Glamour September 10, 2018
… More than being a special moment between two women who love the game, it was also a rare show of diversity in the exclusive, male-dominated world of tennis. …
When two Women of Color play, it’s only fair that the White Man loses.
Instead, what we witnessed were the insidious prongs of sexism and racism: How the world often doles out injustice and insult on women of color, expecting them to accept it gracefully, and when they don’t, chastise them for the rage they instigated.
… That’s exactly what happened.
… The fragility of the male ego does not have room for any woman—much less a black woman—demanding an apology. Nevertheless, Williams persisted in her pursuit of one. She is tired, and rightfully so.
All that Emotional Labor …
… As she continued to dominate the sport, she has been subjected to unwarranted drug testing.
… And what could only be viewed as the peak of sexism, Williams returned to the game only to be ranked lower after missing games to deliver the baby and take maternity leave …
… Black women knew why Serena was angry. We know all too well what it means for someone else’s [perceived] errors to be made our own. We know what it is like for our passionate responses to be read as antagonistic. … If Williams, a black woman of considerable wealth and status, experiences this without reprieve, those with fewer resources are left completely unprotected. When she told the umpire, “You owe me an apology,” it was for all of us.
It’s very simple how Serena getting even more wealth and status benefits other black women’s wealth and status:
Phase 1: Serena profits
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: We all profit
Back to Yahoo:
Black women deserve apologies for every time our self-advocacy was viewed as threatening and antagonistic. We deserve apologies for all the times we expressed ourselves and were told we could have said it differently. We deserve apologies when we were not believed and the worst was assumed of us. We deserve apologies for consistently telling this country what was in its political best interest and being ignored. Black women are owed apologies for our daily navigation of spaces that require us to be anxiously preoccupied with how our actions could be viewed by others.
Apologies matter. They signal that the offender recognizes their actions were wrong and caused harm. Yet, an apology isn’t the final step. Corrective and restorative actions must be taken. The match may be over, but tennis must reckon with the deeply sexist and racist politics that were at play. Williams deserves better treatment all around, and she’s demanding it.
In her postmatch interview, Williams said, “I’m here, fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff…. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.” And the fight is a necessary. We saw this no more clearly than when Naomi Osaka tearfully apologized for winning. Girls and women of color are taught to apologize for the space they take up in this world. They are to be invisible, and when they are noticed, it is their fault. But the apology wasn’t on Osaka to deliver. Systems that believe women of color cannot be victims are the only guilty parties.
Thank goodness the Rising Tide of Diversity, as represented by the finalists in this tennis match, means that divisiveness and racial resentment are vanishing from American life.
But, because Anglo White Males had the unmitigated gall to found the sport of lawn tennis in Victorian times, their legacy of sportsmanship and gentlemanly stiff-upper-lipness continues to poison us all. Long after they are gone, their memories must be kept living and hated.