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  1. Concerned Citizen at |

    I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful article but also respectfully disagree with some of its conclusions. In your piece, you rightly lament the “angry black woman” stereotype, but I believe you overreach when you apply this to the specific case of Serena Williams.

    Serena Williams did have a meltdown and did abuse the match umpire that day. She was rightly fined for her disgraceful outbursts. Instead of taking responsibility and apologizing, when tempers cooled and she had the benefit of introspection, she suggested (as you do) that she was unfairly treated, and that other male stars like Federer and Murray received less severe punishment for similar (or worse) infractions. She deflected blame instead of taking responsibility for her actions.

    The real lesson that the Williams incident should teach is that star athletes, who have the power to inspire many, as Serena Williams had doubtless done, should behave appropriately. As human beings, they will sometimes err, and we are all too ready to forgive these heroic figures, but they must apologize and show remorse. Pointing to the errors of others and shifting the narrative to one where they are the victim is inappropriate. Saying that you are sorry and will do better in the future is the only course of action.

    That is not to say that women or African-Americans are not unfairly treated. There are many circumstances where they are, and we should speak out forcefully and challenge discrimination in all its forms. We should not weaken this incredibly important duty by inappropriately using race or sex as an excuse for reprehensible behavior.

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