Serena Williams is the African tennis player in the U.S. who endures an overwhelming level of criticism within the tennis world for the slightest twitch she makes in spite of the fact she is closing in on the most majors victories of any woman and she is undoubtedly the most dominant athlete in her sport and possibly, in all sports.
Diabetes is a disease that results when the pancreas either doesn't produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes) or not enough insulin (type II diabetes). Insulin is important because its the enzyme that breaks down foods that convert to sugar once consumed. Any carbohydrate, which is basically anything other than protein (meat, nuts) and green leafy vegetables, turns to sugar. In other words, when you eat bread, rice, fruit, potatoes, carrots, baked goods, macaroni, etc., it turns to sugar. If your body is producing insulin properly, the sugar is broken down and there are no issues. If you are diabetic, your body isn't breaking down the carbs and you need help making this happen through either controlling your diet and exercising or injecting artificial insulin into your blood stream between meals. The reason I know this much about diabetes is because I, like many Africans, unfortunately suffer from type II diabetes.
What makes the refugee crisis, Serena Williams, and diabetes have undeniable commonalities is the fact that all three elements can be defined within the context of this backward capitalist, racist, society that dominates the world today. Since capitalism depends upon Africa's exploitation to maintain it's dominance and existence, it relies on a negative image of Africa and Africans to insure people are willing to permit discrimination against Africans to continue. If people believe we are undesirable because we don't work as hard, are unruly and undisciplined, and expect rewards without working for them, then those people will be less likely to think critically about why Africans suffer so much. This is true even among African people. This thought process is essential towards maintaining African oppression. In other words, the refugee crisis is talked about strictly within the context of whether the Europeans or the so-called Americans should have a heart to welcome in these "refugees" because they need help. Serena Williams is criticized strictly within the context of she is getting criticized because of a perceived negative attitude that she carries around with her. Diabetes is a disease that overwhelmingly afflicts Africans in the U.S. Since it afflicts us at epidemic levels, it's depicted as a hereditary disease.
What's never or rarely talked about regarding the refugee crisis is why Africa, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan are so unstable in the first place and why Europe and the U.S. are as rich and stable as they appear to be? If these questions are never raised the assumption is going to be that these European capitalist countries are where they are because the people who's identity is tied to those societies have done so much more to place those societies on top. You already know I'm going to say this is a complete lie. Africa is unstable because Europe and America work overtime to keep it unstable. This is necessary for them to do so because it keeps the massive amounts of natural minerals the multi-national corporate elites need to be profitable as cheap as possible. in other words, the diamond, gold, uranium, coltan, bauxite, oil, cocoa, zinc, etc., industries thrive in profitability by keeping Africa as politically and economically unstable as possible. This strategy is even openly displayed in capitalist popular culture as displayed in the recent Sean Penn movie "Hitman" which depicted a Belgium Company's assassination of a Congolese Mining Minister in order to insure the company maintains continued license to mine uranium cheaply in the Congo. This is the story of Africa and its the reason so many of our suffering people are unstable and forced to flee for their lives while you are reading this.
What's never or rarely talked about regarding Serena Williams is the racist double standard applied to her that doesn't apply to European tennis players, women or men. Tennis has a strong history of rude, arrogant, and disrespectful players from John McEnroe to Andy Roddick to Kim Clijsters, but none of their characters are attacked to the level of Serena and she has done nothing compared to the antics of some of those European players and many of them, including Andy Roddick, have spoken out verifying as much. The real issue is Tennis, probably more than any other popular sport in the U.S. besides golf, reflects European Judeo Christian patriarchal culture and the Williams sisters, especially Serena, don't fit any aspect of that. This is why Serena's body has been shamed more than any professional athlete in sports history. It's also why the capitalist media would hand down such heavy criticism on her for doing something as innocent as breaking out in a brief dance, popularly known as the "Crip walk" after winning a major tournament. Professional athletes display inappropriate public behavior on a daily basis. Clearly Serena isn't a crip and clearly, that dance is a part of popular culture, being appropriated from the inner cities by suburban European kids years ago. So, the criticism isn't about her glorifying gang life. It's about maintaining the policy of repressing African culture, whatever way it manifests itself because African culture reflects African expression and African expression reflects a new reality for African people...A free reality.
What's never or rarely talked about regarding diabetes is that it cannot be hereditary. If it was, it would be an epidemic in Africa, which it isn't. There are plenty of physiological connections between Africans in the Western Hemisphere and Africa. One is the fact that sickle cell anemia is a direct result of cell mutation as a mechanism to fight malaria which is a very common disease throughout Africa. So, if diabetes was hereditary, like sickle cell, there would be a similar connection across the water, yet there isn't because diabetes doesn't result from our history. It results from the poor diet we eat and the poor environment we are forced to exist in. The combination of processed foods that lack any real nutritional value, while being heavy in chemical balance, is playing tricks on our bodies and reducing their abilities to do what they designed to do. This, coupled with the constant stress of living under white supremacist and capitalist oppression everyday, creates a reality where diabetes has become as much a part of who we are in the U.S. as soul food, jazz, and the inner city.
What ties these three issues together (along with countless other issues) is:
1. Africa must be disrespected in order for the oppression of African people to be business as usual
This constant makes it possible to murder and disregard the lives of African people. This is manifested whether it's in shooting us down in the streets, disregarding our suffering as refugees, accepting the lie about why we are oppressed (its our fault), permitting our icons like Serena to be disrespected (its her fault), or accepting the devastating effects of a disease that would probably generate a much different response and priority if it were affecting millions of European youth the same way.
2. Capitalism is the system and white supremacy is it's tagline:
Of course we are unstable because there's something wrong with us. Of course Serena is dominant because she's not really human. Of course we have an epidemic because we don't make the right decisions. All of this is a part of the system that oppresses us and even if you have lots of money like Serena, you won't escape it. There is no escape. The only solution is for us to get together, learn how to work with one another, and for us to organize ourselves to end this reactionary, oppressive political, economic, and social order named capitalism. Please think on that and keep those thoughts in mind as you come across other linked ways that define our experiences navigating through our oppressive existence.