Serena Williams is being punished for talking her reality (opinion)


Solely days after the announcement that Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike’s “Simply Do It” 30th anniversary marketing campaign, Williams, a black tennis star, was punished for displaying justifiable anger when she known as out the umpire for his on-the-court-sexism. She was then penalized with a $17,000 advantageous, $10,000 of it for her remarks to the umpire.
The match ought to have been a trigger for celebration, coming over 60 years since Althea Gibson became the first African-American player to compete within the US Nationals and win the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. Gibson confronted racism as a trailblazing black lady, with hecklers at her first tennis match in Forest Hills on August 29, 1950, shouting “Beat the n—–!”

Quick ahead to 2018 and Williams was matched in opposition to Naomi Osaka, a Japanese and Haitian American participant who, like Serena and Venus, is a part of a tennis powerhouse household along with her sister Mari. That Naomi had the possibility to play in opposition to her idol was overshadowed by the racist and sexist officiating of the tennis event.

At Saturday’s match, umpire Carlos Ramos issued Williams a warning for allegedly receiving unlawful teaching by way of hand gestures. Although her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to coaching, Williams denied she had cheated and demanded Ramos apologize. Then Williams broke her racket out of frustration over shedding a serve, for which Ramos imposed a one-point penalty. Williams responded by calling Ramos a “thief” for stealing some extent from her.
Williams misplaced the match to Osaka and took the defeat with grace, however not with out making an announcement. At a press convention, Williams mentioned she is preventing for girls’s rights and ladies’s equality, calling out Ramos for his sexism. “He is by no means taken a sport from a person as a result of they mentioned ‘thief.’ For me, it blows my thoughts. However I’ll proceed to struggle for girls,” Williams said.
Different gamers have notably discovered fault with Ramos. In 2016, he even accused Williams’ older sister, Venus, of receiving teaching throughout a match.
(Some in tennis have defended Ramos and say he has been robust on male in addition to feminine gamers.)
Williams, who returned to tennis after childbirth, has confronted an uphill battle in current weeks. Extra particularly, she has been policed for her blackness. She has confronted unfair drug testing and disgusting comments about her physique. And she or he has been banned from sporting her Wakanda-esque black catsuit on the French Open — which was designed to scale back her danger of blood clotting, the very difficulty that nearly claimed her life throughout childbirth.
Serena Williams is being policed for her blackness

Now, maybe the best tennis participant on the planet pays a $17,000 value for her anger. Why? As a result of to many, together with seemingly the tennis authorities that be, Williams’ response affirms the racial stereotype of a black lady who dares to talk her thoughts — loudmouthed, uncouth and dare we are saying “ghetto.”

After all, sports activities historical past is replete with males who’ve proven rage on the courtroom, and never solely prevented punishment however acquired accolades. The antics, outbursts and mood tantrums of John McEnroe, Andre Agasi and Jimmy Connors are just some examples. And male tennis gamers, equivalent to James Blake, have admitted to saying worse than Williams did — with out struggling penalties. As Billie Jean King tweeted, “When a lady is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she or he’s penalized for it. When a person does the identical, he is ‘outspoken’ & and there aren’t any repercussions.”
This double customary is nothing new, however it’s receiving extra consideration within the #MeToo period. The repercussions go far past the tennis world. As Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, asked Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court docket affirmation listening to in a dialogue on Roe v. Wade, “Are you able to consider any legal guidelines that give the federal government energy to make choices in regards to the male physique?”

The penalty in opposition to Serena Williams is proof that black girls nonetheless face an uphill battle, and we’ve got lots of work left to do if we’re to be a society of equals.

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