Back off Serena!

E NOTES By Kai EL’Zabar Defender Executive Editor Black Up!
By Kai EL’Zabar
Defender Executive Editor

Back off Serena!

I’m fed up with White America . . . I was thinking about our sister Serena and how white folk, white media, white men have always attacked her physique as they have Michelle Obama. They have spoken and printed that Serena looks like a man, is built like a man but they have actually printed that Michelle Obama is a man and have provided alleged scientific proof. Do you hear me? So what does that say Obama is?

Can’t go there now, because I’m discussing Serena who is pushing through this U.S. Open to take home No. 4 of 4 Grand Slams this year. She is constantly brought under the scrutiny of white men who apparently are intimidated by her prowess. They relentlessly pounce on her, describing her in negative terms, insulting her appearance, comparing her natural grunts and moans while playing as animalistic etc. Yet they clap and applaud Kim Kardashian’s every move, who basically for all intensive purposes bought a body to imitate the natural body Serena and a majority of Black women inherit at birth. It’s just so disrespectful to hold high someone because they have a fake purchased body, did a sex tape to launch interest in her and now takes exhibitionist selfies-short of light porn, all day. Meanwhile a profound athlete whose body is sculpted out of the rigorous workouts and commitment to her sport is ridiculed and taunted as looking manly.

The worse insult came when they graced the 65 year-old Caitlin Jenner on the cover as an old newly transgendered woman and referred to the airbushed image on Vanity Fair’s cover as that of a beautiful woman and in the same weekend referred to Serena as unattractive and masculine.

To add insult to injury, we have to look at the endless stream of racist commentary from the sportscasters, of whom Mary Carillo, Chris Evert, and Darren Cahill have been the main offenders.

If they’d relinquished their egos and racism long enough to be honest athletes then they will admit that the Williams Sisters are game changers. They have transformed the game of women’s tennis. Venus and Serena have brought power and speed to bear in ways that used to be limited to and only associated with the men’s game. The sisters have upped the physical aptitude requirements for champions with their power serves, speed, and willingness to chase down and make impossible shots.

Is that a bad thing? All the nasty innuendos and cyber bullying is grounded in racism. We know that it’s racist, elitist and sexist. If they were men they would be held high and be given some sort of acknowledgment. If the Williams were white (women) they’d be hailed as the Amazons of the 21st Century, if they had not come from Compton they’d be accepted. Instead they get Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev who was rightly fined for rudely referring to the bodies of Venus and Serena as “the Williams brothers” and declaring, “It’s frightening when you look at them.” I can think of some white women who look pretty scary but who says that publicly in the very public positions these people hold?

White people do, because they are very comfortable with talking about and criticizing Blacks or any other marginalized people without consequences. Have you really listened to the statements that Donald Trump has made about, women, and Hispanics?

Three years ago Darren Cahill was asked about how Venus and Serena had changed the game, his response can be easily dissected as elitist, and racist—his response, “They have opened the doors to people from all walks of life.”

As for the female commentators, you’d think there’d be some camaraderie there but no instead Mary Carillo and Chris Evert have perhaps been the worst with Carillo exhibiting a love hate position on Serena. According to Carillo in the Williams’ early years, their winning game was attributed to their powerful bodies never intelligence or skill and accused of “lacking strategy,” “not thinking about their shots,”and relying on their “natural athleticism.”

You have to pay attention always to the subtlety of racism because we have become so accustomed to it that we let these people get away with it. We allow them to tell us that we’re playing the race card. When there is nothing further from the truth. We are fighting for our right to be fully self-expressed as we express ourselves.

So dig, when the sisters came to the court winning, their success was credited once again to “natural athletic ability.” The refusal to recognize or attribute their wins to growth, maturity and strategy was either pure jealousy, or racist and or both. The Williams Sisters were represented as hyper-masculine, unattractive women overpowering dainty white female tennis players, although there are more than a few who are hardly dainty.

These descriptions about Black bodies as “naturally athletic,” “more powerful,” “more wild,” “less thoughtful,” and “less strategic” and Black female bodies as “(un)naturally strong, invulnerable, and unattractive” are not new. It’s such a fundamental key to Western ideology of white racial superiority that they perpetuate generation after generation. How do you critique an alpha female athlete?

I could go on and on about the many disrespectful and or verbal abuse targeted at and endured by Venus and Serena Williams but for the record, this must stop. I know that you recognize this unacceptable and outrageous display of racism. Listen given their accomplishments, where are their endorsements? And in particular Serena’s? She’s a bad sistah, and because she’s built tough, she pushes through and pass it all disrupting the well-bred tennis spaces with her height, dark skin, powerful body and colorful audacious attire, her refusal to be other than herself and conform to the white way of managing emotion by her willingness to show it.

So what about John McEnroe whose anger outbursts are legendary and yet he was not ridiculed or held under the same scrutiny. When she did a victory dance after a win against Maria Sharapova in 2012, America media accused Serena of doing the Crip Walk failing to provide basic facts that would have alleviated concerns over the dance being gang related.

The Crip Walk originally had gang ties. However, it hasn’t been relegated to gangs since it got nicknamed “the C-walk” and became a mainstream phenomena years ago. It was so mainstream that even Justin Timberlake did it at a 2007 show at the Staples Center. I am rooting for her and look forward to her 4 out of 4 Grand Slam this year.

Conclusion . . .to the haters, leave Serena alone! Back off and respect her! And finally, we have to be there for all our people. We have to stand up in their behalf when they’re disrespected, abused or treated unfairly. We have to be there before they’re shot down by police or anyone else. Our lives do matter.

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