Those re-examining Williams’s extraordinary narrative from positions of privilege may be tempted to downplay the double burdens she’s overcome with the brand of grace and composure we’d only been taught about in classrooms. Not in 2015, they say.
The 33-year-old now holds all four grand slam titles simultaneously, an achievement so rare it became eponymously associated with her – the “Serena Slam” – when she first managed it more than 12 years ago. Yet she remains the ultimate outsider, hardly less today than when she burst on the scene as a braided teenager nearly two decades ago: a black female Jehovah’s Witness from Compton re-writing the record book of a #sport predominantly owned, played and watched by affluent white people.
Which is why Serena Jameka Williams, now beyond any reasonable dispute the greatest ever women’s tennis player after capturing a sixth #Wimbledon title and 21st major championship overall on Saturday, is transcending sport into a space we’re only beginning to reckon – past the Jordans, Gretzkys and Messis into the rarified air of Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.
It’s been said the black woman in American society has two strikes against her: being born a woman and being born black. No demographic has been more marginalized, oppressed and subjugated throughout the country’s 239-year history.
Racism and sexism are for real, but Serena has overcome this double burden with a grace and composure taught only in classrooms. She’s a real American hero