Justice

Serena Williams Claps Back at Racist Comment About Her Unborn Child

April 25th 2017

By:
Kyle Jaeger

Serena Williams spoke out against a former Romanian player, Ilie Nastase, on Monday over comments he made about her unborn child and peers.

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"It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers," the tennis champion wrote in a note shared on Instagram.

Nastase reportedly responded to her pregnancy announcement by asking in Romanian: "Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?" He's also accused of calling two British players "fucking bitches" after a referee ordered him to leave the court following an altercation with an umpire on Saturday. To top it off, he allegedly described a journalist as "stupid" over her reporting on his racist comments about Williams' unborn baby.

"I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go," Williams wrote. "Yes, we have broken down so many barriers — however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light, and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right."

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that it was launching an investigation into Nastase's remarks, The New York Times reported. The organization said that it "will also hear Nastase’s side of the argument" and that a final decision will be handed down in the next two weeks.

Williams is no stranger to racism and sexism in the tennis community. For 14 years, she refused to attend the Indian Wells tournament after she and her sister, Venus, were subjected to racist taunts by the audience. She described the experience in a 2015 editorial for Time magazine: "The under­current of racism was painful, confusing, and unfair."

"In a game I loved with all my heart, at one of my most cherished tournaments, I suddenly felt unwelcome, alone and afraid."

But now, as an expecting mother, Williams is facing a distinct strain of racism, directed at multiracial individuals. Though the growing mixed race population in the U.S. has been celebrated as a "vaccine" against racist ideologies, that attitude "presents racism as passive — a vestigial reflex that will fade with the presence of interracial offspring, rather than as an active system that can change with time," NPR reported.

Sixty percent of multiracial individuals said they felt proud of their backgrounds, but their racial identities were also commonly met with bigotry. Fifty-five percent said they've "been subjected to slurs or jokes because of their racial background," according to a 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center.

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"I am not afraid unlike you," Williams wrote. "You see, I am no coward. You may shoot me with your words… you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise."

Read Williams' full post below.

 

 

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A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on