Tongues are wagging like the speed and swing of tennis champion Serena Williams’ racket—about these ‘pockets’ of professional (yet subtle) racism happening right beneath her feet and around her like the lit squares of a Michael Jackson Billie Jean dance scene. Yet Serena obliviously seems to stomp and turn the lights off and a deaf dead ear on it all: she’s given it no life (or spoken about her feelings on it)—until now.
Where shall we begin?
Well we already know she and her sister (Venus) walked into the flytrap when at ripe and early ages from their Compton California hood, their dad somehow got the notion that the two should have to nerve to play tennis.
In case you don’t know, sports and the arts can be elitist, racist, discriminating and mentally taxing. Tennis, ice-skating and ballet are two fields of sports and the arts that while pursuing [while black], can be quite the uphill climb. It’s like the equivalent of the hush-hush world of education in many colleges. While HBCU’s offer the security of a predominately black atmosphere and (typically) staff, students may not get the diversity in social settings, but the headache of experiencing academic racism and discrimination is worth choosing the HBCU.
To speed past explaining that, the trade off (and often times-the risk) of attending a diverse college or university (versus an HBCU), is that there are some colleges that have an expectation of an overpopulation of certain majors that blacks can sit comfortably in (without ‘incidental’ academic ‘incidents’) meaning: Sticking out like a sore thumb in that class where the closest thing to “black” (and able to fly by the radar) are the literal “African” Americans; the rest: Caucasian and other races of people. But black students who should dare step into territory of certain majors and some colleges and universities are up under an unfair amount of pressure and scrutiny to the point [where I know plenty of them] who mentally couldn’t stand the fight-had given up and chosen other majors. That form of educational racism and discrimination is so hush-hush…that it floors me [that it is]… It can get so bad that you can find yourself “auditioning” your professor by scanning his/her syllabi and the tests the give (so that there are no chances of bias and over scrutiny on grading). It can get rough-trust me. I know this.
Jobs (9 to 5’s) aren’t exempt. With (what is it?) 49 of 50 states being “at will” employers, (meaning they can fire you for little or nothing—up to and including personal envy). So, hide what you do online or in life…no matter how you are at work-kind…If you weren’t a victim of ageism, sexual harassment, or civil rights violations) you have no leg to stand on if someone wants you out on your behind. EEOC’s (Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions) will simply allow you to waste their time trying to fight those systems, but the bottom line is: if no civil rights were violated you-and your livelihood are at the mercy of the employer who all (like the arts, sports, and education), pretty much have a system by which they can use to get you out or force you to give up yet-give you the illusion that the parts you can control (to stay in/at the job) have power yet–when up against “at will” holds none and is null and void.
Trust me-I know these games. I know them all too well…therefore, I understand Serena’s:
…all three are the whole point of this write up.
So let’s talk about it.
We need not belabor the past century what a culture shock it’s been to grow up with these two little black, black girls dominating tennis and growing into grown women right with us where (in addition to sticking out like a sore thumb) one of the two started delving into the arts her creativity and chose to be flagrant and unconventional in uniform (as never happened in the straight-laced game of tennis).
In all the years of Serena Williams experiencing hurt and pain of racism, giggles, sneers, insults, and gossip that you and I will never hear about—that only she and her sister Venus share; consider her unconventional “ready to wear” as her middle finger in the faces of the people who (as long as keeps kicking a$$ as taking down names)—they can’t fire her…but get her fire, her might (and reckon with her force).
Of all that we need not belabor, much to many of her fans surprise (and upset) last night, pictures circulated of Serena at a Nike street event where a photo op (not shoot) was taken with several of her colleagues.
The photo op included someone she dated (Grigor Dimitrov) along with another tennis player: (Maria Sharapova) whom he dated as well-and who too, just so happens to be the female tennis player who (although topped Serena in Forbes), hasn’t succeeded in topping Serena on the court. Yet and still, Sharapova’s endorsements (therefore ‘net’-as per Forbes) run circles around Serena whereas Serena runs circles around her at the other net.
To add insult to injury (to the eyes watching and QWERTY keys poppin’–last night), on the photo, Serena (the current champion of all the females in tennis), was positioned such that you looked around the picture for her presence and once found, would easily go: Oh there’s the ‘raisin’ (black girl) ‘back there’—while her romantic rival and (as per Forbes) her monetary rival stood front and center—as if she was the current female champion in tennis at this very moment in time.
Considering the fact that-that woman is Serena Williams who, after next Monday, is on her way to winning and breaking tennis records that haven’t been broken since 1988, Serena (being made? or electing?) to play the back in the picture-went over bad in the eyes of lovers of Serena Williams.
Still, Serena (in every pictured shot) chucked it all up and smiled (as if) nothing was misplaced, in the wrong position, or wrong about it all.
After years of kicking a$$ and taking down names (and a few games away from breaking a nearly 27 year-old record), Serena Williams has finally spoken [about her being] the tennis’ ‘token’:
“If they want to market someone who is white and blond, that’s their choice. I have a lot of partners who are very happy to work with me. I can’t sit here and say I should be higher on the list because I have won more. I’m happy for her, because she worked hard, too. There is enough at the table for everyone. We have to be thankful, and we also have to be positive about it so the next black person can be No. 1 on that list. Maybe it was not meant to be me. Maybe it’s meant to be the next person to be amazing, and I’m just opening the door. Zina Garrison, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Venus opened so many doors for me. I’m just opening the next door for the next person.”
You see, Serena knows what she’s doing and doesn’t need to be as pulled up [from a seemingly unfair totem of a bottom] as we think. In all her over 20 years of dominating this game, and through her pain, she has gained.
I understand just what’s she’s doing via what’s she’s done and who SHE KNOWS she is-(despite whomever doesn’t want to swing her way and fu(k with her). I understand that because I do too-me. I know who I am around all light around me hoping to be fire under me: Aint gonna happen…Because like her net-you got to beat my pen in order to ‘beat’ me.
So I understand that.
I understand because…it’s like when I sit here all by (my methodically and purposely) chosen lonesome to do what I do, I really don’t care about who thinks they rival me because outside all the illusion, you still have to fu(k with my pen to even be able to fu(k with me-so until then there’s no fu(king with me. So I’m not in some ‘competition’ that people would like to think there is. I understand Serena, and how she’s playing this game-mentally. I play my penning, winning game so I can continue to call my shots and do it my unconventional way: kicking a$$ (and taking down names)…I’m so totally unbothered at peace among all those broken pieces outside of this, here.
You see..while we’re worried about Serena, Serena has already made peace with the people/entities that don’t fu(k with Serena.
And she’s okay with that—because it’s back to the drawing board: Nobody who they fuc(k with can fu(ck with her…………………until they beat her at her game (which aint gonna happen).
So when it comes down to having done it her (unconventional) way, all you have to do is look at this montage and know that (in addition to her kicking a$$ and taking down names)…she’s been winning all along:
She may have come through uninvited but she sure as heavens is leaving: balanced, accomplished, undefeated and still…having done it all her way.