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All4Williams
Jun 25th, 2003, 02:59 PM
Tennis is racist - it's time we did something about it

As race courses through the veins of tennis, people pretend it doesn't exist

Martin Jacques
Wednesday June 25, 2003

When Serena Williams was beaten by Justine Henin-Hardenne in the French Open semi-final, she was booed every time she questioned a decision - even when she was clearly in the right. And, towards the end of the match, every first serve she missed was greeted with loud cheers.

Unsurprisingly, Williams was reduced to tears. At the end, she was booed off, just as her sister Venus had been after her defeat by Russia's Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round. Various explanations were offered to explain the crowd 's hostility to Serena, including support for the underdog and the number of Belgians there. Both were no doubt part of the explanation but the most likely - racism - barely got a mention.

The antipathy of a tennis crowd is hardly a new experience for the Williams sisters In the semi-finals of the US Open last year, the American crowd supported Amélie Mauresmo of France rather than Venus: for the overwhelmingly white, middle-class crowd, the bond of colour clearly counted for more than the bond of nation.

During a second round match at this year 's Roland Garros, when a blonde American teenager, Ashley Harkleroad, knocked out Daniela Hantuchova, the Eurosport commentator, a former player, excitedly de clared that perhaps America had found the women 's champion it was looking for. And the Williams sisters, pray? Sorry, wrong colour.

At the Indian Wells final in 2001, Serena was jeered the moment she appeared on court and was booed throughout. Her father, Richard, described how, as "Venus and I were walking down the stairs to our seats, people kept calling me ****. One guy said, 'I wish it was '75 [alluding to the Los Angeles race riots ] we'd skin you alive.'"

None of this should be surprising. Tennis is an overwhelmingly white middle-class sport, both in those who play and those who watch. Until the Williams' emergence, the only previous black grand-slam champions were Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah. Western societies - be they European or American - are deeply racist: notwithstanding that veneer of politeness and refinement, the middle-class is certainly no exception.

Although Venus and Serena got a warm reception in their opening matches at Wimbledon, the fact is there will be few brown or black faces in the crowd, and little understanding or sympathy for what it is like to be black from spectators, commentators or tennis reporters. For the great majority, the sisters are from an alien world compared with their white opponents.

The extraordinary thing is that this is hardly ever written or said. As race courses through the veins of tennis, people pretend it doesn't exist. Instead the Williams sisters, together with their father, are subjected to a steady stream of criticism, denigration, accusation and innuendo: their physique is somehow an unfair advantage (those of Afro descent are built differently), they are arrogant and aloof (they are proud and self-confident), they are not popular with the other players (they come from a very different culture and, let us not forget, there is plenty of evidence of racism among their colleagues: comments made by Martina Hingis spring to mind, not to mention the behaviour of Lleyton Hewitt towards a black linesman in last year 's US Open).

And Richard, a man of some genius, is painted as a ridiculous and absurd figure, match-fixer, svengali and the rest of it. Most racism - especially middle-class racism - is neither crude nor explicit but subtle and nuanced, masquerading as fair comment about personal qualities rather than the prejudice it is.

The achievement of the Williams sisters is towering. Coming from a black ghetto in Los Angeles, riven by drugs and guns, they have scaled the heights of what their father has accurately described as a "lilywhite sport ", with enormous verve and skill, and in the process have dealt with the prejudice of the tennis establishment, the players, the crowds and the media with great grace and dignity.

It is often said that one of the reasons crowds favour their opponents is that they like to side with the underdog. Yet, when the Williamses arrived on the scene, they rarely received support, even though they were the underdogs. And, by any standards, given what and where they have come from, Venus and Serena remain just that.

Now that sport has made the transition to the main stream of society and, by the same token, from the back to the front pages, it is not good enough to pretend that sport - any sport - is a culture free, value free zone. The ubiquity of racism in football is just beginning to get the attention it deserves. And so it should: football houses the biggest single manifestation of racism in most European societies. And the same goes for other sports. It is no longer good enough for reporters and commentators to turn a blind eye to racism.

Tennis - including lily-white Wimbledon - should be no exception.

controlfreak
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:20 PM
Maybe there is racial hostility in tennis, but no more so than in any other sport or indeed any everyday situation in any part of the globe.

The reason it manifests itself most in sports is that when the adrenaline starts to flow, people lose their self-control and start to act on their most basic instincts (in other words they act without thinking). And racial hostility is a fundamental human instinct that is programmed into all of us. Don't try to deny it.

Surely by understanding and embracing the fact that racism is a built-in human trait and cannot be changed, we can nullify the psychological effects of racist comments and behaviour.

In other words, all Serena Williams needs to do is say to herself "Oh well, they're only human, they're getting excited and losing control over their natural racist tendencies, they can't help it so I'll forgive them and won't take offence" then she would no longer need to be affected by such behaviour as she was at the French Open.

If she wants to be the world's best tennis player you would think she would try to train herself in some basic psychological and mental toughness techniques like this one.

JPV
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:20 PM
you forgot to mention it's only a Guardian Comment, so no official article.

Martin Jacques is the former editor of Marxism Today btw, so very biased & hardly a well informed journalist, i guess.

Better check someone who doesn't have a political (extreme) view on it, and who knows more about the situation.

btw: i'm socialist, so you couldn't say i hate lefties ;)

JoeyWinson3.0
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:21 PM
It's up to the tennis authorities to do more. Over here we have the Kick Racism out of Football campaign who put a lot of hard work into promoting multicultural and multi faith awareness into the game for Football, what surprises me is that there aren't any initiatives like this in tennis.

great smash
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:22 PM
:rolleyes:

I don't think Rubin ever got booed by a crowd. I still don't believe in this racism thing. Well there's always a minority, but what happened at the French was something else. Even Serena herself makes a distinction between Indian Wells and the French

JoeyWinson3.0
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:25 PM
"Comments by Martina Hingis spring to mind"

???

Havok
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:29 PM
my god, why is it always linked to racism???? i mean if the crowd doesn't like a player, and they boo them, it's not because of their skin, its because they just dont like them. the french crowd didnt want to see Serena win again, and wanted justine as their new chanmpion, so they did everything they could have done to achieve this. does Serena get booed everytime she steps foot on court? no, so it's not a race issue. it's just maybe ignorant people, or roudy people

gentenaire
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:31 PM
and why was that same crowd cheering on Yannick Noah for so long?

controlfreak has a point, in sport, people tend to lose control and basic instincts kick in. David Beckham gets lots of insults thrown at him, people wishing his kid would get cancer, that kind of thing. Had he been black, the insults would have been different and probably very racist. Either way, he'd get insults. People just look at the easiest way to insult a person, in the case of a black person, a racist comment is the easiest. It's absolutely disgusting and these kind of people shouldn't be given the platform to get rid of their hatred in such a way.

Anyway, I believe the Williams sisters would have received just as much criticism had they been white, they'd have crowds against them even then. I do believe the insults would be different and that certain people who can't stand them now would like them, also that people who love them now, would hate them. I think these two compensate one another.

Cam'ron Giles
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:36 PM
my god, why is it always linked to racism???? i mean if the crowd doesn't like a player, and they boo them, it's not because of their skin, its because they just dont like them. the french crowd didnt want to see Serena win again, and wanted justine as their new chanmpion, so they did everything they could have done to achieve this. does Serena get booed everytime she steps foot on court? no, so it's not a race issue. it's just maybe ignorant people, or roudy people

Naldo, with all due respect a little sensitivity and acceptance will take you a long way...Dont act as if you know when in fact you have never been in the position. Try to listen and understand that it is not always "crying wolf" but a legitimate cry for awareness...Please dont be so quick to brush it off...take it from a person who knows...

mishar
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:45 PM
There's much that's true in this article, and I do think a lot of the bizarre hostility comes from racism, but I don't think crowds never support them. I've been at many matches in NY where the crowd supports V & S vociferously, also in Florida... and let's remember, at least in the US, the crowds are not always "lily-white" anymore. Partly because of V&S, the audience for tennis is much more diverse than it used to be.

theultimateone
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:46 PM
Finally, someone speaking the TRUTH. Whatever paper this author writes for, it doesn't take away the fact that what he says is true. A lot of nonsense and untruths are written everyday by writers from so-called reputable papers, but I wouldn't trust what they write anymore than the liars who protest too much on this board.

Rtael
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:48 PM
Hey! I got an F on a test! Grr....those prejudiced bastards gave me an F cause I'm gay! I'm telllllling!

Foot_Fault
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:52 PM
Great Smash.....

this is not to demean her in anyway....But the reality is, Chanda Rubin does not threaten the great white empire, Chanda Rubin is no a Grand Slam Champion, so she isn't a threat to the White Establishment of Tennis.

Now, once Chanda or if Chanda crosses the threashold...believe me it will change. Perhaps.

JMHO

Cybelle Darkholme
Jun 25th, 2003, 03:59 PM
my god, why is it always linked to racism???? i mean if the crowd doesn't like a player, and they boo them, it's not because of their skin, its because they just dont like them. the french crowd didnt want to see Serena win again, and wanted justine as their new chanmpion, so they did everything they could have done to achieve this. does Serena get booed everytime she steps foot on court? no, so it's not a race issue. it's just maybe ignorant people, or roudy people


you have a point its not always racism but then again sometimes it is. I want to know why do you always act as if its not racism? Did you personally go and interview each and every person in the crowd? So if not then racism could explain SOME of it. Like the fact that when serena played jen at last years french the crowd was for jen even though serena was the underdog? I guess they didn't want to see a new french open champion then huh? Funny how the williams sisters are always on the negative end of these issues.

the point is that cheering for justine could be expected but to boo and hiss and act like asses toward serena? Please. Serena did nothing wrong.

In aussieland serena did nothing wrong and they acted the same way.

oh and didn't the french boo venus after her loss because she didn't speak to their french reporter? However agassi didnt do any french interview on court after his loss so where were his boos?

great smash
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:00 PM
Great Smash.....

this is not to demean her in anyway....But the reality is, Chanda Rubin does not threaten the great white empire, Chanda Rubin is no a Grand Slam Champion, so she isn't a threat to the White Establishment of Tennis.

Now, once Chanda or if Chanda crosses the threashold...believe me it will change. Perhaps.

JMHO

Well, let's hope that's not going to happen, as it would be really sad. But racism or not, the French crowd is the worst I know anyway, and it they have shown this behaviour before, not just against black players. They are just too fanatic!

theultimateone
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:02 PM
Rtael,
From your posts on this board, it is no surprise that you would receive F's on your tests. Stupidity shown in one arena, doesn't vanish when one goes into another arena. By the way, thanks for the negative rep. points. It warms my heart to know I am doing a great job!!

Mrs. Peel
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:08 PM
Rtael,
From your posts on this board, it is no surprise that you would receive F's on your tests. Stupidity shown in one arena, doesn't vanish when one goes into another arena. By the way, thanks for the negative rep. points. It warms my heart to know I am doing a great job!!


LMFAO!!! Spot On!!! :wavey: :wavey:

Scorch
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:11 PM
"Comments by Martina Hingis spring to mind"

???

I can't remember her saying anything racist either?

Foot_Fault
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:23 PM
Agreed Great Smash,

If i remember correctly they treated Martina Hingis Pretty bad in '99.

tennisfan1972
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:29 PM
Martina said something to the effect that Venus and serena receive huge endorsements because they were black. the implications from this were that Venus and Serena were not good tennis players but just were black and so received alot of endorsements. So Serena's rebuttal was that she received endorsements because she was good and the fact that she had in fact beat hingis to win her lone grand slam title. She later proved how good she and Venus were by beating Hingis' azz really badly each time thereafterand while Hingis was ranked number 1 and serena ranked number 10. Serena served 100% in the second set against her, it was a classic match of domination in my opinion. what a year that was for drama on the WTA, i think Hingis' mouth caused her a lot of matches. U just knew Serena and Venus were praying to have a shot at kickingher azz and running her all over that court. damn i miss their rivalry. that was great stuff. WIlliams vs Belgiums dont quite get me as excited as Williams/Hingis did. ::SIGH::

persond
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:38 PM
:rolleyes:

I don't think Rubin ever got booed by a crowd. I still don't believe in this racism thing. Well there's always a minority, but what happened at the French was something else. Even Serena herself makes a distinction between Indian Wells and the French


:cool: Just keep "your head" buried in the sand...!!! Rubin is perceived as an "acceptable" Black; no threat to the "status quo". I bet you a "fat man" that if Chanda started winning Slams and dominating the game, her "Black ass" would be treated the same as any other successful dominant Black person.

I really wish "your not believing in this racism thing" means it'll all go away. NOT!!! If and when people "own up" and "take responsibility" will we make any real in-roads into "racism". Burying ones head in the sand and pretending it doesn't exist is really "non-productive"!!!

gentenaire
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:41 PM
:cool: Just keep "your head" buried in the sand...!!! Rubin is perceived as an "acceptable" Black; no threat to the "status quo". I bet you a "fat man" that if Chanda started winning Slams and dominating the game, her "Black ass" would be treated the same as any other successful dominant Black person.

Then how do you explain the treatment V & S got before they started dominating?

BCP
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:41 PM
I think that it's a little unfair to make such a gross generalisation.

Sure, some of the crowds may be racist, but I think that this article takes the whole thing a little far. I think that it has less to do with tennis as a sport, and a lot to do with individual people.

Just a couple of points to counter the article:

1. how does the writer justify the french crowd booing Hingis and Pierce amonst others to tears, whilst giving adoration to Yannick Noah, and Michael Chang?


2. the writer also claimed that tennis is overwhelmingly white and middle-class. I agree that tennis is overwhelmingly middleclass, but tennis is massive in Asia- not too white to me.

3. why doesn't Ai Sugyama, Paradon Schripshipan and the other Asian players get subjected to the overwhelming and obvious racism that exists- there are other races than black and white you know

4. The writer says that this subject is hardly covered in the press. I beg to differ. It was mentioned as a possibility in nevery article I have read regarding that French Open semi, and was the focal point of the plethora of articles regarding the Indian Wells Tournament.

My take on this issue for what it is worth is this:

1. I totally agree that tennis is a middle-class sport. Like golf, to play it is quite expensive- club membership fees, racquets, strings, balls, all cost a lot of money. In the past 20 years, many hardworking high profile people from Leslie Allen, Zina Garrison, Billie Jean King, etc (and many white and asian players as well) have set up tennis clinics to try to reach underprivileged kids, so hopefully we'll see some future champions from these programs come through (I acknowledge that Venus and Serena did not come from these programs).

2. IMHO ( and I have no experience in this) gifted black althletes have tended to choose more glamourous sports such as track & field, basketball, etc. Part of this may have been due to the fact that becuase tennis was so expensive to get into when they were young, they never bothered with it. It has taken Asian tennis many decades for a handful of palyers to emerge. In general Asian people are not as athletically gifted as black people, so the range of sports available for them to excel in is less-there is much more choice for gifted black athletes.

3. In relation to Venus and Serena, the sometimes harsh recation they receive I think comes down to the following:

- they have dominated the sport. I believe it is true that sometimes crowds give the number 1 a really hard time. It happened to Evert, Nav, Graf, Seles, and Hingis. Martina Nav was reduced to tears after the 84 USO final becuase the crowd so wanted Chris to win, after being beaten by Martina 13 straight times, and Martina on a 5 stright GS winning streak.

- to say that all tennis crowds are racist all the time, or even generally, is wrong. Venus and serena have many fans, and many crowds around the world adore then.

- V&S are strong confident women, who in the past, shocked some of the otherwise conservative tennis crowds when they first came with their confidence and their predictions. Some of their comments were not particularly polite to some of their rivals. Maybe some of the members of the crowd remember this, and becuase of this V & S aren't their fav, so they will cheer whoever else is on the other side of the net

- there are many black tennis fans. There are many black posters on this board, who I assume are tennis fans, so extending this out, I think that the black fan base is only growing.

Sorry for rambling on, but I needed to get this off my chest. I didn't want to be labeled a racist just becuase I followed tennis, and attended tennis matches. To say that all the majority of tennis fans are white and racist is wrong. However, to say that there are no racist individuals within tennis is also incorrect.

tennischick
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:50 PM
:worship: the Guardian :worship:

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:59 PM
The funniest line in that bit of rubbish loosely called an article was this one

The extraordinary thing is that this [racism]is hardly ever written or said


He needs to come to this board more often-he'll get more than his fill here:)

tennischick
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:11 PM
Rollo:
i think what he meant was that it doesn't get addressed in the print and TV media. that is indeed true.

i think he's right actually. and while i don't believe that everyone in any crowd that has boo'ed the Sisters are racist, or that that is the ONLY motive for why there is such a coolness towards them, i think it IS a component of the reaction to them. and all he's asking is that that be acknolwedged and discussed more formally. WTAworld hardly qualifies...:o

Greenout
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:12 PM
How about exposing "racism" and "Elitism" at
the All England Club at WIMBLEDON? How come
it's not open to non-members? Why hasn't WIMBLEDON
opened it's door to people of all economic incomes
instead of dragging a bunch of cute kids and letting them
play on the grounds for a media photo shoot and brag
about how tennis is for everybody in England.

You may say what you want about the French; but
at least their tennis federation has a scholarship program
for young talented children and teens in France at
the Roland Garros tennis complex. Obviously from the
amount of tennis players that have come out of France
in the past 2 decades from the French Tennis Federation
program; it's a rousing success.

BCP
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:19 PM
Greenout...my point precisely. I think that generally around the world, tennis is still very middle class, though there are a lot of people looking to get underpriviledged people access to tennis. Wimbeldon is a microcosm of English society- very hierarchical, and class driven. So yes, very elite. (but I don't see how racism comes into it- they treat poor white, asian, and blacks all the same).

English elitism explains why English tennis (esp the women) are doing so poorly. They haven't had a decent player since Jo Durie..............

Greenout
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:27 PM
Personally, I think there is racism in tennis, and
sports in general. For example years ago Soccer
was considered something only for immigrants.
I'm speaking before the big girls soccer/soccer mom
thing. Soccer has always had a not cool, and not
American image in the USA.

Alot of white people like hockey because it's mainly
a white sport. These people also may enjoy Nascar
racing. Formula 1 isn't very big in the USA. Why?
I suspect mainly because non-American cars are
used in the sport, and jingoistic, and bit of racisms
rears it's ugly head.

Golf? In Hawaii- there are certain golf country clubs
that were started by wealthy non-whites purely for
the reason that they were not allowed in the older
bigger golf clubs.

Look at marathons. There seems to be alot of resentment
toward Kenyans for being so successful in long distance
running? Why is that? Could it be because their not
American? or European? Is it because their Africans?

Greenout
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:31 PM
BCP- I live in Southeast Asia, and let me tell you
tennis is considered an upper middle class sport.
Lessons are very expensive, and the equipment
needed is also expensive. The lower classes
don't even consider playing tennis themselves.

It's worse in Japan, and Korea. Tennis over at
these countries are considered mainly for people
of leisure. Yuppies, blue bloods, university students-

spokenword73
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:33 PM
Those who continue to deny racism are the most racist of all, IMO. It's not true all sports are racist...
things said about the Williams sisters would never be said about say Shaq or Kobe or AI or any NBA star...could it be sexism be the culprit as well??

Greenout
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:37 PM
Let's add in sexism too. Why all the fuss about
power tennis in the women's game?

spokenword73
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:39 PM
Right! Women was supposed to be danity and shy, aren't they? LOL

theultimateone
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:44 PM
Greenout,
Thanks for bringing reality to some who wish to remain in fantasy land. I was about to respond to BCP, but your responses cover all that needs to be said. Too many believe that as long as they continue to DENY what IS (truth), that what IS(truth) will cease to exist. Truth, no matter how long denied, will eventually rise to shine its light.

Cybelle Darkholme
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:53 PM
I agree with the kenya thing. Can you believe that certain marathons actually considered limiting the number of kenyans who could enter? If that isn't blatant racism I dont know what is. You didn't see them limiting the number of germans or americans or whoever. Then what would they do if the kenyans get citizenship in another country? bar all those people too? please its so biased and racist sometimes its disgusting.

Fyndh0rnElf
Jun 25th, 2003, 05:57 PM
you have a point its not always racism but then again sometimes it is. I want to know why do you always act as if its not racism?
the point is that cheering for justine could be expected but to boo and hiss and act like asses toward serena? Please. Serena did nothing wrong.

In aussieland serena did nothing wrong and they acted the same way.


Most of the people in the french crowd were either french or french speaking belgians like Henin, so they were supporting her. The french crowd doesn't admit anything from the opponent's part, and the only thing that Serena did was asking for a 1st serve, which is basically enough for them to freak out.

Serena also paid in the 1/2s the attitude(don't you think you're gonna beat me again, 'cause I'm gonna kill you) she took in the 1/4s, which was awful! She would have won the match anyway 'cause Mauresmo was overwhelmed by the press, but compromised her tournament from then on!

Don't take me wrong, Serena Williams is an extremely nice person and the greatest player right now, but sometimes you have to act humble when you're on top 'cause everyone wants to see the no1 fall badly(Hingis was hated, but when she was no longer on top almost everybody liked her again). Add to that the fact that most people(black/red/white/whatever) are racist, because they can't help it(although some can control it) and when their primal instincts are summoned, they express themselves in an ugly way - example french crowd

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:02 PM
I agree with the kenya thing.

Agreed Cybelle. That's dead wrong.


Tennis Chick-if you want to give me a dollar for every print and/or internet article dealing with racism AND tennis in the past few years I'll gladly go digging:) Even a good deal of the WTA threads on the topic get started with an article such as this one.

And these articles often have one thing in common: writers who know nothing about tennis nor its history. Read BCP's post.

tenn_ace
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:08 PM
Vera was also booed after her match against Venus...

Paneru
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:13 PM
I'll just say this,
Racism or any other form of discrimination is always easier to knock when you're not the one on the recieving end of it. I don't think in this case it is all about racism but you'd be fooling yourself to say it doesn't play a part. It's all about perception and people must be conscious of how our words and actions affect others. Some people say you can't always be PC, however we all have predjudices that can be done away with or controlled if more people would step outside of themselves to see the world around them and open themselves up to the fact that certain people do things certain ways but always be concious of not generalizing ever person of a group based on a few.

I personally don't think anything in this world is as much about race as it is about difference of culture and people willing to open themselves up and step out of their comfort zone. That's how I feel.

korben
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:19 PM
:rolleyes:

(compeletely offtopic in lower lever ice hockey match black guy said to white guy " U wanna fight, white boy", , "Sure, black boy" and white man got 3 game suspension because of that racistic comment)

apoet29
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:20 PM
It is difficult to know why any player is booed. I believe that there are usually a myraid of reasons behind the crowds like or dislike of a player. To say that it is simply racism that causes crowds to boo at Serena and Venus is, in my opinion, generalizing their situation.

In the end, it will depend on the character of the player to rise above the bullshit she has to deal with. Serena, Monica, Venus, Jennifer and others have had their own struggles to deal with and how they choose to rise above them is the mark of a champion.

persond
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:26 PM
Then how do you explain the treatment V & S got before they started dominating?


Racism,, "pure and simple"...!!! :p :p :p :p

theultimateone
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:29 PM
Racism is NOT innate. It is a LEARNED behavior. Sadly, those who participate in it do so because of what they have witnessed from their parents, grandparents, and others around them. Interestingly, while learning this behavior, one is also being taught how to DENY its existence, if ever confronted. Hence, while one perpetuates this evil, denial allows you continue the practice.

I am sure we all are familiar with the saying that as long as you deny something exist, you can convince yourself there is no reason for change. However, once you ADMIT there is a problem, most intelligent people will work to make a change.

The reason this ADMITTANCE and CHANGE won't come about anytime soon is because those who participate in racists acts do so because of the benefits derived from such behavior. Most individuals who participate and perpetuate such behavior do so because they know they would not be in the positions they are in without it.

Curtis F
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:36 PM
It's threads like this that makes me even happier to be Asian. Nobody ever notices us. We do our best. We assimilate ourselves into the tour. Win a few titles here and there. Score a few upsets once in a awhile. We're not a threat. We're not a scapegoat. We just try to compete to the best of our abilities despite a noticeable disadvantage or two. Here's to the classy Asian players. :)

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:40 PM
Nice post Kabuke:)

LOL@ Curtis. Just wait til some giant Chinese woman comes along and dominates the game in 8 or 9 years-and gets booed. Might be interesting.

Hulet
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:42 PM
In an attempt to be objective, let's see only the facts (I am mostly rehashing what's being said here):
1) Venus and Serena mostly get rough treatment from the crowd.
2) This rough present during matches in which they are underdog and during matches they were favourite to win.
3) Other players of the same complexion (James Blake and Chandra Rubin for example) don't get as much of a stick from the crowd as the sisters.
4) In terms of success in the tour, these "other" players are not on par with venus and serena.
5) The william sisters are often accused of arrogance, although whether this actually is the case is very debateable, so is not really a fact - only the accusation is.
6) Other players with a much more acute case of arrogance or other unclassy behaviour are not treated as badly as the sisters.
6) The sisters have been "dominating" the tour and it's a human nature to get bored by it and to see a different winner for a change. (This is going into motive of others, so might not seem fact. But, let's keep it).
7) In most of the matches the sisters play in, the crowd is predominatly of the different complexion than the sisters.

Okay. Those are all the facts I could think of. The question is how do you explain these facts into a neat model. So, here are some of the models already suggested:
1) "Crowd loves the underdog": This might seem plausible if it wasn't for the fact that the sisters are mostly rooted against by the crowd.
2) "The crowd is influenced by racism". This might be also a logical explanation if not for the simple fact that the williams-williams matches are usually brings high ratings and are sell-outs. If the crowd was so racist, they wouldn't go to watch them play against each other.
Okay I am tired of typing :) , but there are other less convincing theories like "the crowd doesn't like domination", "the crowd doesn't like arrogance", "the french crowd doesn't like americans", "the american crowd doesn't like americans"... The point is none of these theories can fully explain everything by themselves. I think cybelle hit it on the head in her post above and the answer why the crowd doesn't really root for the sisters is explained by combining all the theories. Sure, some in the crowd don't like someone dominating, others root for the underdog, and a section of the crowd (not as insignificat in numbers as some would like to put them) are also racists and are influence by it on who they want to root for. Occam's razor says "the simplest hypothesis is usually the correct one" and here the simplest hypothesis is the combination of all the theories b/c human motive is not uniform or simple.

apoet29
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:45 PM
It's threads like this that makes me even happier to be Asian. Nobody ever notices us. We do our best. We assimilate ourselves into the tour. Win a few titles here and there. Score a few upsets once in a awhile. We're not a threat. We're not a scapegoat. We just try to compete to the best of our abilities despite a noticeable disadvantage or two. Here's to the classy Asian players. :)

As an Asian myself, I cannot help but feel a little insulted by this post. Your basic argument is that Asian players do not have to deal with racism, sexism, xenophobia because they go out of their way not to be noticed? You're kidding right?

First, I'm sure that while Asian players may not stand out on the tour; they have had to deal with problems stemming from racial and gender issues. You are being very naive if you don't think that. As an Asian growing up in America and having travelled to other parts of the world, I can tell you that racism and sexism exist in every part of life and that no one can "hide" from it.

Second, you seem to imply that racial and gender insults are not hurdled at Asian players because they are classy women. While I agree that these ladies are classy and intelligent, these attributes do not exclude them from having problems with race and gender issues. By your account then, other players, who are insulted, are "asking for it" because they do not try and assimilate into the dominant culture. Many times people are insulted because they are disliked from one reason or another. No one asks to be insulted, but it does happen.

I'm sorry if I sound like a complete bitch, but I think your post is being naive at best and cruel at worst.

gentenaire
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:45 PM
Spot the difference:

black + dominating : rough treatment
black + not dominating : no rough treatment
white + dominating : rough treatment
white + not dominating : no rough treatment

Pure logic tells us that dominating is the main cause of getting a rough treatment.

Is their racism? I'm sure there is. I'm also convinced it works both ways.

Curtis F
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:51 PM
Nice post Kabuke:)

LOL@ Curtis. Just wait til some giant Chinese woman comes along and dominates the game in 8 or 9 years-and gets booed. Might be interesting.

It won't happen (the booing) because I don't think we intimidate other races and the "giant Chinese woman" you're imagining will most likely be unassuming like Kimiko.

Hulet
Jun 25th, 2003, 06:55 PM
Spot the difference:

black + dominating : rough treatment
black + not dominating : no rough treatment
white + dominating : rough treatment
white + not dominating : no rough treatment

Pure logic tells us that dominating is the main cause of getting a rough treatment.

Is their racism? I'm sure there is. I'm also convinced it works both ways.

:confused: Your pure logic rests on poor (unproven) hypothesis, namely white + dominating : rough treatment. To put it mildly, there are many who would disagree with you. :)

Curtis F
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:01 PM
As an Asian myself, I cannot help but feel a little insulted by this post. Your basic argument is that Asian players do not have to deal with racism, sexism, xenophobia because they go out of their way not to be noticed? You're kidding right?

Actually apoet29 I was poking fun at the topic and making a little statement about US (Asians). Where did I say "we go out of our way to be noticed?" I said: "Nobody ever notices us", which is usually true.

First, I'm sure that while Asian players may not stand out on the tour; they have had to deal with problems stemming from racial and gender issues. You are being very naive if you don't think that. As an Asian growing up in America and having travelled to other parts of the world, I can tell you that racism and sexism exist in every part of life and that no one can "hide" from it.

Again you misunderstood my initial post. Just because I didn't mention it doesn't mean that I think Ai, Tammy and the others never had to deal with such issues.

Second, you seem to imply that racial and gender insults are not hurdled at Asian players because they are classy women. While I agree that these ladies are classy and intelligent, these attributes do not exclude them from having problems with race and gender issues. By your account then, other players, who are insulted, are "asking for it" because they do not try and assimilate into the dominant culture. Many times people are insulted because they are disliked from one reason or another. No one asks to be insulted, but it does happen.

Again you drew conclusions that were not there.

I'm sorry if I sound like a complete bitch, but I think your post is being naive at best and cruel at worst.

Not at all, apoet29. You just overreacted to my understated humour.;)

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:01 PM
Eta Psi-why is "the crowd doesn't like domination" a less than good explanation? It fits 90% of the crowd reaction I've seen in over 30 years of watching the sport. Crowds at the US Open in 1999 were more than happy to cheer for Serena vs. Hingis. IF Hingis came back now the situation would be reversed.

Who says Asians couldn't be intimidating Curtis? It depends on perception. And if Yao Ming can be as tall as he is I'm sure a Chinese lassie over 6 ft exists somewhere in China.

GoDominique
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:04 PM
The article is a piece of shit. I don't understand why rubbish like this has to be posted here.

Most of the comments made by posters here have WAY more class than this 'article'.

Curtis F
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:05 PM
Spot the difference:

black + dominating : rough treatment
black + not dominating : no rough treatment
white + dominating : rough treatment
white + not dominating : no rough treatment

Pure logic tells us that dominating is the main cause of getting a rough treatment.

Is their racism? I'm sure there is. I'm also convinced it works both ways.

You forgot:

yellow + dominating: unknown
yellow + not dominating: minimally enthusiastic treatment

Paneru
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:05 PM
:rolleyes:

(compeletely offtopic in lower lever ice hockey match black guy said to white guy " U wanna fight, white boy", , "Sure, black boy" and white man got 3 game suspension because of that racistic comment)

One of the many double standards that need to be
broken down in this society.

Thanks Rollo!:D

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:05 PM
Eta Psi wrote:


Your pure logic rests on poor (unproven) hypothesis, namely white + dominating : rough treatment. To put it mildly, there are many who would disagree with you

Wrong Eta-it's fairly well proven. Lets conduct a little test to prove it. Name me a white dominating champ who wasn't actively disliked AND booed when dominating.

And you can forget Hingis, Graf, Seles, Navratilova, and Evert. I've seen every one of them get treatment as rough or rougher than Serena hon.

The balls in your court.

GoDominique
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:10 PM
Rollo, just out of interest: Can you give me an example for rough treatment towards Steffi ? Thanks. :)

Curtis F
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:12 PM
Eta Psi-why is "the crowd doesn't like domination" a less than good explanation? It fits 90% of the crowd reaction I've seen in over 30 years of watching the sport. Crowds at the US Open in 1999 were more than happy to cheer for Serena vs. Hingis. IF Hingis came back now the situation would be reversed.

Who says Asians couldn't be intimidating Curtis? It depends on perception. And if Yao Ming can be as tall as he is I'm sure a Chinese lassie over 6 ft exists somewhere in China.

Rollo, this article refers to the perceptions of white tennis spectators to the Williams sisters. Asians don't have the kind of "strained" relationships with whites that blacks do. For example, in my experience, living in both America (Seattle, San Francisco) and Canada (Vancouver), when whites date blacks, the relationship is considered "interracial". When whites date Asians, the relationship is considered "cross-cultural". So white tennis spectators wouldn't look at this "giant Chinese woman" as a racial threat. If there was a clash, it would be cultural but in the end, it would nowhere be as explosive as the Williams sisters and their problems with white tennis fans.

apoet29
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:13 PM
Actually apoet29 I was poking fun at the topic and making a little statement about US (Asians). Where did I say "we go out of our way to be noticed?" I said: "Nobody ever notices us", which is usually true.



Again you misunderstood my initial post. Just because I didn't mention it doesn't mean that I think Ai, Tammy and the others never had to deal with such issues.

.

Again you drew conclusions that were not there.



Not at all, apoet29. You just overreacted to my understated humour.;)

Sorry that I misunderstood you. But I've heard those statements made before and it drives me crazy that so many people think that Asians don't have to deal with said issues. We do.

raquel
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:48 PM
During a second round match at this year 's Roland Garros, when a blonde American teenager, Ashley Harkleroad, knocked out Daniela Hantuchova, the Eurosport commentator, a former player, excitedly de clared that perhaps America had found the women 's champion it was looking for. And the Williams sisters, pray? Sorry, wrong colour.


I remember the commentator saying this and I was thinking the same - the player who has won the last 4 Slams (at the time) is an American, they do not need to "look" anywhere for a champion, but I guess for some, Serena's face does not fit.

I don't think you can deny there has been a racist element in some of the Williams's matches. How else can you describe the Americans rooting for Amelie against Venus? You can argue that they were cheering the underdog, but would they cheer for Amelie against Jennifer or Lindsay? The Wimbledon crowd don't cheer for the underdog against Tim Henman and they cheer for Anne Keothavong and Arvind Parmar who are Asian-British because they all reperesent Britain. Maybe the Americans support the underdog in every match against an American, but I doubt it.


I think its wrong when people blame *anything* that goes against the Williams sisters as being racist but if you think there is NO racism at all then you are wrong.

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:52 PM
Go Dominique-I can't recall a crowd outside Germany being pro-Graf from about 1988 to 1991. For some reason it was vs. Sabatini that saw crowds behaving the worst towards Steffi. But then I wanted Gaby to win too! ;)

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Racquel-of course there is some racism involved in the anti-Williams sentiment, only a fool would deny that. By the same token there was homophobia in the public's treatment of Navratilova. But other US champs get booed-in America. Chris Evert was as apple-pie blonde as they come, and in her heyday crowds cheered against her here in the US even during Wightman Cup matches where she represented the US.

raquel
Jun 25th, 2003, 08:03 PM
Racquel-of course there is some racism involved in the anti-Williams sentiment, only a fool would deny that. By the same token there was homophobia in the public's treatment of Navratilova. But other US champs get booed-in America. Chris Evert was as apple-pie blonde as they come, and in her heyday crowds cheered against her here in the US even during Wightman Cup matches where she represented the US.
There is a couple of fools in this thread then Rollo ;)
Wow I did not know even Chris was cheered against, I thought she would always have been the favourite with the fans even if she was winning easy.

Rollo
Jun 25th, 2003, 09:35 PM
The American crowd at the US Open favored foreigners over Chris in every final she was in from 1975 until 1983, when Martina was kicking Chrissie's behind. When Aussie Wendy Turnbull ran up a 5-2 lead in the 77 US final she got a standing ovation during the changeover.

In 1974 boos and jeers from some in the crowd had Evert crying at the backstop vs. Aussie Lesley Hunt.

GoDominique
Jun 25th, 2003, 09:41 PM
Thanks for those stories, Rollo. :) I started following tennis in the late 80's but I was too little to be able to remember crowd behaviour now. :o

hingis-seles
Jun 25th, 2003, 09:44 PM
Monica was universally booed. Remember US Open 1991, when she was booed during the trohpy presentation?

Miss Thang
Jun 25th, 2003, 09:51 PM
Monica was universally booed. Remember US Open 1991, when she was booed during the trohpy presentation?

Child please. Miss Monica got booed because she gave props to Donald Trump just as they were handing her the winner's check. :rolleyes:

BCP
Jun 26th, 2003, 10:35 AM
Greenout, I never said that racism doesn't exist. I said that there are racist individuals in any walk of life.

Your post gives another example...soccer. In south east asia, soccer may have been regarded as a sport of immigrants, but I can assure you that in Europe, soccer isn't regarded in that way at all. (actually, there is a massive soccer following in countries like Vietnam and Japan- we are just not very good at it). According to your argument, then table tennis and badmiton is full of racists, as there aren't any top level black or white players.

In you next post you say that tennis is upper middle clas. I agree! It's in both my posts, so I'm confused at whether you are arguing or agreeing with me :confused:

In your next post you say that tennis is sexist becuase power tennis is being discussed in relation to women's tennis. That argument actually originated from the mens game, from Roscoe Tanner, to Boris Becker, to Invanisovic, Sampras etc. The argument of only allowing one serve to slow down powerful servers came from the men's game.......

Theutlimateone, as your name suggests, there is only one opinion which is the TRUTH, and of course, it's yours............

If you actually bothered to read my post, I don't deny that there is racism, but to say, as the article does, that all tennis fans are whitemiddle class racists is wrong....and don't lecture to me about racism....I am an asian who has grown up in the west all my life......

Greenout
Jun 26th, 2003, 12:02 PM
Actually BCP when I was speaking of Soccer, I mean
in the USA. Here in Southeast Asia Soccer is considered
something to do if you can't do it by academics.

I wasn't ragging against your post. I hope you understand,
I was simply giving a view point. I respect your view
points.

Madhuri
Jun 26th, 2003, 12:19 PM
"Go Dominique-I can't recall a crowd outside Germany being pro-Graf from about 1988 to 1991. For some reason it was vs. Sabatini that saw crowds behaving the worst towards Steffi. But then I wanted Gaby to win too!"

I think people are confusing general crowd reactions with EXTREME instances of bad crowd behavior. I expect crowds to show a bias against one competitor in a match (ie cheering the opponents shots, applauding opponents winners..etc). However, I think what Venus and Serena fans are referring to are hostile crowds. Has Steffi ever endured prolonged jeering throughout an entire match? Has she ever had an entire crowd cheering her missed serves and double faults and thundersously applauding every mistake? Did this ever happen to her both in her home country AND abroad? What player in the modern era outside Serena has endured UNPROVOKED crowd reactions like that? The underdog theory doesn't work in regards to extreme crowd reactions because EVERY match has an underdog, but in how many matches will a crowd turn so vicously on one competitor without provocation?

BCP
Jun 26th, 2003, 12:22 PM
I know you were pointing your point of view across, and that's great. You made reference to my post a lot, and I was just trying to better understand your point of view. I was just a bit confused about whether you were agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. There certainly weren't any hard feelings on my behalf....... :)

Rollo
Jun 26th, 2003, 01:13 PM
Madhuri-I have to honestly admit that I can't recall Graf getting such an extreme negative reaction. Having said that, I've already pointed out cases where Evert and Navratilova (both Americans thank you) HAVE.

Now as for Venus and Serena, lets not lump them together. Venus hasn't gotten the reaction Serena has.

And lets be totally honest here-Serena certainly didn't deserve the treatment she got at Indian Wells, which quite arguably (probably IMO) had elements of racism in it.

But the French was different. The jeers came mostly from Belgians cheering their own. Serena has a habit of questioning calls. The manner in which she does this (often throwing out her hand as the the ball lands) is annoying. The French routinely jeer that kind of behavior-ask Arantxa Sanchez!

Add in Serena's arrogant comments when she lost to Henin at Amelia ("I was 9,000 levels below" or something like that) AND her little jib at the French about war AND her having beaten Mauresmo the round before.

Mix all those factors in and the boos were no surprise. Unprovoked? Hardly. It doesn't take much to provoke a French crowd.

irma
Jun 26th, 2003, 01:16 PM
rollo those aseholes in florida made steffi cry (or almost)
I am glad she teached them a lesson in 93 :o

irma
Jun 26th, 2003, 01:18 PM
that's the way to deal with it even when it takes 5 years;)

Rollo
Jun 26th, 2003, 03:39 PM
Hi there Irma :wavey:

When did the Lipton folks make Steffi cry? I'd bet it was a match vs. Sabatini! The South Floridian crowds have always been very pro-Sabatini.

The Lipton crowd wasn't too firendly towards Graf in 94 either.

And of course who can forget poor Monica getting booed by the crowd for gutting it out in losing to Hingis a few years back.