Sep. 11, 2018

Two Images, One Step Forward, Three Miles Back

Images, the visualization of two images got me to thinking about the state of Black America today. One image was a caricature of one of the most powerfully built female athletes that has ever been produced in her sport. Serena so dominates her chosen sport that when she wins it’s excepted, and when she loses it’s a total surprise. Serena Williams is the most complete female tennis player that has ever graced the courts. When she plays Serena plays with incredible energy, incredible power, incredible desire, and she simply dominates her opponent. I really don’t follow professional tennis never had the desire to be a fan. I don’t think that I have ever witness a complete tennis match in my entire life. Oh I know the rules of tennis, I understand the game, and I know the difference between a serve and a volley. I also know that in tennis if you are on the short end of a score of love you aren’t doing well in either a set, or a match. On Saturday at the United States Open, one of the four Grand Slam events, the women’s final took place. I want you to know that I didn’t see the match, nor was I interested in the outcome. I assumed that since Serena Williams was one of the competitors, Serena would win.  She didn’t win the match but that is not the purpose of this provoked thought. It seems that Serena Williams and Field Judge had a confrontation. The result of which was an outburst by Serena when the judge penalized her point for getting advice during a match. Who knew that you couldn’t get advice during a match. Serena denied that she got any advice and questioned why this judge would even think that she would even do such a thing. Again, I am not going into battle on court between Serena and the judge. 


My provocation came from an Australian cartoon caricature of Serena Williams that created for that papers websites. It was sent all over Australia as well as internationally. It showed Serena Williams as huge black woman with protruding lips, huge hips and buttocks, kinky and knotty hair, physically smashing a tennis racket with animalistic force.  I looked at the image, for now, four days and I just couldn’t believe that any cartoonist would have the audacity to create such a negative image and worst yet that a media company would then, in turn, publish that image. If you ever need to understand racist imagery then you simply only need to analyze this particular caricature of an upset Serena Williams. We just left a period of time when political caricatures of our Commander in Chief and his wife were published with them being monkey-like humanoids. Now less than 2 years later we now see the reappearance of those images reflecting a monkey-like Serena Williams. I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of this blatant racism being an acceptable form of media imagery. It isn’t acceptable, it never should’ve been acceptable but surely after 400 years of being portrayed as savages our black community should rise up and say enough dammit. The fact that the cartoonist was from Australia makes no difference. It was racist imagery that would impact black Americans. These types of racist images are reflective of the ignorance of the creators of the image. As well as those who accept these images as being innocent and non-threatening. These images are neither innocent nor non-threatening because they promote the ugliness of a society that is off the rails of humanity. Just look at the image and tell me it isn’t racist. Please tell me it isn’t an image that provokes rage and hatred.

The second image that provoked thought is the image of Colin Kaepernick in the NIKE international marketing campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the JUST DO IT logo. CK took a stand 2 years ago to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. That stand took a message into black communities across America. “not my anthem”. The provocation of CK’s stance was that as long as injustice, economic deprivation, social deprivation, and police brutality existed in America for blacks he would being kneeling not standing when the national anthem played. As result, no matter what the labor forces decide in professional football CK was blackballed from the league.  We, who were conscious, fully aware of the racial implications of CK’s stood with this brother. CK traveled the country promoting his actions which was simply equal justice for all Americans.  This issue of equal justice has always been a difficult for many white Americans to accept. Especially those who have this sense of privilege that their “whiteness” allows them certain advantages that they are unwilling to let go of. The Nike Ad came first then the caricature of Serena Williams, a coincidence? I don’t think media imagery is everything. Two images one image of a proud black man standing tall for right to protest injustice and the second image a animal-like black woman protesting with all the negative features that have followed our race for centuries. This all within one week of each other. The old one step forward three miles back dance blacks have been playing for now 400 years.  Take a look at the image of these sport figures and tell me you cannot see the provocation intended to deliver a message of continued black inferiority by certain aspects of the international racist white communities.

I not going to discuss the economic issues that present itself with the NIKE advertising campaign for CK. That’s an argument to deliver another day on provoked thoughts by joesmoke.