Serena Williams was imitated by Caroline Wozniacki on the tennis court earlier this week, but is it a racist diss? Some seem to think so. The white tennis pro Wozniacki came onto the court mid-game during her latest match with a lot more padding to her breast and backside area. Ms. Williams, already considered a legend in the tennis world with 30 Grand Slam titles, was not present during the apparent mockery of her physical form by Wozniacki. Some have said that if the Danish tennis pro wanted to imitate anything of Serena’s it should have been her tennis skill. Wozniacki went on to lose to the match to Maria Sharapova.
So, was her gesture in jest or was it racist? The jury is still out on that. Some bloggers have taken to the Internet to express their disdain for her actions. Many seem to echo the sentiment that Wozniacki’s mockery of Serena reinforces age-old stereotypes about Black women’s bodies as hypersexual. One blogger said, “So a white woman can do something like this, but Serena Williams can’t crip walk to celebrate a victory? Wozniacki stuffed her bra and underwear so that she could appear like Serena. It may have been done in “jest,” but I love how people can can turn a black woman’s body and sexuality into a caricature. However, we should not have the autonomy to celebrate any successes of our own.”
While some have labeled the gesture in poor taste and indeed racist, others have simply laughed at the joke. The Yahoo Sports crew clearly saw her antics in good humor as they wrote, “Fun-loving Caroline Wozniacki made Serena Williams the butt of her joke at an exhibition match in Sao Paulo.”
For her part, Wozniacki has remained quiet on this latest stunt. However, this is not the first time the 2006 Wimbledon Girls’ Singles winner has mocked Williams. Last year, Caroline entered the court, with butt-padding to boot, dancing to the same Rihanna song that Serena did during one of her previous matches.
It should be noted that in the world of tennis, impressions are often made in jest by one player to another and Wozniacki is known for her practical jokes (maybe at the expense of her actual tennis skill); having poked fun at tennis legends such as Williams and Rafael Nadal. Certainly, if she is racist she’s at least an equal opportunist.
While her most recent joke may have been in poor taste, does that mean it was racist? Does anything that a white person does to poke fun at sensitive topics for black people, such as the stereotype regarding hypersexuality and black women’s bodies, mean that they are purposefully racially insensitive? Or are they just plain ignorant to the history of race relations in the U.S.?
What are your thoughts?
Wozniacki imitates Serena in 2011
Serena being imitated by Wozniacki in 2012 against Sharapova in Brazil