After the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearings on September 27th, people all over the country were struck by Kavanaugh’s aggressive tone. But despite criticism that his visible anger (among many other things) made him unfit to serve on the country’s highest court, he was officially confirmed. And now, Reddit founder (and Serena Williams’ husband) Alexis Ohanian, is calling out a clear and infuriating double standard—one that perfectly captures the differing way our society treats white men versus black women.
In case you missed it, during the final match of the 2018 U.S. Open, Williams received a penalty for “verbal abuse” after she yelled at the umpire, calling him a “thief.” She ultimately lost the match, and many called the umpire’s ruling sexist, pointing out that male tennis stars have gotten away with much worse behavior.
Shortly after Kavanaugh’s confirmation on October 6th, Deborah Barros, a candidate for the Alabama State Senate, tweeted, “Funny how a black female tennis player is held to a higher standard to keep her emotions in check than a Supreme Court nominee.”
In two follow-up tweets, he laid out everything wrong with Kavanaugh’s statement at the hearing. He then tweeted that, as a future Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh should have been able to “keep it together.”
Kavanaugh was visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee; he yelled and scowled, and—as HuffPost reported—he testily shouted, “I don’t know. Have you?” when Senator Amy Klobuchar asked him if he had ever drank so much he couldn’t remember what happened the next day. Kavanaugh even acknowledged that his behavior was less than judicial in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, writing that he “might have been too emotional at times.”
As Ohanian pointed out, Williams—a black, female athlete—was punished for her emotional outburst, while Kavanaugh—a white, male judge—was ultimately promoted despite similar behavior.
Ohanian wasn’t the only one to point out this racist and sexist double standard.
While the comparison is disheartening, we’re glad people are bringing it to light and calling out injustice when they see it. If you’re outraged about this, make sure your voice is heard in the November 6th midterm elections.