After an outstanding year in tennis during which she won three of the four majors and finished the season with a 53-3 record, Serena Williams was officially honored as the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year on the 15th of December 2015. Williams is the first woman in 32 years and the first black woman ever to win the award. Without question, there’s no argument that Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player — male or female — in the history of the sport. For some reason, her owning the cover of Sport Illustrated has a few people upset. Why? Long story short, white people are suggesting that a horse should be Sportsperson of the Year. Yeah, stupid, I know.
Serena can be considered parallel to Michael Jordan in her level of skill, prestige, and athleticism. Serena is an apex-level, world-renowned athlete who travels across the planet defeating contenders on the tennis court. Being that Jordan largely bounces his capabilities off of a team of players while Serena’s on a tennis court solo, Williams can be considered greater than Jordan himself. While if she’s greater than Jordan is debatable, one thing for certain is the fact that she’s a timeless champion. She’s elite.
It seems like Serena Williams, analog to black women as a whole, can never catch a break. If she wasn’t good at what she does, it would be open game to ridicule her, second guess her abilities, disregard her, the list goes on. The problem is, she’s actually good at what she does. She is the best at what she does. Maria Sharapova, who has lost 18 of 20 head-to-head matches against Williams, actually gets paid more. She has been body-shamed for her muscles and build. She’s been called “masculine” during the same time the media praised the “beauty” of a man appearing as a woman, who very much still looks like a man. Despite being champion she has been booed by the masses, hit with racial slurs, and her body from top to bottom has been mocked and disrespected by everyone from the crowd, opposing players, and sports commentators. But the negatively doesn’t stop at her body; even her behavior is criticized. She’s unusually considered “arrogant” or “rude” when celebrating victory.
The fact that racism — specifically, white supremacy — is the reason why she catches no break is blatantly evident. Black women ever since the dawn of American Slavery have been relegated as masculine by white authority, and while the physical chains of slavery have been broken the sociological chains of persecution of the black woman has not. This can be refuted if every tennis player is placed under the same scrutiny, but that simply just doesn’t exist. Only the black chick faces this extraordinary and unusual scrutiny.
For some strange reason, a buttload of white people (because they too can come in buttloads) have voted for a racing horse as Sportsperson of the year. One reason I can think of, is that maybe people were trolling the selection. In this age of the internet era there’s a such thing called trolling, and a lot of times people will choose the most ridiculous thing out of a multiple choice question just to laugh at the results. It’s kinda like that moment when a person is forced to embarrass themselves based on their own doing. Maybe people were trolling Sports Illustrated in the voting section, and SI called their bullshit and chose the right victor anyway. This makes sense, or at least attempts to do so.
There are however, people who are genuinely butthurt over Serena’s prestige. Sure, it’s simple to call it racism but damn let’s take a look at this: A horse. A fucking horse. White people are up at arms about a horse losing to a PERSON in a PERSON of the year competition. In what world would this work? Would one actually bring for example, a clay pot to a pie baking competition? The clay pot would be better served in a pottery competition, yes? To be fair I’m quite certain had there been an animal of the year competition Serena would lose without question. So maybe the joint was rigged against the horse. Deal with it. At least the horse would win a horse competition. You don’t bring prize winning pottery to a pie baking contest. It ain’t no pie.
If anything, someone can always simply tell the horse it won the competition and the horse wouldn’t know the difference. I mean really, it’s a damn horse.
Maybe because people still live in a world which seeks to erase black people as a whole, her being a champion just hurts white people’s feelings. Tennis is largely dominated by white faces. What if, Serena Williams dominating the sport as the best in the world is similar to Jack Johnson knocking out white people for the first time, or Jackie Robinson playing (and dominating) Major League Baseball. In this regard, I’ll have to agree that Serena is greater than Michael Jordan. Jordan dominated the game when black people are expected to do so and extension, are accepted as elite players of basketball. Williams is still fighting the Jackie Robinson fight, with many whites yearning for a negro league just so “the black chick” can leave their white women with their egos unscathed.
“I’ve had people look down on me, put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger,” she said. “I’ve had people look past me because of the color of my skin, I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman, I’ve had critics say I would never win another Grand Slam when I was only at number seven — and here I stand today with 21 Grand Slam titles, and I’m still going.”
“So for all the ladies out there, yes, we can do it. When I first started playing tennis, women weren’t really encouraged to play sports let alone excel in sports. So my hope by winning this award I can inspire many many more women—in less than 30 years of course—to stand right here on this podium and accept another Sportsperson of the Year award. Yes, ladies, it can be done.” ~ Serena Williams
Serena Williams still conducts herself as a true champion. No matter what racism or manufactured controversies (manufactroversies?) she remains to be a positive force for women everywhere, regardless of race. So Mrs. Williams, keep on winning. We see you.