Tag: tennis

You’re not supporting Serena Williams by painting your face black

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post uses Australian English spelling rules.


At the women’s singles semi-final of this year’s Australian Open tennis major, at least two fans were seen on television holding a sign reading “Keep calm and be Serena” and…wait for it…wearing black face paint. “Serena” is Serena Williams of the United States, who won her semi-final match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and went on to lose the grand final to Angelique Kerber of Germany. While I’m not a fan of tennis at all, I do know enough about the sport to tell you that Serena is probably the top athlete in all of sports globally.

If you’re wearing blackface, you might claim to be supporting Serena, but you’re actually being very racist.

Blackface was commonly used in theatre plays for many, many years, with usage in the United States being commonplace well into the 1960’s. In blackface performances, white actors would wear black face paint to portray black people. For fans to employ racism that the theatre industry used is absolutely unacceptable, and something that Serena herself finds to be very offensive. I’m surprised that there are many Australians who are very racist, to tell you the truth.

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Former professional tennis player James Blake subjected to police brutality and racial profiling by NYPD

Tennis is my least favorite sport. Unlike many other sports that a lot of people consider boring, such as golf, curling, and baseball (three sports that I actually like, although my favorite sport is automobile racing), there’s virtually no strategy to tennis, and the scoring system used in tennis can be confusing for those not familiar with the sport.

However, that’s all beside the point.

The point of the matter is that police brutality is a serious problem in this country, and even professional athletes are victims of police brutality. The most recent example of this involves former professional tennis player James Blake, who is black, being slammed to the ground by a plainclothes New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer and four other NYPD officers after the officers mistook him for someone allegedly involved in an identity theft ring:

Blake was in New York City for the U.S. Open on Wednesday when, as reported by Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News, a plainclothes NYPD officer charged at him, picked him up and slammed him to the ground, mistaking him for a suspect in an identity-theft ring that had been operating in the area.

The Connecticut native and former world No. 4, who retired from tennis at the U.S. Open two years ago, initially thought the officer was possibly an old friend “running at me to give me a big hug.”

Four other cops, all white, soon joined the first officer, handcuffing and detaining Blake for 15 minutes, despite the fact that he showed I.D. and cooperated immediately.

[…]

Blake, an African American who names Arthur Ashe as his idol, admits that racial profiling was probably involved, but was more immediately concerned by the brutal nature of the encounter. His left leg was bruised and his right elbow cut in the incident.

If James Blake were white, I’m almost certain that the NYPD would have not targeted him at all, and they certainly wouldn’t have slammed him to the ground and injured him. This is a disturbing example of police brutality and racial profiling, both of which are far too common in this country.

Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard treated in a sexist manner by the Australian media once again

Note to Seven Network Tennis ReportersAfter easily winning her second-round match of the women’s singles tournament at tennis’s Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada was asked to do a twirl by a male reporter for the Seven Network, an Australian television network:

An unusual request greeted 20-year-old Canadian tennis phenom Eugenie Bouchard after she breezed her way into the third round of the Australian Open with an easy 6-0, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens.

When Bouchard met the on-court interviewer — a man — to talk about the match, which lasted a mere 54 minutes, he asked her to “give us a twirl.”

[…]

Bouchard obliged, “somewhat uncomfortably” showing off her bright pink and yellow outfit, as the Associated Press reported…

Since virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player to do a twirl in a post-match interview, the Seven Network reporter acted in a sexist manner toward Eugenie Bouchard. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Bouchard has been subject to sexism by a Seven Network reporter at an Australian Open. Last year, a female Seven Network reporter asked Bouchard who she would want to date if she could date anyone she wanted to, which is the type of question that virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player.

While I’m not a fan of tennis (in fact, I’ve never watched a tennis match before), I’m getting tired of the rampant sexism in the sports media. Sports journalists should stick to asking tennis players questions about their tennis game.