Brandon Taylor at Literary Hub:
If Serena were a white man, people would say that she is her own greatest critic. But Serena is a black woman, and there isn’t anything this country hates more than a black woman.
Once, a coworker said to me that he didn’t like Serena because she seemed arrogant. He said that people always have a difficult time with arrogance, and then he mentioned Tiger Woods and LeBron James as notable examples. Why is it that people have such a difficult time with black people who love themselves? Or, I guess, more directly, I wonder why it is that this country can only justify compensating black people when there remains a sense that the white money paying them feels like a favor which of course is impossible if the black person in question takes what they are due with a sense of self-awareness.
Serena is expected to remain estranged from herself. She is expected to deny herself the knowledge of her miracles, her accomplishments in the face of a world that would rather her apologize for existing. She is expected to suffer graciously, with immense and eternal gratitude. She is called graceless, arrogant, manly, masculine, brutish, an ape, thuggish, ugly, and all manner of other things. Her womanhood is held against her even while it is simultaneously denied to her.