We saw a melanin overload in the US Open over the weekend. Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Taylor Townsend and of course the incomparable Serena Williams were front and center of the last big hurrah of the tennis season. Coco and Naomi gave us one of the greatest sports moments in recent memory and Serena looks poised to make the push for magical number 24. But do you want to know my absolute favorite byproduct of all this? White tears.
I love white tears. I want to bathe in them. I want to freeze them in the winter time and ice skate on them. Then melt them in the springtime and drink them (S/O to Beerfest). I love white tears because they are only shed in the wake of black excellence. If you don’t know what white tears are then please allow me to explain. White tears are when white people cry and complain about something amazing that black people have done and irrationally try to discredit the achievement. It usually applies to an area where they feel blacks should not excel. For example, a black student gets a full scholarship to Harvard. White tears fall in the form of accusations of an affirmative action acceptance. If you take that ideology and apply it to sports then you can definitely understand why these incredible young ladies’ dominance on the tennis court evokes such emotion out of country club America. And let’s be clear, only a certain type of person sheds white tears. I’ll let you use context clues to which type of person that is.
Tennis is the sport of snobs. It was at one point a royal pastime. It has been said that Henry VIII was playing tennis when he was informed of Anne Boleyn’s execution. So it’s no surprise that through the years tennis has been deemed a sport of privilege and exclusivity. It’s always demanded a more subdued and “proper” atmosphere than most other sports. So when a black woman emerges to prominence in a sport to which she was never meant to have access, please believe the white tears will flow. They don’t want a curvy, voluptuous woman in a catsuit screaming at her opponents and overpowering them in embarrassingly dominant fashion being the face of a game where pleated skirts and polite celebrations are the norm. Serena embodies everything they intended to keep away from tennis. I can imagine it pains them that she is the greatest human being to ever touch one of their instruments of classism. Perhaps my favorite moment in tennis history was when Serena destroyed her “rival” (hahahahahahaha) Maria Sharapova at the 2012 Olympics and crip walked all over her tattered carcass. Those white tears were amazing.
Three of the four ladies have been eliminated from the US Open but honestly, I don’t mind that. If they all blitzed the competition it would be a quick death and a expedited pathway to reluctant acceptance. But this way, it lingers. They see what’s happening and they know what’s coming. Instead of it dropping like an atomic bomb, they have to live with the inevitability of the Black Women Tennis Takeover until it fully materializes. Coco Gauff is 15 years old and she’s already a problem. They potentially have 20 more years to deal with her. White tears. If you think people will come around then you’re mistaken. They’ve hated Serena since she was Coco’s age. And they hate her today. They’ve body shamed her. They’ve done everything they can to try to put clearly inferior players in the same class as her. And there seems to be a hint of joy in her recent inability to capture a major title. It’s the last piece they can hold on to before full submission is required. But even that is a seemingly unavoidable eventuality. I haven’t heard any negativity directed towards Coco yet but I suspect once she wins a major or two, the usual suspects will show their faces. They’re comfortable cheering now because she hasn’t reached the summit yet. It’s ok to be good. Just not better than you’re supposed to be. It’s coming though. You can be sure of that.
Another reason I love the BWTT is because it uncovers the hideous underbelly of American society. It’s obvious that a lot of people in this country hate black people and women. And God forbid you happen to be a black woman. Sheesh. If you claim to be a tennis fan it is impossible to hate Serena or any of the aforementioned ladies. Unless of course you hate them for another reason. I keep mentioning Serena specifically because up to this point, she has stepped on more toes than the others. She speaks her mind and doesn’t dim her greatness. Her “you have to raise your level to unknown when you play me” speech is the stuff of legend. She was vocal about the African American childbirth mortality rate after her labor experience. And she has been a resounding voice in the battle for monetary equality between male and female athletes. It’s been made clear that a lot of folks just want her to “Shut up and Serve”. They don’t like her bravado even though it’s clearly been earned. They don’t like the fact that they “allowed” her into the sport and she’s torn down all the constructs that have been in place for years. How dare she infiltrate their territory and redefine the game as we know it? It’s no country clubs in the hood. This sport wasn’t meant for us. That’s why a young girl has to go from Compton to Florida for access and resources. That’s why Naomi and Coco trained at the same facilities. But none of the barriers that are put in place can stop the wave that’s coming. And these four ladies will turn to four thousand soon enough. And before you know it, tennis will have gone from skinless, baked chicken to Popeye’s in the blink of an eye. And who doesn’t like Popeye’s?