Getty Images/Facebook

Getty Images/Facebook

Serena Williams won the semifinals match against Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open this past Thursday and will take on Angelique Kerber in the finals today. “I kind of relish every win and every final and every match now. I think, maybe in the past I didn’t as much. I was just like going through the motions,” Williams said. “Even though I was super excited, I just feel like now it’s even more exciting,” she said. As usual, fans were in the stands emphatically cheering on the tennis great but one in particular took her enthusiasm to a place it need not ever go. Holding up a sign beside a friend that read, “Keep Calm And Be Serena,” the young woman wore blackface to the sports event, leading many to one main question, “Why?”

For her sake, let’s hope this ignorance is nowhere near the court at finals.

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  • Mary Burrell

    They always make an arse of themselves what an idiot.

  • caligirl

    this person was not a fan. she knew exactly what she was doing.

  • Emma Knight

    I am an African American living in Australia and this does not surprise me at all. I am sure she thinks there is nothing wrong with her behavior and that I would be the racist if I said anything.

    Australians are so deeply racist and they have no idea, absolutely no idea. They don’t have any understanding of white privilege or diversity and are NOT OPEN TO A CONVERSATION. Australia is very homogeneous, 96% white, everyone is basically middle class and for the most part grew up the same. There isn’t even an east coast/west coast cultural difference. Because everyone in their life is the same as they are, they think the entire world is that way. They don’t have the capacity to understand that different people have different experiences. They don’t understand poverty or discrimination or diversity and are not interested in any alternative points of view. Unless you are “The Happy Immigrant” (They actually call people that) your voice is denied. Yet they believe themselves to be a free and open society.

    • dwntomars

      Girl, MOVE!

    • Mary Burrell

      Wow

    • Rico

      Just curious, How is life there for you?

    • Emma Knight

      It is very safe and clean and carefree and the people for the most part are nice enough on a day to day superficial level, as soon as they hear my American accent I am treated quite well. But, the constant casual racism that is embedded in the fibre of the culture is exhausting, it is unintentional for the most part but that really does not make it OK. I have to be very white to get by here socially and that is suffocating. It can be very lonely at times, I cannot fully relax even though there is no real threat. I feel as though I have to translate all of my thought and ideas into another language before I can speak. Everywhere I go all of the time I am usually the only person of color in the room. I cannot be honest or completely myself with anyone.

      In general, I really don’t like Australian men, I find them very ignorant, very sexist and shockingly racist. The longer I am here the harder it is for me to be around them. There are exceptions of course, and they do have a calmness and relaxed energy that is hard to find in Americans. Australian women LOVE African American men, I think is is easier for men to get by here.

      The lifestyle is amazing, it really is, good weather, 4 to 6 weeks paid holiday, high wages, free medical, 8 hour work day. It is expensive, but I somehow how not matter your wages make it work. It is an ideal destination for someone white, for the rest of us it is possible to carve out a good life, if you are prepared to keep your native tongue private.

  • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

    That’s no fan. But people will say the history is different here, we didn’t know, you can’t apply your American experience to us, wah, wah. Yes, this from the country that classified the Aborigines of that land under fauna (as in ‘flora and fauna’) until the 1980s and holds Australia Day on the day white people first landed there and began the genocide. Aborigines there want the day changed to some other day and to perhaps change the day on which it is already celebrated into a day of mourning, or something to that effect. Do I have to tell you how much support they’re getting. Pish-posh.

    • Emma Knight

      On this point I would say that the respectful thing to do when you are a fan is to respect the beliefs of the person you admire so…the “you can’t apply your American experience to us” does not work if you are the fan of an African American Woman, you should behave in a way that an African America Woman would find decent and respectful. Making an excuse for not respecting the culture of your guest is an example of white privilege. Minorities are expected to respect the culture of the white ruling class at all times…in many places and under many circumstances it can be a matter of life and death.

      I know we agree on this point I am just saying it in the way I would say it to an Australian.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      I always see people defending their crap by saying that they’re doing it out of respect. It happens so much when people wear War Bonnets, for example. Every time it happens, there’s a chorus of people who claim that they do it because they admire the beauty of it, so Native Americans should feel flattered by it. But it’s so evident that they don’t have the respect that they claim to have because they hear so, so many people who are Native American telling that they don’t feel flattered and that it is disrespectful and outline the reasons why it’s inappropriate for people to wear the headdresses. Inevitably, they are told that they’re being too sensitive, that they need to ‘get over’ things and that they’re trying to censor people. I’m not a big fan of the, ‘You need to shut the hell up when I’m respecting you’ mentality.

      As for Australians not understanding the history of blackface, I’m not buying it because I hear of multiple cases every year of people wearing it over there and getting backlash over it and trotting out the same tired excuse. How many times does it take you to learn things? I guess it doesn’t get through when your fingers are in your ears. It’s entitlement, pure and simple, to have so, so much available to you but you’re going claw and bite for this one little thing that you’re told you can’t do. You want the n-word so much, fine take it–but you also have to take getting shot or raped on site by cops and having those actions applauded by a significant portion of the world. Is that a deal?

    • Emma Knight

      I agree. I do think we are in agreement here. I am not sure what part of my comment you are objecting to.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      None of it. I don’t know why you think I’m disagreeing with you.

  • Brian L.

    Not that we don’t see this in America at times (we still do), but this happens all the time in European and predominantly-European-descent populations, where they’re a bazillion miles away from the touchier issue of race here in America. I laugh every time someone tries to tell me how “progressive” Europe and other European-occupied nations are compared to America.

    Nah, white nations are pretty much fucked up everywhere you go. It’s just that here in America, we’ve confronted the issue far more than most others, and so it’s significantly more controversial here. Everyone else is pretty relaxed on it–that is, except when American media covers it.

    Hell, ask a non-white athlete in Europe like some of the black soccer stars there–they’ll regale you in stories for hours about what lingering issues that supposedly “in the past” they still at times face today.

    Because Europe and Australia talks even less about the lingering issues of race that even America does, and so folks mistake the silence as “progress,” but you still see stuff like this appearing from time to time.

    And typically only American media raising issue about it. Like here.