etc) gets paid to disseminate such views that turn off readership of middle NZ (including the conservative elements of the Centre-Left etc).

    Mind you if the MSM Boards want to pay Murdoch to tank their readership well more fool them!

  • Herbert Charles

    Murdoch’s cartoon displaying the classic “white guilt” will be popular among the social justice warriors on social media, but the Boomslang cartoon calling for accountability for abuse in a “minority race” very naughty.

    • Sailor Sam

      I for one have no “white guilt”.
      It is not farfetched to say that maori is being victimised by maori much more than by non-maori.
      And I refuse to have to bear rsponsibility for what may or may not have happened during distant history, that was not my fault.

  • Dave

    No, I think the real issue is the all powerful Maori woman complainant has hurty feelings over previous articles about her on WO she didn’t like, the BoomSlang cartoon is just her convenient vehicle to have a shot.

    What that says about her casts a rather poor light on her, do nothing attitude, and it’s that attitude that will see the Ta Moko BoomSlang cartoon trotted out several times a year. It’s been going on for years, nothing happens, nothing changes.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    As I see it, the two cartoons are depicting the same subject – harm inflicted by Maori.
    The BoomSlang cartoon depicts harm inflicted on Maori by other Maori. The Murdoch cartoon speaks of harm, self inflicted!

    • OneTrack

      All except for land confiscation. Has any maori in living memory actually had land confiscated? And, if so, if it had been mon-maori would the confiscation have happened anyway? Yes, non-maori do have land taken for public works, etc.

      But, if you do think about the Murdoch cartoon, it really is a bit of an own goal.

  • Terrance

    These two cartoons don’t depict the same themes.

    Murdoch’s depicts a Māori adult women, beaten and bandaged by statistical facts. It presents an opinion that Māori were historically and are currently beaten, and pushed around, to their detriment. Their special treatment comes externally – it is dealt out by an outsider, implicitly ‘the system’. It doesn’t laugh at cultural practices, it takes the mickey out of the fact that Māori “special treatment” hasn’t led to better social outcomes, and that the “special treatment” Māori receive is actually “lower education outcomes, prison, early death” etc.

    BoomSlang depicts a Māori child, with bruises and scars. The bruises and scars are likened to the tradition of Ta moko – marking the body with images, patterns that represent history, culture and iwi. For BoomSlang to liken child abuse to a deeply important historical practice is issue number one here. The second issue is that BoomSlang implies that child abuse of Māori children is an ongoing practice that is acceptable to be ‘made fun of’ (the final sentence “Can be added to over time if applications start to fade!” is an attempt at black comedy). The fact that BoomSlang depicted a Māori child in a diaper, covered in scars that can be added to over time, is not only depressing, it’s making light of child abuse. That’s pretty not funny in my book.

    Basically – the style of humour in each cartoon is different – Murdochs being ironic, sarcastic and raising points about how Māori over all are treated, and how their treatment is viewed. BoomSlangs is black comedy, attempting to make light of Māori child abuse.

    Draw your own conclusions if you want, but they don’t depict the same situations, they aren’t of a similar type of comedy, and to be honest, BoomSlangs comic is a pretty pathetic attempt at ‘edgy’ humour.

    • spanishbride

      BoomSlang is not making light of child abuse. His cartoon is a powerful criticism of child abuse. Moko was used as a clever reference because the child ironically was named Moko. It is not making fun of a Maori tradition, it is making an ironic point as both bruises and tattoos can be added to over time.

      It is not black comedy it is a political cartoon that has as its purpose not humour but an intent to persuade or influence the viewer’s point of view. I suggest that the cartoon you approve of suits your world view so you have no problem with it. The fact that our cartoon does not match your world view does not make it racist merely another point of view.

      Statistically BoomSlang’s cartoon is as accurate in its inferences as Murdochs.

      • Terrance

        Actually – it does use humour to make light of child abuse. The definition of Irony is (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary): “the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny: a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected.” This cartoon fits that definition of using irony as humour. The use of the exclamation point at the end of the sentence suggests that the sentence is meant to be read as an ‘edgy’ or ‘loud’ sentence. Which fits the definition of ‘black comedy.’

        I just think that BS is using child abuse to make a comedic point – which is pretty disgusting in my opinion. And on top of that BS is being wilfully disrespectful of Māori tradition, when likening it directly to child abuse.

        • Graham Pilgrim

          Please explain why BoomSlang’s drawing “makes light” of a serious situation, and yet Murdoch’s does not. They are both “cartoons”, and are both about Maori issues.

          • Terrance

            By SBs own admission – the BS cartoon uses irony to mock and make light of Māori culture and Māori child abuse at the same time.

            Murdoch doesn’t make light of Māori culture – there is no culture shaming built into the cartoon.

          • Graham Pilgrim

            I have not read anywhere that SB has suggested that the BoomSlang drawing mocks or makes fun of anything.

            I suspect the problem you have with the BoomSlang drawing is that it portrays Maori as the aggressor. It portrays Maori in a bad light. However, the Murdoch drawing portrays Maori as the victim, the victim of “white” oppression, putting “white” Kiwis in a bad light, and that’s OK with you.

            I’m sorry to say that both “cartoons” are an accurate reflection of Maori culture. That is the shame.

          • spanishbride

            Both cartoons use irony yet you choose to only be offended by one. The one that generalises about ALL Maori in a negative way is much more ‘ offensive’ in my opinion than one that refers to a specific incident.

        • island time

          I never interpreted the cartoon as trying to be humorous. That is your personal interpretation. i do not understand why you appear to have an opinion suggests that if cartoon characters are used then they must be humorous.

          The cartoon certainly has been effective in creating awareness which is great.

    • Keyser Soze

      What a load of tosh. One-eyed much? Of course the styles are different and clearly they’re making light of different situations but both use humour to make important points. You might not agree with BoomSlang’s, I might not agree with Murdoch’s but to simply deny BoomSlangs as a valid commentary on the issue of Maori child abuse is utterly ridiculous. You claim Boomslang is making light of Maori child abuse while I see Murdoch making light of Maori domestic violence against women.

      In my view Murdoch’s cartoon is an own goal anyway. There is clearly special treatment for Maori and the fact it hasn’t filtered down to those most vulnerable who end up as the stats highlighted in the cartoon is and should be a source of shame for Maori leadership. Tainui is one of the wealthiest iwi and have extensive and very profitable business investments… and yet have you driven through Ngarawahia lately? The vast settlement wealth that has been dished out and accrued over the years has a funny way of never being seen by those who need it most. Some how that’s someone else’s fault? I don’t think so.

      • Terrance

        I’m questioning the validity of BoomSlangs strip not because I don’t agree with the a part of the message – of course I do, Māori child abuse is a horrific and on-going issue that needs to be addressed – I’m questioning BS’s attempt at humour because BS uses child abuse and Māori tradition as comedic devices in an attempt to be ‘edgy’. It’s not an issue that can be summed up in a light-hearted or funny way, and it is especially not an issue that can be expressed using black comedy.

        Also – what makes you think that Murdoch is making light of domestic violence? There is no indication that she is a victim of domestic abuse. She is a Māori woman, with bandages on.

        Murdoch’s point isn’t that the special treatment that has been handed down to Māori has been squandered or as you put it “hasn’t filtered down”. It’s that the ‘special treatment’ they have received has been entirely inadequate – and has, if anything, done more harm to Māori than good.