What about demographic representation?

South African politics can be amusing and it can also be surprising what upsets people. The new big controversy has been a cartoon published by Eye Witness News which has been condemned as racist. Even more ridiculous, the ANC actually claims the cartoon undermines the democratic process. Sure, it’s going to upset some people but it’s hardly undermining democracy.

COSATU claims that the cartoon is racist because it “falsely portrayed ANC voting ‘clowns’ as exclusively black.” I’m not aware of any official breakdown of party support by race but IPSOS did a breakdown of voter support before the elections that suggested 96% of ANC supporters are black. If that’s true, and there are four characters representing the ANC voters, then 3,84 of them should be black. That rounds up to four, exactly what was drawn. And COSATU wants numbers to represent demographics, as they said here in November 2013.

The cartoon is commentary that reflects the cartoonist’s views of the political situation. His decision to depict the people voting for the ANC as black seems to be supported by the available evidence. The cartoon is targeting party affiliation, which happens to be strongly correlated with race, but that does not make it racist.


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