Volcana, when I was growing up (partially in the South, partially in the NY/NJ area) I firmly believed that it was the most important thing for every black american to achieve as much as fast as possible in order to make it easier for the next person who came along. I am a mostly suburban kid (6th-7th,10th & 11th grade were spent in the hood) and most of my friends are white. As a result I was truly stuck in that "representing my race thing" most of my life.
I was popular and partied a lot but I was always aware that if I went as nuts as my buddies did, the only one everybody would remember "breakin' stuff" the next day was me, so I kept control.
I ended up in a very good school and went on to an "advanced degree" at an even better school.
Once I had a chance meeting with a young black man who was trying to choose between law schools and one of them was Harvard. I immediately told him that if he didn't go to Harvard, he better have a damn good reason because to settle for less than the best was taking a space in another good (but not quite Harvard level) school from another kid who can't go to Harvard but would be thrilled to go to "the other school".
I've mellowed considerably since then (that was back in '95); but that ethic of achievement is very real!
I don't believe anyone has responsibility to their race over their personal comfort/happiness, etc. anymore.
But I also like to remember all the people who had to put race before all (J. Robinson, A. Gibson, A. Ashe, M. King Jr, a certain Mr. X who I am quite fond of, and the list goes on).
I hope the Sisters are playing for themselves and for fun; but the other motivation is definitely very very real.
No offense to Zina, McNeil and the others before Venus but the real deal is that the Williams Sisters are the most attractive representives of female black america to grace the tennis courts because they bring the "thunder and lightning", they kick ass, they aren't trying to assimilate into any old school "thanks for letting me play your game" crap (sorry but that's why I preferred Connors to Ashe).
To take race out of it Connors stepped on the court (with his mean ass Grandma at his side) and kicked ass, love him or hate him. He stuck to his guns and eventually was accepted for being himself.
Venus and Serena are getting there.
I still feel a little sad when I think about Serena in that MTV special pointing out that Americans don't cheer for her when she's playing other Americans.
But just like with Connors, all the sisters need to do is keep winning and the crowds will come around.
Haters may say they're boring, but who brought the US Open to prime time?
Wasn't Lindsay and JCap.
Ps. Your post in "Kim has haters" was one of the best rebuttals I've witnessed since I started reading these boards.
And for the idiots who like to pull two words from my posts and then attack what I "said" - I'm going to repeat my point...
"I hope the Sisters are playing for themselves and for fun; but the other motivation is definitely very very real."