Satire is the genre of the oppressed; in the hands of the oppressor, it is propaganda

Satire at its best is the genre of the oppressed because it reverses power relations by ridiculing & mocking the oppressors. But a twisted form of satire in political cartoons is often used as a weapon of racism & misogyny. In US history, cartooning is filled with racism–all the way up to Pickaninny cartoons which were ubiquitous until the civil rights movement. Pickaninny cartoons portrayed Black infants hanging with one arm from a twig over a crocodile pit. It never tired of such malignancy. It doesn’t get creepier or more racist & hateful than that. Cartoons are still up to their eyeballs in the sexist portrayal of women.

As Daumier & so many other political cartoonists have shown, caricature is a powerful weapon against injustice & tyranny. Kashmiri cartoonists like Mir Suhail & others use it to skewer the violence of the occupation. Hopefully more young artists around the world will take up political cartooning & turn it into a weapon for the oppressed.