Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Was this Serena Williams impersonation super racist?

Recently, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki strutted onto the court mid-way through a game with towels stuffed in her clothes to represent a Serena-like chest and bum. The audience laughed as she pranced around with the padding. She even let out a moan every time she struck the ball - one of Serena's signatures. This wasn't even her first time doing this impersonation. Last year, she skipped onto court to a Rihanna song; also padded as to represent Miss Williams's body shape.

Her behaviour was strange and no one really knew why she acted this way, yet the blogosphere and Twitter lit up with responses. One blogger wrote: 'This isn’t “harmless fun” as one article described it. its racist. out and outright racism. mocking and making fun of the bodies of black women for a laugh? real funny, stupid white girl. real real funny.'

Another wrote:

'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.'

And another...

'Given the history and current-day context of racialized standards of beauty, and the hypersexualization of people of color, when a white woman makes fun of a black women’s body, especially in a way that hypersexualizes her and draws on the stereotype of black women’s big butts, it’s racist.' via

Personally, I think this is very disrespectful and without a doubt incredibly racist. I know that she probably meant this in a light-hearted manor; but to me this is the same as putting on black-face make-up. She doesn't focus on Serena's assets as a 'woman', but as a 'black woman'.

Let us know what you think!

Watch the video of her performance below:


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