What is Black Excellence?
by valerieraiche on September 9, 2015 - 9:44pm
“The Meaning of Serena Williams”, an article written by Claudia Rankine that was published on August 25th 2015 in the New York Times, discusses the biased opinions of the media with regards to the ideal image of a winner. The main arguments supporting this central idea involve Serena Williams’ view on the widespread issue of racism and the medias’ interpretation of excellence. Although the media has attacked her with regards to her appearance on countless occasions, Williams does not accept “racist projections” about her body. She demonstrates grace as she plays for herself, always being proud of her African-American background. She has been a victim of questionable calls during tennis matches and has displayed her good side just as much as her bad side. Serena Williams is human; therefore, she does not conform to the unwritten rule that racist assaults should be taken humbly. Despite inspiring several blacks around the world, the media and market insist that “good-looking blonde girls” are the ideal winners. An example proving this theory is that Maria Sharapova is the highest paid athlete, even though Sharapova trails Williams in the standings on the tennis court. Ultimately, the article states that winning cannot cure racism.
I have always thought that people like Serena Williams and Barak Obama were examples of black excellence and that their power and brilliance were steps towards diminishing racism. After reading Rankine’s article, I have realized that this not actually the case: Racism is an ongoing issue and the reality is that blacks experience much more pressure than whites. A strength that I have recognized while reading “The Meaning of Serena Williams” is that the author gives many examples as to why Williams is subject to judgment on and off the court. I agree with the article’s main idea that there is an ideal image of excellence, and I have learned that humanity’s general ideal is not one of a dark-skinned individual. I respect Williams for having maintained her strength and focus despite being discriminated. I believe that this article does an admirable job of displaying Serena Williams as a winner while accurately describing her struggles with racism.
Rankine, C. (2015). The Meaning of Serena Williams. New York Times, N.A., MM39. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/magazine/the-meaning-of-serena-william....