Race to the bottom
In sport the rules are exactly the same for everybody to play by, whether they are black or white, but victim politics is doing its best to blur that principle
It’s not easy being white. Juggling all of that power and privilege in our pasty little hands is no simple task, let me tell you. Things become even more complicated for us white males, who according to leftist authorities on such matters are the most privileged and powerful of all human beings anywhere. Which explains, I guess, why so many millions of us coasted harmlessly through World War I, the Great Depression and World War II, among other historical events. Without our treasured privilege, those little incidents may even have cost us a few precious white male lives. Various issues of white authority were recently raised by a tennis court confrontation between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos. To briefly recap, Williams called Ramos a liar and a thief after he’d docked her a couple of points for rules violations. As such things go, this wasn’t exactly on a level with Rosa Parks being ordered to the back of a bus 63 years ago in segregated Alabama. Yet a number of commentators seem to believe it’s even worse. “The injustices Serena routinely faces are deeply connected to her simultaneous existence as both black and a woman,” wrote Elizabeth Adetiba, a University of Chicago researcher studying “the implementation of transitional justice in postrevolutionary states”, whatever the hell that means. Williams has collected more than $100 million for patting a ball around a tennis court, and added a further million or so for her two lousy sets against US Open winner Naomi Osaka. The official she abused picked up $600. Just as well he had all of that white male privilege to fall back on, otherwise this might seem a little imbalanced, justice-wise. “Any attempt to unwind the two — to privilege one factor of her identity over another for the sake of making her experiences universal — ends up communicating the same message professional tennis has sent to her for years: we’ll accept you, but only with conditions,” Adetiba continued.
To be clear, those conditions are as follows: play by the same rules as everybody else.
“The showdown with Ramos, as usual, triggered the contempt of tennis purists who still can’t stand to see the game dominated by a black woman from Compton,” Adetiba claimed.
Now, I’m no tennis purist, but I’ve been a huge Serena fan ever since she turned up at a Wimbledon press conference in 2009 wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: “Are you looking at my titles?” The lady has a raunchy sense of humour, when she isn’t abusing court officials and pretending she’s a victim.
Speaking of which, racial concerns have now become so fraught in the US that the University of Maryland lately announced a counselling program offering a “safe space for white students”.
“This group offers a safe space for white students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings,” a description of the program explained. “Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they fit into a diverse world.”
Er, OK. The program subsequently changed its name (originally White Awake) and altered its aims following intense criticism. “The world is a space for white people to talk in,” one student told the university’s campus newspaper, which is true unless you’re a target of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s language enforcers.
Racial obsession, now extended even to tennis disputes, threatens to undermine decades of progress. It is intriguing to wonder how the actions of white man Bill Kurtzman might be interpreted were a similar circumstance to occur in 2018.
In the late 1950s, you see, Kurtzman noticed a young Aboriginal girl peering through the fence at Barellan’s War Memorial Tennis Court and invited her inside to play.
Was this an act of white paternalism? Or of diminishing Aboriginal culture by introducing the little girl to a white sport? Beats me, but things all seemed to work out. A few years later, in 1971, Evonne Goolagong won her first Wimbledon crown and used the prize money to buy her mother the family’s first washing machine.
“Some of my best friends are white,” Goolagong wrote in her completely charming 1975 autobiography, Evonne! On the Move.
“Without them there would have been no tennis, no tournaments, no discovering and refining this talent that I have for pursuing and pummeling a ball. It is not a talent that necessarily enriches mankind, but entertainment does have a value. It enhances life … There would have been no beginning if Bill Kurtzman hadn’t taken a liking to me.”
Goolagong went on to win 11 grand slam singles titles, including Wimbledon in 1980 after becoming a mother herself. For all her millions, that is an achievement Serena Williams is yet to match.
Must be the white man keeping her down.
Racial obsession, now extended even to tennis disputes, threatens to undermine decades of progress