Yesha Callahan

Tennis Star Madison Keys: ”I Don’t Really Identify Myself as White or African-American”

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Professional tennis player Madison Keys is quickly becoming the latest ‘it’ girl of professional tennis. Last week, Keys made headlines for advancing to the semi-finals after beating Venus Williams at the Australian Open. Yesterday, the 19-year-old took on women’s singles tennis No. 1 player Serena Williams and lost in the final score 7-6(5) 6-2.

After the match, Keys expressed her respect and admiration for the legendary player in her post game interview.

“Serena’s always been one of the best, and she will forever be one of the best tennis players in women’s tennis.” “So much respect for that and so much respect towards her and her game.”

For quite some time, Venus and Serena Williams have held the torch for Black women in professional tennis. With the lack of diversity in the sport, it was great to see Keys thrive at this year’s Australian Open.

Serena shared our sentiments:

“It’s good to see another American, another African-American, in the semifinals playing so well,” the 33-year-old tennis star said. “Regardless, there’s going to be an American in the finals, so that is great. It’s also great for me and Venus because we know that finally there’s other Americans that are constantly playing well and playing better, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest.”

Keys, who is bi-racial –prefers not to be identified by her race.

In an interview with The New York Times, Keys was asked if she saw the significance in being a young African-American taking on the Williams sisters at the Australian Open. Though honored to be mentioned among The Williams Sisters as women in professional tennis, Keys revealed that she does not identify herself as African-American (or white).

“It’s something that’s always there obviously, but I’m very much right in the middle,” she said. “I don’t really think of it. I don’t really identify myself as white or African-American. I’m just me. I’m Madison.” …

Congrats to both Madison and The Williams Sisters!

  1. January 30, 2015 - Reply

    Here is what I wish. I wish biracial people would have this constant conversation with the people who hold power over how race plays itself out in our culture: white folks. Fine, Madison, I accept what you say. However, please go on an identity tour and talk to white people and tell them about this revelation of yours. Work it out with them. Leave us out of it. We don’t care. There, I said it.

    • January 30, 2015 - Reply

      @K.C.

      In all fairness, she was talking mainly to white people because she answering a question in a NY Times interview.

      • January 30, 2015 - Reply

        @Anthony

        I am not sure about that. NY Times is read by many people, not jsut whites. That said, this conversation needs to be focused on the white community. I think it is always targeted to a black audience by default. I think this debate should take place with the European community overseas as well as the white community here (both elites and working class whites). She needs to go on an identity tour for them. We don’t care. We are used to having like 20 different colors, hues, shades, races etc in our black families. We are not conflicted about racial mixing. I am not sure if a white family in let’s say Kentucky or upper class Boston has the same outlook. That is all.

        • January 31, 2015 - Reply

          @K.C.

          Agreed!

        • January 31, 2015 - Reply

          @K.C.

          “I am not sure if a white family in let’s say Kentucky or upper class Boston has the same outlook. That is all.”

          But why in the world should we care what a white Kentucky or Boston family think one way or another?

          Also, speaking to the NY Times is like speaking to the worldwide news bible for white people. It is owned by, and targeted to white elites globally.

          • January 31, 2015 - Reply

            @Wanda

            “But why in the world should we care what a white Kentucky or Boston family think one way or another?”

            You missed the point. The question isn’t why should BLACK people care about what that whites think. The real question is why don’t biracial people care? Why must they project their identity issues onto blacks but rarely the other side?

            • January 31, 2015 - Reply

              @Ms. Vee

              Thank you! Ding ding ding!

            • January 31, 2015 - Reply

              @Ms. Vee

              Wait, the poster KC wrote: I am not sure if a white family in let’s say Kentucky or upper class Boston has the same outlook.” What does this have to do with biracial people caring about anything?

              IMO, far too many Black folks fret over whites continuing to enforce racial definitions and categories, rather than us having the freedom to self-define any way we please.

              • January 31, 2015 - Reply

                @Wanda

                “IMO, far too many Black folks fret over whites continuing to enforce racial definitions and categories”

                I totally agree. And its pathetic. But that’s not what K.C was getting at. She was looking at it from the biracial vantage point.

          • January 31, 2015 - Reply

            @Wanda

            Gee, maybe you don’t know too many people who read the NY Times who are black but I do so whatever on that. I did not say I cared about what a white family in Kentucky or upper class Boston thinks. I am saying that most of the time this debate from biracials is directed to black people. I suggest they take up their identity tour with white people and demand that white people see them as equally white as they choose to be seen (or whatever it is they are demanding to be seen as). I repeat, since slavery, we have lived with, loved, married, reproduced and been forced to be one with biracials so we are not as conflicted by this issue as many biracials want to believe. We ain’t the ones. That is all. In my family right now, I have about 20 people who could pass if they truly wanted to and they all have both black parents and black grandparents. The bigger question is: how will the white community in Europe and throughout the US deal with biracials? THAT should be the focus. Leave us black people alone.

            • January 31, 2015 - Reply

              @K.C.

              “The bigger question is: how will the white community in Europe and
              throughout the US deal with biracials? THAT should be the focus.”

              Again, why is this a concern for Black folks or anybody for that matter? “Focus” for what purpose?

              • January 31, 2015 - Reply

                @Wanda

                Well, let’s see, maybe because she has gone to a national and world-renowned newspaper to discuss the issue? Maybe because the issue is being discussed throughout various media outlets all the time? Given this high-profile and highly visible public discussion on the issue, this would make it a FOCUS. You see focus can also refer to the attention, visibility or spotlight on an issue: that is FOCUS. So I am suggesting that this FOCUS (see definition above) be targeted toward communities who don’t seem to have this discussion as often enough or who too are part of the community inherently involved in this FOCUS. I think you are either trolling or arguing for the sake of arguing. I said many times above that it SHOULD NOT be a focus for black people and in fact usually is not given that for 400 years we were in plight side by side with biracials. We know them. We give birth to them. We marry them. We were in chains with them. We picked cotton with them. We sat on the back of the bus with them. Biracials are not foreign to us. The debate needs to be taken to the community that has not fully let them in yet. We black people have other things on hte agenda that are taking precedence.

                • February 1, 2015 - Reply

                  @K.C.

                  She was asked how she felt about being an African-American taking on the Williams sisters. She simply corrected the person. I don’t see how that she is putting her identity issues onto anybody.

                  • February 1, 2015 - Reply

                    @_a_

                    Ok, I said what I had to say on the matter. You think what you want because clearly you are repeatedly failing to understand the points I have repeatedly made above. I think I’ve given you enough of my attention.

                    • February 2, 2015 - Reply

                      @K.C.

                      lol ok.

                  • February 7, 2015 - Reply

                    @_a_

                    I agree

                    • February 7, 2015 - Reply

                      @taylormadegirl

                      Thanks. I think some ppl on here have pent up anger about this subject.

        • February 7, 2015 - Reply

          @K.C.

          As someone who was born & raised outside of America and has travelled extensively around the world, including so-called “BLACK” Africa, she would generally be considered as “other” at first glance. I have proud Black African and “Africanist” friends who totally reject this white supremacist despicable 1-drop rule which tries to dictate by some arbitrary “law” made up just in the last century who is “Black” . Madison should be free to identify as to who she wants to be just as kids of non-blacks mixed with whites are free to pass as “Caucasian” in America if they so desire.

  2. January 30, 2015 - Reply

    Biracials are not negroes!

    • January 30, 2015 - Reply

      @kj1986nyc

      negroes ????

      • January 30, 2015 - Reply

        @Rizzo

        What part of that didn’t you understand?

        • February 20, 2015 - Reply

          @kj1986nyc

          no part. explain it.

      • February 7, 2015 - Reply

        @Rizzo

        Yes, Negroes …

    • January 31, 2015 - Reply

      @kj1986nyc

      I think you just showed your age!!

      • January 31, 2015 - Reply

        @j-kay-elle

        I think you need to go read a history book!

        • January 31, 2015 - Reply

          @kj1986nyc

          Exactly my point!! I may not have been alive when it was ‘acceptable’ to call people negroes, but I’m sure you were!! Have a great day 😉

          • February 20, 2015 - Reply

            @j-kay-elle

            keep living. you have a blessed one, too.

        • February 20, 2015 - Reply

          @kj1986nyc

          ok.

      • February 20, 2015 - Reply

        @j-kay-elle

        one day you will show yours, too. just keep having fun and keep on living.

  3. January 30, 2015 - Reply

    I can’t get my undies in a twist about this. If she chooses to identify whatever she is that’s her prerogative.

    • January 30, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      I agree with you. If she wants to be considered not black, then that is her business. That’s fine with me. At the end of the day, she is biracial.

    • January 31, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      I could not agree more.

  4. January 30, 2015 - Reply

    I’m with others here who say she can identify anyway she wants. I see biracial people as biracial. *Shrugging shoulders* I don’t really have time to worry about how they identify. I worry about how Black children identify. That hits home more to me than anything because, I’m Black, and I care about my people, and in my opinion, Black children and their identity gets attacked everyday, all day. Just the other day while watching Bill Duke’s documentary on OWN, a Black guy (I forgot who he was, but he was involved in the media) said they are using biracial people more. You can see it everyday.

    Anyway, sorry to go off topic.

    • January 30, 2015 - Reply

      @Noirluv45

      I agree with you 100 percent.

      • January 31, 2015 - Reply

        @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

        Thank you, truth. Agreed about Serena, truth! They hate that she’s the best in the game. You know, truth, whatever we do, we always do it with excellence, don’t we brother?

        You have a great weekend too, truth!

        • January 31, 2015 - Reply

          @Noirluv45

          Preach Sister.

          Serena Williams is differently the best female tennis player of all time. She is not only beautiful, but she is strong and intelligent. Her excellence has made others jealous of her, but we don’t care about the haters’ jealousy. We care about the improvement in our community as Brothers and Sisters. That is what it is all about.

          • February 2, 2015 - Reply

            @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

            THAT in a nutshell, truth!

    • January 31, 2015 - Reply

      @Noirluv45

      Hit the nail right on the head. I completely agree.

  5. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    I don’t consider biracials Black anyway. She’s not hurting my feelings.

  6. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    Is it me or Does the white media/racists take pleasure seeing the Williams sisters get beaten on the court? There will never be players as good as the Williams Sisters, period.

  7. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    What is wrong with what she said? I’m trying to figure out why this is even worthy of a headline.

    • January 31, 2015 - Reply

      @Wanda

      I think we both know the reason behind that…

  8. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    If she doesn’t want to identify as African American or white, that’s her prerogative. Just don’t come and jump on the black bandwagon to make a come up. Jump on that mixed train and ride that until the wheels fall off. I don’t like when biracials use that one drop to make a name for themselves in the black culture, and then it’s “Oh I don’t see myself as black, don’t want to be identified as black. I’m blah blah blah, mixed with blah blah blah.”

  9. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    I do notice the hate for the Williams sisters

  10. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    I didn’t know who she was until I saw this article but I see a Black wioman/girl in that picture.She could be of any number of cultures but I see brown skin.

    • February 7, 2015 - Reply

      @mbeezy

      And having brown skin automatically makes her “Black”?? If one of her parents were not “Black” she could easily pass for Indian from India or even a latina. Check the racial classificatio code and you will see that Indians, Pakistanis, Latinos (those who do not identify as Black) are classified as causasian

  11. January 31, 2015 - Reply

    *Shrugs*

    As society moves forward, biracial people need to be able to claim their own racial identity. It’s better for them and for us.

    I don’t know what kind of talks biracials have with white society on this issue b/c I don’t frequent publications that would carry those sorts of stories. But whose to say b/c we don’t see those conversations they don’t happen?

  12. February 6, 2015 - Reply

    lines are blurred when it comes to mixed folks and their identity. That’s why they’re called racially ambiguous. And that’s why they need to identify how they see fit and not be bullied into identifying as mixed or black or white if they don’t want to. I’m mixed in genetics, but identify as black. I’m not full black in genetics but Culturally and I’m still called n*gger to racist ass white folk.

    You can still be biracial and be socially, politically and culturally black btw. (See Frederick Douglass Bob Marley) Because I have pro black militants that come at me all types of crazy for me identifying as black. It’s only online where “I’m kicked out of the community”. In my real life I say I’m black and nobody bats an eye. Might ask me what I’m mixed with but nobody tells me “DON’T IDENTIFY AS BLACK YOU’RE BIRACIAL” in real life.

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