On the ABC talk show The View, the ladies discuss the recent controversy of the young white female tennis player Caroline Wozniacki so-called joke about Serena Williams body. At a tennis exhibition in Brazil, Wozniacki decided to stuff her bra and tennis skirt with towels to make fun of Serena’s body. In the mainstream media the consensus by white tennis writers are that Wozniacki was just making a joke. The question these white writers fail to ask is why is Serena Williams constantly the one being made fun of?
Sports websites such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Fox Sports, have all claimed Wozniacki’s attempts at being funny isn’t racist. However, the vast majority of these sports writers are white men and they also have white male skin privilege. It is very easy for people who do not experience racism to tell black women they need to be quiet about racism and sexism. White privilege allows white tennis writers the ability to ignore race since they don’t have to think about race on a daily basis. White privilege also means white people have the luxury to not deal with race when they don’t want to and ignore it. The white tennis writers have chosen to ignore Wozniacki’s racism because the harsh truth is racism and sexism is very much a part of the professional tennis industry. The tennis industry is still very uncomfortable with the fact women’s tennis is being dominated by Serena Williams a black woman.
The white tennis writers lack the racial sensitivity, knowledge, and the awareness to discern the history of racism and sexism against black women. For centuries, since Sara Baartman tragedy in the early 19th century, black women are constantly mocked, ridiculed, and demonized for not having bodies that conform to the Eurocentric ideal. The ideal female tennis player body is supposed to be blonde, thin, such as Maria Sharapova or Caroline Wozniacki. Tennis writers for years have mocked Serena Williams because she’s a black woman, due to the fact her body has curves, and her buttocks is larger than her white female counterparts.
I am glad people on twitter, You Tube, Facebook, and the internet are saying enough is enough!
The racism Serena Williams experiences in professional tennis is more subtle. Nobody would dare call Serena a racial slur to her face.However, I believe there is still discomfort by some white people in the tennis industry about Serena Williams domination of women’s tennis. Tennis is still a very elitist sport, dominated by rich whites and the country club set.
Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shephard pointed out as black women they have a right to speak out against racism when it relates to the black female life experience. Goldberg and Shepard explained that Wozniacki’s joke is indeed racist against black women.
Goldberg makes a cogent argument, why are these white male and female tennis players such as Caroline Wozniacki and Andy Roddick making fun of Serena’s body? Why is it a black female tennis champion is ridiculed because her body does not conform to racist Eurocentric body image standards? Why should black people be silent to this prejudice and bigotry?
Serena Williams is constantly criticized and ridiculed by the racist tennis establishment because she’s a a black woman dominating women’s tennis which is still a predominately white sport. Let’s be honest here, Serena Williams is thirty one years old, a part time player yet she is clearly the best female tennis player in the world. Serena won Wimbledon singles and doubles, Olympic gold medal in singles and doubles, US OPEN, and the WTA Championships. Serena has dominated the so called number one and number two ranked women Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova with a stunning 8-0 record this year.Wozniacki’s joke I believe is due to jealousy, Serena also dominates Wozniacki she has a 4-1 record against her. Since Wozniacki can’t beat Serena on the tennis court she has to find another way to ridicule her by mocking her body because she’s a black woman.