Ethnic diversity cartoon

ethnic diversity cartoon


The cartoon shows a lecture about the desirability of ethnic diversity. Almost the whole audience is white.

The inspiration for this cartoon came from the phrase that performers at some events use when describing the audience as ‘a sea of white faces’.
Of course the audience at some events may be predominantly white because that reflects the ethnic mix of the locality or because of the differing interests of different ethnic and cultural groups, however sometimes it is a result of issues around discrimination concerning opportunities and access, as is implied in this cartoon.
A cartoon about race, racism, bame issues, discrimination, unconscious discrimination, cultural discrimination, racial bias.
Drawn: 8th Sept 2020
Cartoon reference number: a843

Cartoon – what art is offensive?

Offensive art cartoon

To what extent should art galleries reflect contemporary concerns?

A cartoon about changing the exhibits in art galleries and museums to reflect contemporary society and to avoid offence.

It’s quite common in art galleries that exhibit contemporary art for the art to reflect contemporary concerns (or at least the contemporary concerns that concern the art world).
This cartoon shows a historical artwork being judged by contemporary mores (or rather, the mores of a particular sector of society that embraces ‘woke’ values).
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a841

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon

Cartoon about pressure not to conform.

The term code switching is usually interpreted as as the phenomenon of altering one’s behaviour in order to conform with a social group.

In this cartoon the pressure is to be nonconformist and unconventional.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a839

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon.

A cartoon about the concept of code switching.

Code switching in its current definition is the phenomenon of a person changing their behaviour in order to fit in with other people. It’s often used when people of a minority culture alter their behaviour in order to fit in with a majority culture.
Code switching is often interpreted as something that people shouldn’t really have to do, as it stops them being themselves.
This cartoon illustrates an example of when code switching would be a very good thing.
Code switching is in many ways a rebranding of the normal social activity of modifying one’s behaviour in different social settings. It is currently viewed by some people as a bad thing partly because of the current philosophy that you should “be yourself”.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a837

Code switching cartoon – from working class to a class at Oxbridge

working class code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon.

A cartoon about the concept of code switching.

The current usage of the term code switching refers to the action of people changing their behaviour when they are in different cultural settings, usually in order to blend in. In this sense it is most often used with reference to ethnic minority people who are interacting in predominantly white social groups.
The cartoon illustrates a relatively less well remarked upon example of code switching, which is when white working class people need to blend in with white people from higher social classes, here exemplified by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In education the working classes tend to have lower attainment levels than other classes as a result of social discrimination.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a836

You can be whoever you want to be – cartoon

You can be whoever you want to be – cartoon

A flaw in the aspirational concept of “You can be whoever you want to be”.

The cartoon illustrates a problem with the currently popular encouragement to schoolchildren that when they grow up they can be whoever they want to be.
The aspirational, motivational expression makes the assumption that everyone will strive for a worthy goal. I don’t think this is necessarily the case.
In fact the concept gives people license to aim towards whatever they desire, which wouldn’t be a good thing.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a835

The blame game – cartoon

I blame you cartoon

The blame game – cartoon.

A cartoon showing a protester with a banner proclaiming “I blame you”.

The cartoon is about people who need to place the blame for things on other people rather than on circumstances. This includes blaming people for their attitudes rather than analysing the circumstances that make people hold those attitudes.
A cartoon about protestors, political demonstrations, guilt.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a830b

Diversity cartoon – inclusion and employment policy

workplace diversity inclusion cartoon

Diversity cartoon – inclusion in the workplace.

A cartoon about diversity policy in employment and in recruitment.

The cartoon shows an interviewer in an organisation’s hr department interviewing a man. The interviewer is saying that her organisation promotes a policy of diversity and inclusion, however the policy doesn’t extend to the man being interviewed.
Diversity policies that are aimed at reducing discrimination tend to be targeted at race, gender and sexual orientation. This frequently puts white working class males at a disadvantage, partly because they do not belong to a recognised disadvantaged group under the UK government’s 2010 Equality Act and partly because they do not have enough points under the concept of intersectionality.
Drawn: 19th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a821
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Cancel culture cartoon

Woke cancel culture cartoon

A cartoon about cancel culture and historical thought crimes.

This cartoon is about the current (2020) phenomenon of cancel culture. This is the concept by which a person is ostracized or shunned if they are judged to hold unapproved views or have attitudes that run counter to those of the arbiters of what are acceptable views. It is a subsection of woke culture.

Cancel culture is responsible for such phenomena as no platforming, where people with proscribed views are denied the ability to put their views forward for debate, particularly in universities.
It is often applied to people based on attitudes that they held in the past. By this criterium practically everyone on the planet should be cancelled, which is one of the points of this cartoon. The saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” comes to mind.
Cancel culture is often applied to historical figures from several centuries ago, particularly (at the moment) to those involved in some way in the transatlantic slave trade, and is manifested in the current campaigns to remove statues.
Cancel culture can be viewed as having a stifling effect on culture and debate, with its, to me, zealously censorious woke attitudes and its Orwellian implications.

Drawn: 7th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a815
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Popular culture caricaturing of race and gender cartoon

Racist & sexist demeaning caricatures cartoon

A cartoon about racist & sexist demeaning caricatures.

This cartoon is about changing attitudes to race and gender in popular culture.
The cartoon shows someone watching the tv programme The Black and White Minstrel Show in 1975, and someone else watching RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2020.
The cartoon draws attention to the jolly, pantomime portrayal of black men in the first show and of women in the second, and tries to make the point that while the cartoonish portrayal of black men in black face is now deemed unacceptable, the caricaturing of women as over-sexualised grotesques (similar to glamourised pantomime dames) is currently promoted in some parts of society as celebratory and ‘fun’.

The Black and White Minstrel Show was an extremely popular programme in the 1960s. I was a child at the time, and even I liked it, despite the fact that I was of an the age at which Top of the Pops was essential viewing. It was considered to be harmless family entertainment. The show was on the tv during a time of rapid social change, including a large increase in the black population of some parts of Britain, so by the mid 1970s the show was viewed in a different light and was finally discontinued because of its outdated attitudes.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a contemporary (2020) manifestation of part of lgbtq culture.

Drawn: 6th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a814
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Enlightenment entitlement cartoon

Enlightenment entitlement cartoon

From the Enlightenment to entitlement – cartoon.

The cartoon shows a person in the Age of Enlightenment pondering on the fact that the earth revolves round the sun.
Another person, from the current Age of Entitlement meanwhile thinks that “The world revolves round me”.

A cartoon about the contemporary age of identity politics, entitlement and solipsism and self-centred world views.
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a852

Culture wars cartoon – race and science in universities

culture wars cartoon universities race and science

Culture wars cartoon – race and science in universities.

Culture wars are raging in universities and academic institutions across the western world. They are raging elsewhere too, but the culture wars in, say, the Islamic world, are different to the ones in the west.
The west’s culture wars often circle around subjects such as race and gender and identity politics that exist within the ‘woke’ analysis of culture.

At the time of drawing this cartoon the subject of race is very much to the fore, with movements such as BLM (Black Lives Matter) having a very high profile.
In academia many subjects in the social sciences are currently analysed through the perspective of critical race theory (CRT).
This cartoon illustrates a tendency to apply critical race theory to subjects where it has no relevance or where its relevance is overstated.
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a849

The outcome of multiple conditions on opportunity – intersectionality illustration

intersectionality cartoon

The outcome of multiple life conditions on opportunity and outcome – intersectionality cartoon

This illustration was drawn for Marxism Today magazine in the mid 1980s.
It features a machine into which babies enter at the top and adults leave at the bottom.
The machine represents the workings of society, with tubes and pipes representing functions such as education, class, race, gender etc.
The adults leaving the machine have all been filtered through the various parts of the machine to produce different types of people. The types of people are produced to suit the conditions and needs of society.
The illustration could be interpreted as being about what is now called intersectionality (although it was drawn in about 1984 or 1985, before the term intersectionality was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw).

Drawn: mid 1980s
Cartoon reference number: a845
intersectionality cartoon

A detail of the illustration

Hate crime cartoon or hate speech cartoon

Hate speech cartoon - hate crime cartoon

Hate speech cartoon or hate crime cartoon.

A comment on the fact that the UK laws around hate crime and hate speech only apply to actions or comments directed at people because they are members of a number of five specific groups. Expressions of hatred on account of a person’s colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability are forbidden. Amongst other things the categories don’t include class, which I find intriguing, meaning that calling a working class person riff-raff is okay!

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a838

The “post truth” society

Cartoon about ignoring the truth in favour of prejudice

Post truth cartoon or conspiracy theory cartoon.

Truth and facts being ignored in favour of emotional or prejudiced viewpoints.

The concept of ignoring the facts when reaching a decision about something, and letting the heart rather than the head rule, seems to be a phenomenon that’s on the rise. It has recently been labelled ‘post truth’.
In the cartoon I’ve linked it to the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, which are frequently used as a way of justifying irrational or unproven ideas.
The rise of post truth tendencies is said to be linked to people’s increasing use of social media via phones and electronic media and the tendency for internet algorithms to send people only information that they already agree with – however the tendency has always been there in the way that people purchase newspapers that agree with their political and other views.
It may also be linked to the current mistrust of experts.
Cartoon reference number: a756

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Museum and art gallery deaccessioning cartoon due to student grievance

student protest cartoon

A cartoon about hypercritical student attitudes demanding the removal (deaccessioning) of artworks from galleries.

A cartoon about woke culture and the trend for students’ grievances and dissatisfactions to be translated into action, such as in the form no platforming or the demands for statues of out-of-favour people to be removed.

The action is often seen by some as self-righteous, self-indulgent, censorious and intolerant (ironically, as the students often think that they are acting for the greater benefit of others).
The cartoon shows the danger of the students adopting a feeling of over-entitlement and thus taking their attitudes out into the wider world beyond their colleges.
The inspiration for this image was a news story about students disapproving of a sculpture by Henry Moore, and demanding that it wasn’t displayed on their university campus.

The cartoon was drawn in 2016, but it seems even more relevant in 2020 with the woke culture on the ascendency. There are lots of statue removing campaigns going on at the moment (August, 2020) and there’s a bit of a campaign to have a mural by Rex Whistler in Tate Britain removed because a detail of it depicts a black person in chains.
In 2018 a painting, Hylas and the Nymphs by J W Waterhouse, was removed temporarily from Manchester Art Gallery as part of an art event by Sonia Boyce as a comment on what some people view as inappropriate art for the modern age.

Drawn: 2016

Cartoon reference: a734
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Vinyl records – a fashionable music format for the 21st century.

music formats - vinyl - hipsters

A hipster explaining to his father that modern young people listen to music on vinyl – as though it’s a new format that older people wouldn’t understand.

This cartoon is about the way that young people often feel superior to older people because older people aren’t necessarily up to date with technology.

The cartoon is about the psychology of youth – about the way that young people often fail to appreciate the fact that their modern world was created by people who went before them.
The fact that the music format being used is an old fashioned or retro format, while the young person in the cartoon still feels superior to the man who grew up with the technology, is part of the joke about youth setting itself up as superior to age.
The young person in the cartoon is a hipster – a youth sub-culture of the 2010s.
It’s a cartoon about the generation gap.

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Cultural infantilisation cartoon

Infantilisation cartoon

A cartoon about infantilisation in modern society.

An animal hat worn by an adult.

A cartoon showing an adult wearing a hat with an animal face on it. These hats are currently very popular for small children. There is a tendency for these animal hats to be adopted by young (and not so young) adults, usually female.
The person is reading a sociology book that is a critique of the trend towards the infantilisation of culture.
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A chess board as a metaphor for conflict resolution – cartoon

Chess as a metaphor for conflict resolution

A chessboard on which the chess pieces are not only black and white but are also shades of grey.

The idea of the cartoon is that conflict occurs when things are seen in black and white or when people are polarised in outlook. With shades of gray or nuances of opinion conflict is less likely – specifically as on the chessboard in the illustration.

The cartoon is a comment on the fact that people tend to analyse things in black and white, as “either/or” or in binary.

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The psychology of special offers – cartoon

cartoon - a misleading special offer in a supermarket

A joke showing people being deceived by a special offer in a shop.

The customers see a sign with the special offer of “Two for the price of Three’ and they automatically think that this is a good deal due to the way that the offer is framed (interpreting it in the same way as “Two for the price of three”).
A cartoon about marketing, persuasion, selling, manipulation, misleading offers.

Drawn: 2009

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Cartoon about celebrities (and audiences) getting old.

cartoon - celebrity looking old

Cartoon of an elderly man commenting that a celebrity is looking old.


The man is remembering what the celebrity looked like when the man himself was younger, and is forgetting that he is the same age as the celebrity.

The celebrity in the cartoon is Harrison Ford.
A cartoon about aging, denial, youth.
Cartoon reference number: h695
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Cartoon about art and gender – sculpture depicting traditional gender roles of men and women

feminist art cartoon - gender in art

go to art cartoon book

Cartoon showing a controversial depiction of men and women in contemporary art

Cartoon depiction of gender in modern art.
Sculpture titled “Man and Woman” where the woman is a washing-up brush and the man is a hammer.

The cartoon is an illustration of the standard’ male and female gender roles, where men perform hard physical tasks and women perform domestic chores such as washing up.
Part of the joke in the cartoon is that the concept of the male and female roles depicted in the sculpture are extremely conservative, so this particular work of art is controversial because of its conservatism rather than because of radicalism (which is the usual reason why modern art is controversial).
Of course the art work may be a piece of feminist art which is pointing out and questioning the standard gender roles in society. Feminism and art are meant to be the two themes of the cartoon.
I particularly like the fact that the hammer representing masculinity is hard while the washing-up brush representing femininity is soft. Very much caricatures or cliches of gender characteristics.
The sculpture depicted owes something to Marcel Duchamp, Dada and the use of ‘ready-mades’ in works of art.
Cartoon reference number: a156

Neurological or genetic causes of criminality – cartoon

neurological or genetic causes of criminality - cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
Neurological origins of behavioural traits
Neurocriminology and its implications

A cartoon about the possibility that criminal behaviour or deviant behaviour may sometimes (or often) have its roots in a person’s biology.
The idea that personality may be determined by biology is one aspect of the nature v nurture debate, and has implications for the concept of free will

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.

The cartoon illustrates the tendency of criminal lawyers to sometimes claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna or neurological makeup are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the person’s dna or neurology.

The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Philosophy Now magazine

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Team building cartoon – “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'”

no i in team

Teamwork or management cartoon
There’s No ‘I’ in ‘team’

An illustration about group psychology and team dynamics.
It suggests that while a group or team may be important, it’s also important not to suppress the individual too much (as individuals are usually more creative than groups)

This cartoon is suitable for publications about motivation, or in presentations about group dynamics or by motivational speakers.

It’s also a image about questioning authority, questioning established viewpoints and about individualism

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Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure

lemmings cliff follow leader cartoon

Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure

A cartoon showing lemmings jumping off a cliff

One of the lemmings is warning against following a leader – “Never trust an authority figure – and definitely don’t follow one.”
This isn’t a cartoon warning about all authority figures, or all forms of following – after all, we need a bit of respect in our society. It’s a cartoon about blind allegiance and where it can take you, especially when the person who is being followed has his head turned by power
Cartoon reference number: a536
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Altruism cartoon.

mindless violence and mindless altruism cartoon

Altruism cartoon. Mindless violence and mindless altruism.
The evolution of altruism

A cartoon about the emergence of altruism in nature.

The cartoon shows prehistoric men or cave men fighting. Another prehistoric man is rushing to the scene of the violence to care for the wounded. Yet another caveman is wondering about the evolution of altruism as a personality trait.
Cartoon reference number: a535

Anti-vax cartoon

vaccination cartoon anti-vax

Anti-vax cartoon

A cartoon about anti-vaxxers and anti-vax conspiracy theories.
Anti-vax conspiracy theories are common at the time of writing (2020).
This cartoon however was drawn in 2007 (I think) for a BBC science magazine for an article about vaccine scare hysteria created by media driven hysteria over health issues. I think that was traditional media in those days, not social media as it would be now.
The cartoon shows a doctor looking at a hyperdermic syringe and thinking “One of the side effects of this vaccine will be a hysterical reaction in the media.”

A joke about medicine, doctors, hypodermic syringes, vaccinations, anti-vax, anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theories.

Cartoon drawn: 2007

Cartoon reference number: a530
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Consumer society cartoon

baby walker cartoon

Consumerism cartoon

A cartoon about child development and shopping.
This joke was inspired by seeing children’s toys such as brightly coloured radios with words printed on them such as “My First Radio”

A humorous idea about nature or nurture, social attitudes, capitalism and social conditioning.
The expression “Born to shop” comes to mind

Cartoon reference number: a473

Life as a game of chess – cartoon

chess piece as hats - cartoon

Life as a game of chess – cartoon

Showing a chess board on which people are standing, with chess pieces on their heads like hats

A slightly surreal cartoon about chess. The concept is that life is a game of chess, and we are all players

It’s also about life strategies, competitiveness, power struggles, inter-human dynamics, interpersonal politics, sociology, game theory.

Cartoon reference number: a426

Quotation about pedants

humorous quote about pedants

A humorous quotation about pedantry
“I’m not a pedant (in the strict definition of the term)
The quote is my own

A typography-based image showing a funny quote about pedants

The humour is in the fact that only a pedant would qualify their lack of pedantry as quoted here
Ref: a632

Thinking, Fast and Slow – a tortoise and hare Cartoon

tortoise and hare thinking fast and slow cartoon

Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Tortoise and Hare Cartoon

A cartoon of the tortoise and hare from Aesop’s fables.
The hare is reading the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, is about the theory that the cognitive functions of the brain operate in two distinct systems, one that operates impulsively and on reflect and one that operates on a more thoughtful and considered level. Both are necessary for survival, with the impulsive system making the snap decisions that are needed to keep you out of trouble.
In my cartoon the tortoise (representing the fast, impulsive part of the brain) is sitting on the back of the tortoise, with the implication that it’s trying to be a bit less impulsive and a bit more thoughtful.

A cartoon about psychology, evolutionary psychology, the mind, fables.

Cartoon reference number: a344

How to communicate with men – talk balls

communicate with men - cartoon

Cartoon: how to communicate with men – talk balls

A joke about male obsession with sport, especially sports that involve balls

A humorous comment aon the communication gap between men and women.
The cartoon is also a criticism of some women’s dismissive attitudes to male interests.

Thie cartoon deals with issues concerning gender differences, gender specific interests, hobbies, women’s view of men, feminist’s attitude to men, feminism, male stereotypes, stereotyping, sports fans

Cartoon reference number: a343

Questioning authority – illustration

questioning authority cartoon

Questioning authority – cartoon.
A student questioning the authority of a lecturer

Cartoon showing a lecture on politics authority

A joke about authority, questioning, totalitarianism, anarchy, anarchism, authority figures

The joke is that the student is questioning the authority of a lecturer who is telling the audience to question authority.
This illustration first appeared in BBC Knowledge magazine.

Cartoon reference number: a332

You’re never alone when you’ve got a phone – cartoon

You're never alone when you've got a phone - cartoon

Mobile phone cartoon. Cell phone cartoon.
You’re never alone when you’ve got a phone – cartoon

A cartoon showing a person sitting alone with a mobile phone on the table.

The cartoon is an observation about people who place their phones on the table when they are on their own, to signal to other people that they have friends
A cartoon about mobile phones, cell phones,social media,loneliness,solitary people,communication.

Cartoon reference number: a324
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Cartoon showing a procession of people following each other in a circle

cartoon following each other in circle

Cartoon showing a procession of people following each other in a circle.

A cartoon that is possibly about lack of leadership and lack of direction within groups, or on a larger social scale possibly about inward looking insular societies, restrictive religious, social or cultural traditions that stifle thought and progress.

A cartoon about leadership, followers, leaders, following like sheep, insularity, conservatism, orthodoxy, narrow mindedness.

Cartoon reference number: a051
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Cartoon. A possible drawback of ‘Follow the Leader’


Cartoon showing two people following each other, and as a result going round in circles.

A cartoon that is possibly about lack of leadership and possibly about lack of direction.

A cartoon about leadership, followers, leaders, following like sheep, insularity, conservatism, orthodoxy, narrow mindedness.

Cartoon reference number: a050
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Cartoon about statistics, statistical probability and statistical bias

statistics cartoon - probability

Cartoon about statistics, statistical probability, statistical bias and unreliable statistical surveys.

A cartoon showing a person collecting statistics but deliberately ignoring a statistic that doesn’t fit with his preconceived bias as to what the results should be.

A cartoon about unreliable statistical analysis, including such things as self-selecting groups, observer bias, prejudice.
A cartoon about statistical data collection and biased analysis.
Cartoon reference number: a035
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