I’ve missed the unfolding of this drama over the past few days because of … umm. *Sniffles* But I must say, I’m a little bit disappointed with the way this whole event has been portrayed and dealt with by both the media and Serena herself.
First, there was the Patrick McEnroe ‘drilling’ during the doubles award ceremony, a potentially awkward situation rescued by the ever diplomatic Venus.
The media also overreacted to the incident, with many depicting Serena as violent, calling for her to be suspended.
The most extreme version of this was on the free Melbournian metro tabloid, mX, the day after the incident.
Basically, it’s most ridiculous piece of shit ever:
A bullying expert said this morning Williams was a tigress who meant every word of her threat to shove a tennis ball down the throat of a lineswoman and kill her during the match.
“She became a sabre-toothed tiger”, Centacare Melbourne senior counsellor Rosalie Pattenden said.
“At that very moment, it (the threat) was real. Her rage consumed her and she was attracking; luckily she pulled it back.”
Pattenden said a relationship breakup may have prompted Williams’ withering attack.
“There must be some other thing behind it … maybe something personal has happend to for her with a relationship breakdown, a whole heap of things have built up to the point where she lost control where she wouldn’t usually.”
Did anyone out there SERIOUSLY believe that Serena had meant to hurt the lineswoman in any way? And at which point exactly did Serena say she was going to “kill” the lineswoman? At no point. But reading the mainstream media coverage of this, you would’ve never known it.
This type of representation seems to be playing right into the sort of racial stigma that this article in an “ethnic media” publication was referring too:
Was Serena intense? Yes. It was an intense moment in the match. After all, this is the U.S. Open’s women’s semifinals. Under an extreme amount of pressure, maybe it got to her. It can happen to the best of us. After all, a person can only take so much and it’s not as if the field of tennis rolled out the red carpet for her and her sister Venus. From day one, the Williams sisters have had to fight for everything they’ve accomplished in tennis, including the continuing racism that keeps the Williams sisters from the Palm Springs Indian Wells Tournament and allows for commentators to credit the sisters’ “strength” and “athleticism” for their victories while their white counterparts win because they “play smart” and “strategize.” It’s also the reason that my hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, can feel confident in reporting this latest news while using a photo of Serena Williams from the back, seemingly towering over the lineswoman, and giving license to every other news outlet to have a field day.
In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that Serena Williams wrote on her blog about an incident at the German Open where she lost to Dinara Safina. She wrote that she could hear the entire players’ lounge “all happy and joyous” because she had finally lost:
“It was funny when I lost I was in the locker room and I could hear the entire players lounge really loud like really happy and joyous. Like down goes the champ! Someone beat her!!! It was like a big hoopla….”
What ensued Saturday was nothing more than a few angry curse words that lead Serena to have to defend herself against unmade threats toward the lineswoman who was obviously suffering from a typical case of afraid-of-the-black-girl syndrome. How else do you explain the lineswoman’s alleged accusations that Serena was threatening to kill her?
Williams could be heard saying to the lineswoman, “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?”
Yeah, are you serious?
Most black women can relate to what happened to Serena. We get mad like everyone else. The only difference is that for some reason, when white women get angry, they’re not perceived to be as threatening as we are. Maybe it’s the expression on our face. Maybe it’s the seriousness with which we address issues when we are upset. Maybe it’s the tone of our voice. You know that “Don’t f— with me today” tone that can stop a person dead in their tracks and scares the s–t out of most white people.
Source: New America Media
It’s an interesting take on the whole affair.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything that’s being said, but something about the portrayal of this incident definitely tapped into racial stereotypes.
Why? I’ve had to delete the video of the incident from my youtube channel within 24 hours of putting it up because of an outbreak of racists comments, both towards Serena and towards the lineswoman.
And then there was this interview, when the interviewer said the following to Serena:
“When you hear the language that you learned and the effect on that judge, I mean – she looked like a scared school child, pointing at you to the Chair Umpire, literally frightened of you.”
Are you serious? Since when the lines judge ever look scared? Expressionless and resolute? Yes. Frightened of Serena? No.
The lines judge went over to the Chair Umpire because the Umpire wanted to know what had been said. Not because she was running for her safety.
I’m not in anyway defending the impropriety of Serena’s actions, but PUH-LEASE, we’ve seen worse from men. The same interviewer posed a question: does gender play a role in this?
Serena couldn’t answer, and you may well disagree. But I see it as both a gendered and ethnicised discourse.
On the other hand, Serena herself only made matters worse.
Instead of showing real contrition, she decided to firstly issue a regrettable statement, before buckling to the pressure and formally apologizing.It doesn’t help either that she turned up at the VMA awards on the day of the final, almost at the precise moment of Kim’s victory.
Instead of doing damage control, Serena did damage.
But like Venus said, let’s move on. Slap her a fine, she deserves it. But don’t overreact and suspend her, and don’t depict her as a violent woman preying on her victim.