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Serena Williams isn’t the Bad Guy

The Problem We Don't Talk About

Rayna Hayward, Staff Writer

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As a young African American girl in America, I can relate all too well to the anger that Serena Williams must be feeling right now. It hurts to see the idol that I’d spent most of my life looking up to, dismissed as just another “Angry Black Woman”. The mistreatment of black women in America must stop.






Just ask yourself, would a man have been treated the way Serena was if he had done the same thing? No, he wouldn’t have. There have been multiple instances where angry men have argued with the same umpire and haven’t lost any points or been docked any points during a game. Take Nick Kyrgios, for example, during one of his games he got into an argument with an umpire and at one point he told him that his umping was “F-ing Bulls-t”. Why didn’t he receive a point penalty for that? Or, for example, when Andy Murray kicked a ball at an umpire’s head. Why didn’t this result in a docked game? I would think that what Murray did was a much bigger problem than being called a thief (and rightly so) by Serena Williams. Even if their comments were on the same level, if Kyrgios and Djokovic didn’t receive any penalties, why should Serena? What is so different between these two incidents that caused one player to be punished when the other wasn’t?

We all know the answer to that question. Serena was docked points and a game because she’s a successful black woman living in America. Can’t we just for once forget about color. Let’s ignore all of the racism that was included in the injustice that was committed against Williams and just focus on the issue of sexism in professional tennis. It happens again and again and nothing has changed. Professional tennis has always been against women. There is a huge pay gap between men and women, and women are always held to a higher standard than men. Alize Cornet was fined this past August for changing her shirt when male players have been taking their shirts off (with nothing on underneath I might add) for years.                                              Andy Murray –>

Serena Williams  was targeted at the French Open for wearing a Catsuit that covers way more than any tiny tennis skirt. Why is it that female players are always forced to play by male rules?

We can’t win. Women are harassed every day at school and at work for being “too revealing” or “distracting”, but as soon as Serena Williams covers herself up from her neck to her feet she’s “inappropriate” and “disrespectful to the game”. While we’re on the topic of dress code, can we talk about how they are only in place to dehumanize and punish girls for daring to have normal body parts? I am sick and tired of reading stories about girls getting kicked out of class and work because of what they’re wearing. It’s 2018. The systematic oppression of women in America has to stop.

I believe that what makes the situation with Serena even worse isn’t just the fact that she’s a woman, it’s the fact that she was targeted and is now being made fun of because she’s a black woman. This is evident in all of the racist comments and articles that are circulating about the incident. On Monday, Australian newspaper The Herald Sun published a cartoon about the scandal. It featured Serena Williams as a hideous stereotypical black woman. The artist made sure not to forget the abnormally large lips or the large bust and hips that are the spitting image of the Mammy caricature that was prevalent during slavery and through the Jim Crow era. He also made sure to draw her opponent as a slender, blonde woman with fair skin, even though Naomi Osaka is Haitian and Japanese.    

Black women receive so much hate in this country for the way we dress to the way we do our hair to the way we are named. America is determined to make us feel bad about ourselves. From a young age our bodies are hypersexualized and our personalities are characterized as aggressive. I am tired of having my feelings invalidated because I’m “overreacting” or having to put a smile on my face all the time for fear that I’ll come off as “rude” , “disrespectful” or “hostile”. Essence magazine took a survey in which 80% of African American women admitted to changing how their personalities at work to “make colleagues feel more comfortable”. We shouldn’t have to do that. Black women should be able to go to work and not worry about losing their jobs because we don’t look happy enough. We shouldn’t be afraid of not getting a job at an interview because our name is “too ghetto” or “unprofessional”.

So no, Serena Williams wasn’t “having a meltdown” or overreacting”. She wasn’t “being irrational” and she certainly isn’t just another Angry Black Woman. Serena Williams was mistreated so she stood up for herself and she shouldn’t be punished for that. There are a lot of changes that need to be made in professional sports regarding the treatment of women and  I and truly looking forward to the day when women are treated fairly.




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2 Responses to “Serena Williams isn’t the Bad Guy”

  1. Kristian Wayne on September 24th, 2018 5:58 pm

    I completely agree and can appreciate the revelation in this article. Prior to this I hadn’t really paid any mind to (or noticed) this conflict or the obvious day to day mistreatment of Black women. With more exposures like this, things will have to change.

  2. Eduardo Sagrero on January 22nd, 2019 2:40 pm

    Serena wasn’t docked a point and the game because she’s “a successful black woman living in America” No. she was docked that point and game because her coach did a hand gesture towards Serena and the umpire saw it and construed it as coaching. which can be penalized. The coach himself said that he was coaching on a ESPN interview. “I was coaching, but I don’t think [Serena] looked at me. [Osaka’s] coach was coaching the whole time, too. Everyone is doing it, 100 percent of the time.”and when the umpire pointed it out she was given a warning and the game continued, but after a while goes to the umpire arguing with him and telling him she’s not a cheater. she then loses another game and breaks her racquet. It’s a childish move and breaking the racket is a rule violation and that makes it the second rule violation so she loses a point.she then approaches the umpire again complaining. “i didn’t get coaching…”.like i said before the coach himself said he was coaching. she kept saying the umpire owes her an apology even though she clearly broke the rules.Throughout all of the yelling Serena made he never lost his patience. He didn’t make it a big deal then Serena takes it too far by calling the umpire a thief and he said okay well enough is enough. what Serena did was verbal abuse, which cost another point or maybe the game then again she would’ve lost anyway because she has already lost,she’s lost against the same opponent before,Yet many news covering this story traded it like it was the umpire’s fault and saying that she was treated differently because of her gender and race, because it was mostly seen as sexism,and many articles ignored the fact that she broke a racquet and they focused more on the fact that she got coaching.The umpire even has a track record of being very harsh with the rules and he was following the rules he treats women and men equal. Don’t make things a race-thing , especially if they are not true you’re just giving us a bad name with this fake news.Stop.

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