Serena Williams & The Demonizing of Black Emotions
It’s nothing new that Serena Williams has been pissing off racists for as long as she’s been great. Serena has always been recognized as a tennis legend but seems to me in the past few years her visibility and image as grown a lot and along with that, the racism and misogyny she’s had to endure. Every time I turn around, there is a new story about how white people are mad because Serena Williams is just better than their white favs. There is always some white man or woman, tennis player or not, media outlet, someone, talking shit about Serena. They downplay her accomplishments, they make fun of her body and skin color, they pretend like she’s coasting on luck, bash her for having a white husband, and just find any possible reason to make up a story to dismiss her.
Recently, reports came out that Serena, who has no history of drug use, was being “randomly” drug tested more than twice the amount of times all the other tennis players in the league have been.
At the French Open, she was banned from wearing a uniform that was designed to help prevent blood clots, and they made up a rule to ban that too. A rule that did not exist prior and barred her from where a medically necessary piece of clothing.
This week, the big news story takes place at the U.S. Open where she tried to defend herself to the umpire who accused her of cheating.
This incident has sparked a very long week of think pieces and conversations about the treatment of women, specifically black women, in sports. People of pointed out how male tennis players have done far worse and did not receive the same punishment or scrutiny.
Even this lovely Jim Crow era cartoon was published in Australia’s The Herald Sun.
Yes, this was published in 2018…
Listen—I am exhausted. I am tired on behalf of Serena, but also just has a black woman in general. This is a problem that goes deeper than just Serena Williams. There’s a saying that says “black people have to work twice as hard to get half as much recognition”. While that’s true, black women have a extra layer because we’re women AND black. We have to work 10 times as hard to be dismissed anyways.
I am so tired of black people being demonized for displaying regular human emotions, for doing things that normal people do, for thing that would be ignored, dismissed or accepted if we were white. The thing that really grinds me gears about this “angry” narrative” surrounding Serena, is that she wasn’t even displaying hostile anger, at all. I was actually surprised at how cool and collected she was when she addressed the umpire. Serena was screaming or threatening him, she didn’t chuck a knife at his face, she addressed him to let him know he was wrong and when he didn’t listen he asked for the referees to step in. Black women are always gaslighted into being angry whenever we stand up for ourselves. I even get this from other black people, black men in particular. Nobody wants to see women actually live and think for themselves.
I mean I know tennis expert but how else are you supposed you handle that situation? So if you’re accused of cheating, but you didn’t, are you just supposed to shut up and accept it?
Furthermore people such as this racist cartoonist, Mark Knight, are trying to change the story to her being angry and “throwing a tantrum” about not winning. This was never about not winning. Serena has lost many times before, and she does so gracefully. All of this took place before she even lost. They are using Serena to try and villainize black people and our emotions. They have even tried to blame her for the overshadowing of her opponent, Naomi Osaka’s win. It was interesting to me how so many people tried to pretend that Naomi who is Japanese and Haitian, isn’t also black like Serena. Like in this cartoon, she’s drawn as a white woman with blonde hair. I fully believe this and these similar narratives are being done to try and paint Serena as a big black brute who just loves to destroy young girls’ dreams and throw fits when she loses. Like Naomi is a white woman in distress who needs protection from the big scary black lady.
The way this narrative surronding black women like Serena Williams and Maxine Waters has been covered, just really reminds me of how minstrel shows and black caricatures were used to push these images and stereotypes about black people to the public so they would believe that black people really did need to be slaves or locked up.
Like honestly, spot the difference and let me know where they’re at, because I don’t see a difference.
Black people have to deal with so much shit. We’re being stabbed on trains and police are “accidently” breaking into our own houses and killing us, yet if we show any form of a emotion that isn’t blatantly happy and jovial, all the sudden were thugs, criminals, brutes, sassy, angry and every other negative adjective y’all has reserved for black people. Meanwhile Tad and Susie-Q can scream at everyone, break things, throw things, hit people, hell even kill people, and everyone just shrugs it off and goes about their day.
I’m tired, and I am angry and we have every right to be. I’m tired of being policed, I’m tired of being dismissed, tired of every move I make being under a white microscope of This is why I don’t have the time or energy to “be nice” to white people. I don’t have the energy to coddle white people and make sure they receive the realities of racism nicely. No, I’m not doing that. Find someone else to do it for you, but I shall not be the one.
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