Race-Baiting Click-Bait At The Daily Beast

In the vast panoply of topics that are likely to spark my interest in a potential Ethics Alarms topic, the excerpts from a not-yet-released autobiography of a female Russian tennis player is somewhere on the list below the sex lives of pangolins. The Daily Beast headline, however was click-bait: Maria Sharapova’s Vile, Racially Tinged Treatment of Serena Williams.

Really? A 30-year-old fading female tennis super-star coming off a performance-enhancing drug suspension is making racist comments about Serena Williams, her longtime ( and unquestionably superior) rival? That kind of thing will grab my attention every time, not that I lack for Ethics Dunce candidates.

But it turns out that Sharapova is not the ethics dunce here.

Here are the “vile, racially tinged” comments from the book, according to African-American Daily Beast editor Ira Madison II:

“First of all her physical presence is much stronger and bigger than you realize watching TV. She has thick arms and thick legs and is so intimidating and strong. It’s the whole thing—her presence, her confidence, her personality. Even now, she can make me feel like a little girl.”

Serena Williams is, when in playing shape (she just had a baby), 5′ 9″ tall and weighs about 155 pounds. She is and has always been noticeably muscular, far more so than most tennis players (including her sister), and indeed most female athletes generally.  Here she is in a representative, non-tennis photo:

Here is Maria Sharapova—she is five inches taller and weighs 25 pounds less. She is definitely not muscular; she is built like a fashion model….

Here they are, side by side, in tennis court shots:

Verdict: Serena could crush Maria like a bug, if she so desired. There is absolutely nothing racial about the Russian player’s visceral reaction to her stronger and more physically imposing rival. Nothing.

Here is the second “racially-tinged” excerpt, and the only other one:

“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon. I think she hated me for taking something that she believed belonged to her. I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Ah HA! There we have it, the ancient racial stereotypes: black women hate being beaten in tennis by skinny kids, hate having something taken away from them, hate being seen in defeat, and really, really hate being heard to cry.

What the hell is Madison talking about?  With a few changes in context, that Sharapova quote could have been made about Hillary Clinton.

Again, those are the only “vile, racially-tinged” quotes from the book.

To be fair, while Madison does call the statements “vile”—there is absolutely nothing vile about them; petty, typical mean-girl trash-talking, but not “vile”—he never writes that they are racial comments. Then again, he’s an editor: surely he has some say when a headline is completely false and unfair and covers his own piece.

What’s going on here? The headline says what it does because the Daily Beast doggedly follows the cultural extortion strategy that any criticism of any prominent, semi-prominent or any other category of  African American, for any reason, fact-based or not, is rooted in racism. This is explicitly designed and executed to make non-African Americans catch themselves and hesitate before engaging in any topic involving black Americans whatsoever.

It is, of course, part of the hangover from eight years of a trail-blazing African American President who was, tragically, lousy at his job, and thus had to be protected from accountability by, among other tactics, his allies intimidating and demonizing critics.

Like so much else wafting our way from the partisan left, this is a device to chill speech, marginalize critics, stifle political opposition, and silence dissent. It is vile, and it has to be stopped.

9 Comments

Filed under Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Race, Sports, The Internet

9 responses to “Race-Baiting Click-Bait At The Daily Beast

  1. Mrs. Q

    One of my all time favorite posts Jack.

    What’s going on here is total BS in the form of Mr. Madison’s racism, not Sharapova’s. Clearly he conflated the very correct description of Williams body, with that of ….? I suspect the real story is this guy feels traumatized that everyone else is a racist when I bet if he looked in the mirror, he’s discover we all have prejudices & it’s part of what creates a society that forgives one another.

    Back in the day primitive shamans used rituals to hypnotize victims into fear & trauma. Having been a Social Studies major & Women’s Studies minor, I must say, in a way, being a minority, especially brown & queer is wild at a liberal arts school. Every day was a new trauma of story after story about how terrible America is. Before kids chanted “cultural appropriation” today, I was doing it when I saw Mohawks, African masks, and whatever else displeased my social justice blood thirst. One day I couldn’t take another class in exploring my own oppression. I needed to go live & set my mind free of the prejudices I came to have against whites, men, heterosexuals, etc. I just couldn’t wear myself & others out with indignant anger anymore.

    When my wife & I; an interracial same-sex married couple, go traveling, we love to go to small towns & rural areas. Only liberals say to us “why would you go to X with all those rednecks?” People who have bumper stickers that say “Co-exist” or “Love is Love” will say to us “aren’t you scared to be around those Republicans with guns?” Everytime we visit a place like rural Montana, Eastern Oregon, all of Idaho, we meet the most friendly people. Those who we can tell aren’t abiding by the ‘Worship Diversity’ religion just treat us as anyone else & mind their business. It’s SO MUCH BETTER than being pandered to constantly in the city by Saint Social & Friar Justice.

    After college my heart had to soften to the supposed worst of the worst – grumpy old straight white guys. Usually conservative & not interested in BS, these straight shooters are often the kindest of the kind in a way that asks for nothing back. I’ve experienced more grace from dudes like this than any one teaching intersectionality.

    Then after I deprogrammed from the Studies brainwashing, I had to soften again to people/minions who eat up this idea currently heavily promoted: that anything whites say about minorities better be ass-kissing or else they’re racist. I truly believe not all of them realize they’re under a kind of spell, filled with images of burning crosses, tree hangings, crying Native Americans, Matthew Sheppard, poor mothers on welfare; and all the other myriad of images that programs people into believing America is evil and Sharapova thinks Williams is less than human.

    It was Madison, who likely ran through various images in his mind & came to the unfortunate conclusion he did. He was judge & jury, yet he neglected to see the words as they were written, and chose to be blinded by assumption & prejudice. Sharapova doesn’t strike me as a racist, but as a cocky tennis player. There is no shortage of cocky players, I can name five off the top of my head right now.

    My hope is that in this current epoch the madness doesn’t lead to some kind of Reichstag building incident. I hope Sharapova holds her ground & others stop kowtowing the Archdiocese of the Downtrodden.

  2. If could have picked my body type, I would have picked Ms. Williams, any day. That was some serious cherry-picking in the book to take offense. What should be the modern and counter replacement rose colored glasses? What is the color of trigger-happy outrage?

    • I think Serena is a goddess, and always have. Love her. She made women’s tennis feel like a real sport, after all those years of lobs, Chrissy, Tracy and dainty serves. Great role model for girls, female athletes, African-Americans, everyone. And she doesn’t need anyone running to her defense.

  3. Wow, what a stupid article. It actually says “according to McEnroe and Sharapova, men are the real athletes.” Yeah, I’m sure that’s what she thinks.

    • Yes, I didn’t even get into that section, although I discussed the silly outrage over McEnroe’s original statement that Serena would be smoked by the elite make tennis players, an assessment she has publicly agreed with.

  4. luckyesteeyoreman

    Jack, please, come on: If you don’t stop posting so much cheesecake, you’re going to force me to disappoint and impoverish my Viagra supplier.

    It (the cheescake, I mean) was all worth looking at, though, if for no other reason than to induce me to read on and devour Mrs. Q’s great comment.

    Still, I want to see a follow-up post by you (with photos!) on my girl, Sydney.

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