Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Serena In Black & White

I have a friend, I don't want to betray her right to privacy, so let's call her Carla-Denise. She is from, lets say, Trinidad. She is a big Serena Williams fan, and thinks Serena's outburst at the U.S. Open is being unfairly described by the media because Serena is black. She asked to write about it here on the Stoop, with my accompanying comments.

I told Carla-Denise that I know as much about tennis as Obama knows about economics, and she said don't worry, the issue here is media bias, not tennis.

So below Carla -Denise & Baldman hit the ball to each other, in our own version of tennis here on the Stoop.

(Baldman comments in bold.)

Serena William 2009 Tirade I wonder how many of us have played a sport and lost our control because of what we considered to be bad calls throughout a game I dislike the way people judge as if they personally know someone based on what they see on TV and please let's not say it's not about race because everything has race involved when it comes down to the media and black athletes/people, before people start turning their eyes up let me give examples.

Baldman sez: People will always react to what they see on television-even you. If not, you would not have written this, right? Willing to evaluate and comment on your examples.....

1. When Venus/Serena first came onto the scene every critic had their negative opinions to say about these young women, where they grew up, how they have power but will never be dominate because they didn't have a real tennis coach etc. nobody called Chris Everett pompous or said she was being rude or lacked humility.

Baldman sez: It seems you have two points here. Regarding the first, I admit to not being a tennis fan, and part of the reason is that its rules and customs are too stifling-for players and fans alike. Regarding the criticism of their father being their coach, I agree with you, it was bullsh*t. But I think the criticism stems from tennis having no tolerance for thinking/teaching/playing outside the box. And Richard Williams, god bless him, is a guy who is outside the box. You of course, attribute the criticism to race. Which leads to your next point which seems to be that the Williams' sisters are called "pompous" or "rude"-something that was never attributed to Chris Everett who acted in a similar fashion. I do not know how Chris Everett acted or how she was portrayed in the media. I do know that the most universally praised tennis player of my lifetime was Arthur Ashe, an African American. The man was a role model for all people, and the media (rightfully) elevated Ashe to heroic status. (FYI- read Ashe's memoir "Days of Grace"). Ashe is so beloved, the U.S. Open facility is named after him. If the media is filled with racial animus, why wasn't that animus reflected on its coverage of Artur Ashe?

2. Nobody said that McEnroe lacked humility or was pompous and we all know the tirades he had as well as his launching of tennis rackets.

Baldman sez: As I said, I am not a tennis fan, but even I know that McEnroe was a spoiled brat. Where did I get that from if I never watched a match? I got it from the print/electronic media.

3. White Americans love the black athletes as long as they can have a say in how they behave and who they encounter with, I mean white America hated Ali while he was with the Nation of Islam and refused to go to Vietnam, now he is the great American ambassador because he doesn't associate with certain groups anymore.

Baldman sez: I know we are talking tennis, but # 3 is a big swing and a miss by you. Michael Jordan. Derek Jeter. Joe Louis. All beloved by white people. As are hundreds of other black athletes. You think Michael Jordan does what he wants, or what white people tell him to do? Joe Louis is the most beloved athlete this country has ever seen. Arthur Ashe was a man who followed a moral compass that no man, black or white, could make him veer away from. Regarding Ali, I am no fan. I think his life, his ascension to heroic status, is a farce- built mostly by the white media. The reason why you do not see much vocal opposition to Ali is because he took too many left hooks from Smokin' Joe-and people feel sorry for him. Did you know that while the KKK was rounding up black folks and lynching them, Ali spoke at a KKK rally and praised them, saying they had the right idea about seperating the races? Don't believe me? Listen to the clip below.


4. The supposed great thing about America is that we are different, we come different walks of life and have had different experiences, but the problem that most blacks have always encountered is that if white America doesn't agree with it then it is wrong even though it may be who we are and how we deal.

Baldman sez: I need you to be more clear here. Can't comment until you clarify.

5. I have witnessed racism at it's worse and now that we have a black president it feels as though a small portion of America has major issue with a black president after 43 white presidents, I mean people expecting this man to change this economy in 8 months when it took 8 years for Bush to fuck it up.

Baldman sez: Seems we have veered away from Serena to Obama. I'm going to get that judge that Serena threatened to call a foul on you. All I can say is that with the job comes the criticism. It happens to all of them. If you don't criticize Obama on the basis that he is black, you are just as guilty as those you do criticize him because he is black. The problem is that he has changed the economy-for the worse. Unemployment is higher than Rick James; the president is spending like a drunken sailor at Scores; and as a goof he has unleashed his inner (outer) Socialist self by nationalizing the banking and auto industries-with his eye on doing the same to health care. All in 8 months. A lot of people have had enough.
6. This is about race so when people start facing the real issue then maybe we can catch up to other countries that are supposed to be our lead when it comes to race relations.

Baldman sez: 11 months ago, a country that is 87% non-black elected a black president. It was the first time that a historically oppressed minority ever achieved the presidency/prime minister position in the country where their ancestors were oppressed. Seems like we are the model for other countries to follow when it comes to race.

7. Don't say this article is about Serena's tirade, I am talking the posting on this board and how white's are treated and talked about different than blacks in the media, we are portrayed as angry and violent but white's are portrayed as being upset and emotional.

Baldman sez: I wish you provided some examples. Don't want to speculate here.

8. And yes Serena behavior was unsportsmanlike but she is not going to change the planet called earth with a tennis racket we the human race have to change the planet one race relation at a time

Baldman sez: I am not a big changing the planet person. I like my garbage picked up by Sanitation, going to bed knowing we have more nukes than any other country, the NFL, and millions of other things about the planet, and its greatest place-America.


Anonymous said...

Couple of points:

1. Black or white, there is no excuse for Serena'a behavior, period. I watched the match live & uncensored with my nine year son, figuring it was a safer bet to watch since he is banned form watching WWE. Wrong! He is new to tennis & was a little confused since his little league baseball rules are: no losing your cool with a bad call and no unsporsmanlike conduct on the field or in the dug out. The consequences, your OFF the team.

2. EVERYONE, including McEnroe himself admitted to lacking humility at times & being pompous.What he never did was take away the WINNING moment, the glory of winning any match to his opponent. Ever notice the Williams sisters can't ever be out-played the the opponent, the calls, the injuries, the wind, garbage excuses. I watched & listened to Federer's speech last night. He thanked his opponent for such a good match shook the new kids hand with grace & dignity. A guy who just lost for the first time in 4 straight years, true professional. Also see that same sportsmanlike behavior in Tiger Woods when he loses and he's black...

4. Immediately following the match, still being watched by my son, Serena couldn't remember what she had just said, no apologies only amnesia..I read on her blog this beauty of a quote "I'm a woman of great pride, faith, integrity, and I admit when I'm wrong" Great, but why did the half-hearted apology come 48 hours after the match and two minutes after her sponsors were holding ad-hoc meetings?

5. When my nine yr old gets a little older I will urge him to read Days of Grace by Arthur Ashe. He can add it to his collection of already read books on Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan, Roberto Clemente and Tirger Woods.
Maybe Serena can read the book during her hopefully suspended time off from tennis.

6. One of the many great quotes from Mr. Ashe was " If I don't ask Why Me? after my victories I cannot ask Why Me? after my setbacks and disasters" Carla-Denise, Serena and ALL people should live by this quote every moment of our lives...

Anonymous said...

Point #3: Who was to blame for Obama comparing his bowling skills to that of a Special Olympian on national television? Media, Bush, white people,Leno? Explain that one please..

Anonymous said...

White Media? The Media has no black people? Black or white she lost her temper and threatened to shove a tennis ball up the officials ass. What's racial about that? Nothing! What's wrong with that? Everything!

I think our friend from Trinidad should stop with the race card as an excuse. Your race is not your crutch.