All Voices Matter: Seething over Serena

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All Voices Matter: Seething over Serena

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

After being discriminated against because of her gender, race, and appearance, she has every right to be fed up. Being accused of cheating or being abusive towards an umpire when Serena had asked for an apology in a respectable manner while also not hiding her feelings is not her having a tantrum. She’s tired like anyone else would be when it comes to putting on an act to satisfy everyone. It’s even more unfair that she’d portrayed as yet another overreacting black woman who can’t handle losses when she’s won so many games that she wouldn’t even need to cheat.”

At the recently completed US Open, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Serena Williams, was defeated by Naomi Osaka, who became the first Japanese person to win a major tennis tournament. However, this win was bittersweet, with both players in tears due to different reasons.

Serena Williams was hit with fines that totaled $17,000 for three violations, to which Williams responded as to unfair, and also demanded an apology from the umpire for giving her the violations and implying that she was cheating.

This incident was called reasonable on one side, and immature on the other. One comic artist named Mark Knight had drawn a cartoon that depicted Williams as extremely buff, giant, red lips, with her jumping up and down and breaking her tennis equipment. Naomi–who is half-Haitian and half-Japanese, and is dark skinned–and the umpire, Carlos Ramos, who is Portuguese, were both depicted as white people. The cartoon was met with tremendous backlash worldwide, from civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson and British author J.K. Rowling, saying that the comic was disgustingly racist and a gross interpretation of Serena’s frustrations.

And that’s completely true. But let’s break down the reasons why.

The cartoon, as of the date this column was written, has been deleted off of Twitter, but the Australian newspaper that it came from has reprinted the cartoon and said the backlash was due to political correctness. Not the fact that Serena was drawn as a coon caricature, or how she was depicted as muscular and violent while Osaka and the umpire were drawn as innocent white victims, or how the cartoon further reinforces the colorist idea that dark skinned dark women are more likely to “tantrums” or “violent outbursts” compared to their light-skinned peers. But political correctness.

Serena was totally in the right to be upset. She’s often called one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and was ranked No. 1 eight times between 2002 and 2018 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and throughout her accomplishments, she’s been pitted against her fellow players for the sake of gossip by the media and has been subject to many racist and sexists attacks throughout her career. Plus, who doesn’t get mad or frustrated when you lose or get treated unfairly during a game? Especially when men have done just as what Serena did, or even worse?

When black women are angry, we’re called ghetto or childish. When white women are angry, they’re called courageous and are justified. Why? We all feel emotions. Why must black women restrict themselves in order to be treated equally? Being called a gorilla or a man in comparison to her white peers that are called beautiful or delicate is not something she should be bothered by? Is she no longer a human being because she’s sick of being treated as if she’s the bad guy in the situation?

There is no excuse. After being discriminated against because of her gender, race, and appearance, she has every right to be fed up. Being accused of cheating or being abusive towards an umpire when Serena had asked for an apology in a respectable manner while also not hiding her feelings is not her having a tantrum. She’s tired like anyone else would be when it comes to putting on an act to satisfy everyone. It’s even more unfair that she’d portrayed as yet another overreacting black woman who can’t handle losses when she’s won so many games that she wouldn’t even need to cheat.