Unless you’ve been under a rock this past weekend, you’ve been exposed to yet another example of foolery in the tennis realm. The match at the US Open between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka was going great until the umpire made a call Serena didn’t agree with. She’s said to have had a “meltdown” and other things along those lines. The internet seems to be heavily split between supporting Serena Williams and condemning her for being “hysterical” and “ridiculous.”
When things like this happen, it’s always worth looking at how regular everyday people respond. In a nation where we openly ridicule women for showing any emotion at all what does the response look like when we’re faced not only with a woman, but a woman of color doing precisely those things. This was a political cartoon drawn by Mark Knight of Australia’s Herald Sun.
I think this is yet another example of how sexism and racism can play a terrible and toxic role in our perception of what is acceptable and what is not. However, what is undeniable is the amount of sexism and racism is not only the comment sections but our hearts, tennis fans or not. Not only did Knight create a cartoon caricature of an obese, angry, big lipped, crybaby woman, but they also drew Haitian- American Naomi Osaka, as a blonde white woman. This type of perception of African-American women and the erasure of black identity for mixed people are running rampant in this cartoon. Cartoons such as these are not rare and show just how far we have to go in the world when it comes to people of color.
In conclusion, we support you, Serena. We see the daily sexism. We see the racism. We stand with you and empathize. You’re the greatest. And to Naomi Osaka, another woman of color who suffered from the toxicity of that match, you’re a Grand Slam Champion. No one can take that from you. We love you and support you!