Flat White

Fair suck of the sauce bottle, Kev. That’s not racist

14 August 2020

3:00 PM

14 August 2020

3:00 PM

Is Kevin Rudd really stupid, as he expects us to believe? Or is he just a rank opportunist who manipulates the serious issues of race and sex in order to score cheap political points?

The former PM was all huff and puff today when triggered by a cartoon in The Australian that depicted Joe Biden introducing his presidential running mate Kamala Harris as “a little brown girl”.

The Democrat presidential nominee was shown saying: “It’s time to heal a nation divided by racism.”

In the next frame, Johannes Leak’s cartoon shows Biden, standing in front of Kamala Harris, saying: “So I’ll hand you over to this little brown girl while I go take a lie down.”

This was enough to enrage Kevin Rudd who, engaging twitter before first engaging brain, ranted: “So how on earth does Murdoch editor Chris Dore justify publishing a racist and sexist cartoon about a US Senator who is likely to be the next Vice-President of the US? Murdoch is a Trump mouthpiece. But this is gross even by Murdoch’s gutter standards.”

Fair shake of the sauce bottle, Mr Rudd. It’s a miracle you were able to run the country for even an hour when you evidently cannot comprehend a simple cartoon.

The cartoon was not mocking Kamala Harris. Harris was not even its object. Leak’s clever cartoon used Joe Biden’s own words to point out how racist and sexist Joe Biden was.


Yes. It was Biden who said, after selecting Harris as his running mate, that: “This morning, little girls woke up across this nation — especially Black and Brown girls who so often may feel overlooked and undervalued in our society — potentially seeing themselves in a new way: As the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents.”

Joe “if you don’t vote for me you ain’t black” Biden has a long history of racial and sexual gaffes. This was merely the most recent and Leak rightly called it out.

But of course, Mr Rudd knows all of this. The real outrage is Mr Rudd’s caricature of the Australian public – whom he believes to be so stupid they will mistake his faux outrage for moral virtue.

Even worse, Mr Rudd manipulates the public’s genuine concerns about racism in a bid to mobilise them for his own ends – his personal vendetta against News Limited whom he blames for his failed prime ministership. Er, prime ministerships.

Not to be out-virtued, other Labor and ABC figures (but I repeat myself) joined in.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus tweeted from on high: “If The Australian has any respect for decency and standards it must apologise immediately, and never again publish cartoons like this.”

Sure, sure Mr Dreyfus.

When Joe Biden told a black radio host that if blacks didn’t vote for him they weren’t black, you were silent. When Joe Biden said that “poor kids are just as talented as white kids”, you were silent. When Joe Biden described Barrack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean” you were silent.

But when a cartoon in The Australian points out Biden’s racism you suddenly find your anti-racist voice by screaming “racist” at The Australian, and thinking we are fool enough to take you seriously.

What is indecent is your cynical manipulation of the public conscience; trying to leverage our genuine concerns about racism for your political point-scoring. Everyone who has ever been the victim of actual racism ought to be appalled at civic leaders engaged in such cynical antics.

Fellow Labor MP Andrew Leigh tweeted: “Racism has no place in Australian public life. The Australian should pull today’s offensive cartoon off their website, and issue an immediate apology.”

Issue an immediate apology for what? For quoting the 2020 Democratic nominee?

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland, referring to the cartoon, tweeted: “I feel really sorry for those good journalists when their stories appear in the same paper as this. Shameful.”

The rest of us just feel sorry that our taxes go towards a national broadcaster that doesn’t even pretend to be fair-minded; employing journalists who prefer to massage the news than report it.

Illustration: Johannes Leak/The Australian.

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