Serena Williams vs. racism

by maithaixox on September 7, 2015 - 6:36pm

Have you ever been discriminated, made fun of because of your skin color or felt like you didn’t belong somewhere, well you’re not the only one. Serena Williams, 3 time winner of the French Opens, and many more has been discriminated a lot. In the article called “Serena Williams subjected to racism, sexist remarks following French Open victory” by the WITW Staff (Woman in the World) published on June 8th 2015, they talk about how Serena Williams continues to be targeted by racism and sexist remarks about her body. They say that despite all the awful comments about Serena Williams on the internet, most of all the hate comes from the media. Many of the media, and even fellow athletes have also called her ugly, bulky and animalistic because they’re referring to the past of America when black people were considered “savages”. The article concludes that people should stop concentrating on her skin color and what she looks like and start acknowledging her amazing talent in tennis.

 

            In my 18 years of being living on this earth, I have witness so many discriminations and racism towards people and it’s sickens me. I get racial comments and get discriminated one too many times before and it doesn’t feel good, it makes you feel like you’re not wanted or not part of anything. I sure do know how Serena Williams feel, but not to that extent. She’s being targeted all over the media for racial purposes and sexist remarks about her appearance and her body. At the end of the article, the authors said “instead of concentrating on what really matters: her remarkable competitive edge in a time-honored sport.” (WITW, 2015, 1) and I totally agree with the authors because instead of looking at someone’s appearance, we should focus more on their ability to perform a task. Serena Williams is an amazing tennis player and she has won many tournaments and games but people, especially the media are too concerned about the way she looks. In my opinion, I am very much against discrimination and racism. I feel as if it’s a way to put people down and label them because they’re different, but I have always been thought that you what makes you special is that you’re different.

 

 

References:

 

WITW. (2015, June 8). Serena Williams subjected to racist, sexist remarks following French Open victory, The New York Times. Retrieved from http://nytlive.nytimes.com

Comments

I read your essay "Serena Williams vs. racism" and I found it really intriguing. Over the years, racism in sports has decreased impressively, nonetheless Serena Williams' case is one example that basically demonstrates that racism still occurs in today's society. I absolutely agree that a person's physical traits is not what we should focus on, but rather draw general attention to their abilities. Jeremy Lin, an Asian basketball player, would be a good example of this issue. Supposedly, Asians are not good at basketball nor football, but Jeremy Lin's situation proves to the media that this is just another stereotype. Even though he is Asian, according to NBA, he is one of the many good basketball player in America. He also won the award for NBA's Player of the Week in 2012, which proves that a person's physical characteristics do not define their abilities to a sport. I think it is essential that we try to acquire a knowledge and have a clearer understanMy commentding about ethnic groups instead of believing everything people say, what we hear from media or read on social media about a certain race.

I am totally agreed with you maithaixox. Her skin color gives her a lot of trouble, but also, her sex is also a reason why she has that much discrimination. Serena Williams is not only an African American, but also a woman. This means that she is not only hurt by the racism, but also sexism. A male African American is also discriminated, but surely not as much like her. At least nobody is going to say that a male African American is not beautiful enough. According to a patriarchy world view, a man should be strong and successful, and woman should not be successful, but be beautiful and follows the man. If Serena Williams is a man, nobody will say that he is animalistic; the world will still discriminate him but at least agree that this man is successful. She has that much of awful comment first because she is a black, and second, she does not have the beautiful body type that the world want. The reason that I made this title because none of these two categories, rather a black man or a white woman will has that much of discrimination than her. To help Serena Williams, sure we need to work on destroying the racism, but also destroy the sexism. World should stop on focusing the women bodies, but on their talents.
If you want to know more about sexism, go to this link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism

I agree with many of the points you made and I think we share a similar opinion on the matter. What compelled me to comment on this was the fact that this issue may be more about gender discrimination. This probably has to do with athletic careers primarily being pursued by men. As you may already know females are faced with far more societal pressures to look and act a certain way. The medial targets women in these positions, and magnifies the aspects they deem “unwomanly”. In this case Serena Williams is being called ugly and bulky because women who are public figures are often evaluated on their physical appearance. The media is conditioning people to see women a certain way, and since Serena is a professional athlete her muscles are seen as “too masculine”.

I definitely agree with keeping her physical appearance out of the equation when assessing her ability to play tennis. We also have to remember, race isn’t the only form of discrimination happening here. The judgment is largely coming from sexism and gender stereotypes. After all, there are plenty of black male pro athletes and they don’t go through this much harassment.
Here's a blog post about how women's appearance affect their professional work: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/543707/the-sexism-debate-why-women-s-...

Hello maithaixox,

Very well put, I entirely agree that it is unjust for Serena Williams to be treated in this way due to her ethnicity and gender. Through a feminist perspective, the comments about her being ugly and bulky do not only derive from her race but her gender as well. Society’s patriarchal world view teaches us that men are supposed to be strong and athletic and women, the opposite. A man or woman who does not properly perform his or her gender role properly is subject to ridicule at the hands of his or her peers. Serena Williams does not conform to this view on women, she is strong and athletic, this leads people to attack Serena as she is a woman who expresses typically manly traits. Her muscular build does not correlate with society’s beauty standards and, as a result she is verbally harassed. The strict gender roles that are held in place due to the patriarchal world view, are not accepting of those who do not conform and attempt to bully them into performing their gender in what they view as “the proper manner.” Serena’s talent and determination got her to her place of power and she should be celebrated rather than attacked.

If you would like to further investigate the patriarchal world view, this link provides some insight: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy