Two Cartoons: Two Points of View

The first cartoon by Sharon Murdoch shows a woman with white skin covering her children’s faces and turning them away from a dark-skinned woman as she exclaims “Don’t look, my darlings!”.

It was published in 2014 as a comment on the Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills saying that New Zealand needed a plan to tackle child poverty and that child poverty was ignored by much of society and needed to be brought to the public’s attention at every opportunity.

The cartoon’s message is that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, action is needed.

Some could argue that the cartoon makes a ‘racist’ assumption that white-skinned people are not affected by child poverty and that dark-skinned people are. Others might argue that due to white privilege it makes a relevant point that white-skinned people are ignoring the fact that mainly dark-skinned people are affected by child poverty and are doing nothing to help.

Cartoon credit: SonovaMin

The second cartoon by SonovaMin and published in 2019 is split into two scenes. The left-hand side is drawn during the day and shows a woman with white skin leaving a house carrying a baby with dark skin to a car labelled Oranga Tamariki with the heading “Child uplift.” On the right-hand side it shows the same house at night time with an ambulance parked outside with the light flashing. The heading in the middle reads ” Present Options.”

Some could argue that the cartoon makes a ‘racist’ assumption that dark-skinned people are the ones most likely to have their children removed from them for the child’s safety and that white-skinned people are the ones taking their children away. Others might argue that the cartoon makes a relevant point that if action is not taken then Oranga Tamariki is allowing child abuse and even murder to take place when they know that the family are unfit caregivers.

The cartoon’s message is that Oranga Tamariki has only two unpalatable choices. Action or inaction.

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