Serena Williams: A Motivational Story

By Alyssa F.

Imagine you are a 15 year old African American girl attending the 2018 US open. You are a huge tennis fan, but an even bigger Serena Williams fan. You see Serena as a role model because she is such a successful woman, even though she might have to face some challenges because of her race and gender.

Serena Williams was not born into a world of respect and fame. Like many other black females, Serena faced hardships all throughout her life. For example, during the women’s U.S open in 2018, many Serena Williams fans were outraged because Serena lost a game on multiple accounts that were wrongfully put against her. Of course, like any male or female player, Serena showed that she was angry by throwing her racket on the ground. Soon after the game was aired on national television, there was a cartoon put out that portrayed Serena as a fat, angry black woman, who was stomping on her tiny racket. In the background of the picture, the referee was looking down and pleading to Serena’s white opponent for her to let Serena win the game. This is not only disrespectful, demeaning, outrageous and many more adjectives, this was sexist and racist. Imagine if a white man got mad and threw his tennis ratchet on the ground, do you think that somebody would feel the need to draw a disrespectful cartoon about it? Do you think that it would cost him winning the game? In fact, do you even think that he would be throwing the racket for the same reason? The answer to all of those questions is no. Why? Because the world is made of stereotypes and laws that mean that a white man will never have to face the hardships that a black man, a white woman or a black woman will ever have to face. But when we think about it, that is what makes Serena Williams the woman we know and love. That is what makes her the woman that people like you aspire to be.

This is not the only example of sexist and racist acts that were directed as Serena. Back in 2017, on the first of September, Serena had her first baby, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Serena has had multiple surgeries and complications before so she knew what they felt like. After having her baby, Serena complained of having trouble breathing, and a pain in her chest. The doctors didn’t listen and told her that she would be fine. As the symptoms started getting worse, Serena finally insisted and she was scanned for any complications. If she had not done that she probably would have died because it turned out that she was right and had a blood clot in her lungs. This story was huge because it highlighted the problem that black women in this country face when it comes to getting medical attention. Even at her level and fame, Serena had to demand that she get correct medical attention because nobody was listening to her. This is definitely an example of sexism and racism because it shows how any black woman can be treated in these situations. If these doctors barely listened to Serena Williams, a world class tennis player and winner, what makes you think that they would listen to a regular black female who did not have the same titles as Serena?

After the game was over, the awards were handed out to the trophy for the winner of the match, Naomi Osaka. The crowd booed for the opponent, but when it was Serena’s turn to give her speech and thoughts about the game, she said, “Keep your heads high. This is one of many downs but there will be ups.” This message would stick with you and every other person in the crowd that has to face challenges because of their background or what they look like. This would tell them that, like Serena, they would have to put up with things that are put against them, but it is up to them to continue on and be successful.

Student Bio

Alyssa F.

2019 MSU Oranges Camp
2020 Summer Program
2022 MSU Summer Camp

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