Reflection on William Heath’s cartoon, “Offended Dignity.”

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Previously, provocative cartoons may be featured in publications with no repercussions for the artists. This may be due to the fact that those who were persecuted in the past lacked a forum, making it impossible for them to take initiative while exposed to some sort of embarrassment. However, there are many human rights organizations that deal with religion, gender, ethnicity, race, and other topics, and they serve as watchdogs on the issues they address. As a result, a cartoon like Offended Integrity cannot be published without a lawsuit. If this occurs now, there will almost certainly be a complaint, a rally, or a media uproar. It is much risky to publish offensive materials today than it was in the 19th century.

This Cartoon by William Heath makes a satirical joke about the status of black slaves in the British West Indies. Through the cartoon, Heath makes fun of the clothing worn by the central characters who are a man and a woman dressed in conspicuous clothing. He refers to their clothing as “ball dresses.” Heath’s reasonable voice seems to be through the black man who is trying to explain to his counterparts about the brutality of slavery. The man appears to be enlightened since he is holding a newspaper “Westminster Review.” However, the lady is in disagreement with him and argues that slavery is not cruel. Moreover, Heath makes his satirical point that slavery should have been abolished by 1808 but across the British Empire, it was abolished in 1833. This cartoon was very offensive to slaves who were of African origin. This sort of insulting language and offensive satire cannot make it in contemporary newspapers today.

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