A political cartoon by Journal de Montréal artist Ygreck has been causing outrage since it was released yesterday afternoon. The cartoon depicts Jody Wilson-Raybould, former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, knocking out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
The blowback does not come from this message. People are commenting on the way the cartoonist chose to depict Wilson-Raybould in stereotypical indigenous clothing, grossly misrepresenting her in the process.
TL;DR A cartoon depicting Jody Wilson-Raybould knocking Justin Trudeau out has caused outrage over its misrepresentation of the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada.
I would like to get one thing clear. Political satire is indeed designed to outrage. Cartoons are indeed supposed to be, well, cartoonish.
Many cartoonists ridicule politicians, and make them look dumb. No cartoon is obliged to be absolutely true to life. That would defeat the point of a cartoon.
Cartoon figures should, on the other hand, be instantly recognisable. The images should be funny and pointed but also sensitive to the manner in which they depict their subjects. This is where this cartoon missed the mark.
The cartoon depicts Wilson-Raybould in what appears to be incorrect, stereotypical indigenous clothing. According to one commenter, the tomahawk and feathers that she sports in the cartoon are not at all associated with the Kwakwaka'wakw people of which Wilson-Raybould is part.
In fact, Wilson-Raybould rarely sports traditional clothing at all.
This reduces all Indigenous people to the same stereotype. There are many other ways that she could have been depicted, but the cartoonist unnecessarily chose to draw her in under-researched attire. As one commenter on Facebook put it: "Now think how awesome this toon woulda been if she was portrayed as a MMA fighter. Still woulda got the political parody across. Without the fucking racism."
Many people were upset over this poor choice of imagery:
The Journal de Montreal's editorial cartoonist must have earned their artistic license in the 1970s. In depicting @Puglaas, @ygreck has nailed all the key belittling #indigenous #stereotypes:— Stanley Q Woodvine (@sqwabb) March 1, 2019
Beaded deerskin ✓
And a hearty Anishinaabe fuck you to @JdeMontreal for their piss-poor attempt at an editorial cartoon today.— Walking Eagle News (@TheEagleist) March 1, 2019
Lack of wit, fell back on crude racial tropes.— Lesley Wimbush (@LeadfootLesley) March 1, 2019