I Am Serena. I am Naomi.


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Your Corporate Black Girl

While watching the 2018 U.S. Open Final, I could not help but recognize myself while watching two black women play against each other, both that were powerful and inspiring in their own way. I saw myself as both Serena and Naomi.

Serena, a bold black beautiful woman who is constantly spewed with discrimination and double standards, and Naomi, a mixed race, proud Japanese and Haitian, who felt that her win was not something to be proud of.

During the tennis match, after the referee made a call that Serena received “coaching,” Serena became upset and expressed herself stating “I did not get coaching.” Based on her reaction to the referee’s call, he then took several points away from Serena, potentially, punishing her, and then proceeded to dismiss the game. Naomi was announced as the winner.

As a black woman, I have endured similar treatings where I have been looked at as the “over-emotional” in a situation, while my male peers are able to freely express themselves.

There was a time in my place of work, where I was being called a slur and decided to confront the person. Some of my other coworkers glanced at me and glanced at the other white woman, and at that point, they made their case. My boss called me the aggressor when I was merely reporting what I had been called. I planned to defend myself and be confident in doing so, and that was Serena’s plan, and many other white workers, but the difference is that we are the ones who will be looked down upon for being outspoken.

After Naomi won the game, it was as if her win was illegitimate, or that it did not count. Naomi did a  good job playing against Serena, and if she won, she won.

There have been several times where I would contribute my best ideas to a project and not given any recognition because it was “my job”, even if I went above and beyond, however, when other  colleagues give out ideas, or even restate or stem from my exact ideas, they are praised for it.

I was once working with a group, and I worked very hard to contribute work and ideas. By the time the presentation happened, one of my coworkers had decided to read my slides. This made me look as if I did not have any input to the entire project, while the rest of my coworkers were given time to read their parts. Naomi played very well, and it would have been greater to see her have more time with the match and show off more of her skills. It is possible that she could have beaten Serena, however, now that fate is gone.

Black women come from different places around the world, but all of our experiences seem to be the same. As powerful, and strong enough as we are to get to high positions, there will always be suppressors who will try to demolish our successes.

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