Controversy on the Court: What Will the Tennis World Do Next

On September 8th, Serena Williams faced Naomi Osaka in the US Open Final match when it quickly spun out of her control. Williams became engaged in a heated dispute with the match umpire Carlos Ramos after she was handed a series of code violations that made her lose points at a critical time in the match.

Ramos first gave Williams a violation for making eye contact with her coach who was in the stands watching, which is illegal as players cannot receive coaching during their matches. Ramos then gave her a second violation that resulted in the loss of a point for her smashing her racket on the ground in frustration. For the last straw, she finally received a game penalty for verbal abuse after she confronted the umpire, claiming that he stole a point from her and that he was a “thief.”

In the aftermath of the controversy, the International Tennis Federation defended Ramos and said he was within reason for handing out the rule violations. Williams unfortunately ended up losing the match. In her news conference afterwards, she claimed that she did not believe that what she said was bad in comparison to what male players say to umpires. As the dispute started trending on every website and social media, former players also backed her up on this.

Famous tennis player John McEnroe admitted that in his playing days he said much worse without getting penalized for it. Billie Jean King, a tennis legend and equal rights advocate, tweeted, “When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King was one of many athletes that emerged to support Serena Williams.

If there is to be a stop to this type of sexism in the tennis world, Serena is the best to lead and advocate for this change. The greatest female tennis player ever, and the face of the tennis world, her entire career she has dealt with people loving to hate her not only because she is a female, but also because she is a minority. People don’t just dislike her, they love to hate her. This passion is not over a specific reason. They don’t hate her because of the way she acts or who she is. It is purely because they don’t want to like her and want to see her fail.

There is a glaring double standard in the way that men and women are treated in the sports world, but also in tennis specifically. What women are allowed to say, what they are allowed to wear, and how they should go about being angry or frustrated is all held to a different standard than men.

For example, Serena received backlash from the president of the French Tennis Federation Bernard Giudicelli in August after she wore an all-black catsuit in one of her French Open matches. He cited that it was disrespectful to the game. Williams countered by saying that the suit was not just for aesthetic reasons, but that it in fact helped her from developing blood clots during the match, something she has struggled with since becoming a mom last year. Men have always worn colorful outfits during their matches and suffered no backlash from it. Why can’t women do the same? Isn’t this entertainment after all?

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Beyond that, however, inside women’s tennis, there are also different standards for how African American women are allowed to conduct themselves on the court. Serena and her sister Venus always have to deal with things differently compared to other female players in the specific outfits they wear, the way they style their hair, and how well-spoken they are in off-court interviews.

Not judged for their tennis skills on the court, they have to play opponents while people are in the stands wanting to see them not succeed. The mental strength it must take to actually stay strong through that and stay focused on their tennis goals and not be affected from other people cannot be understated.

The tennis world needs to make a change. While such a big event like this made us take a hard look at the sexism that is in the sport, we need to realize that problems like these have been happening for a while. Only when we acknowledge the misogyny around us can we begin to make steps to fix it.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-what-tennis-umpires-need-to-learn-20180913-story.html#

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/09/us/serena-williams-sexism-tennis-controversy/index.html

 

https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Serena_Williams/60311/john-mcenroe-defends-serena-williams-i-have-said-far-worse-/

 

China’s New Revolutionary Surveillance System Could Be A Breach on Citizens’ Privacies

For anyone that has seen the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” that is on Netflix, recent developments in China can sound all too familiar in terms of how the social structure for people is determined. In the episode, the directors depict a world where people are given scores by their peers and are awarded access to resources and entrance into places depending on the quality of their score.

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In the show, the woman went to the café and had to rate her barista on a scale from 1 to 10.

The episode documents a woman that, at the beginning of the episode, was not too far away from being at the score that would be considered elite and award her exclusive access to things others don’t have access to, but, by the end of the episode, she is on the side of the street begging for someone of any score to pick her up and drive her home.

 

While the directors created this type of episode to scare viewers of what the future with advancing technology might look like, this type of society might not be too far from happening in China. Earlier this month, it was revealed that China is leading the race to become the first to implement a pervasive system of algorithmic surveillance. Using facial recognition and artificial intelligence, the system would essentially give each citizen a “score” to encourage good behavior. A vast accompanying network of surveillance cameras will constantly monitor citizen’s every movements, they say in the hopes to reduce crime and terrorism.

A goal of the government is also to track what people say about the regime and have the capability to punish those who speak down towards them, but they of course haven’t come right out and said that as that might sound too alarming. The country has long been associated with condemning its citizens from saying anything bad about the government; however, the development of this technology may now allow China to punish citizens that speak out against what the government is doing.

The technology has the capability to essentially watch your every move. Saying positive things online about the government could award the individual faster internet service or a VISA so they can travel out of the country, while saying negative things about the regime could lead to a lower score and no access to those things.

This development extends into the business world as well. Although there have been financial systems that are able to track a person’s history of transactions for a credit history for a while now, this new technology would enable a lender to learn about the potential borrower’s online shopping data based upon their score. There is a great possibility that China could reward its citizens a higher score for buying products that the regime likes, say products that have been made by companies that knowingly endorse the government, while punishing the citizen and give them a lower score for buying products the regime does not like, like guns or video games. The things they choose to buy could determine the score they can attain, which could then determine the opportunities they have in the future.

This technology also has the ability to control who the individual wants their friends to be. The country could decide to implement that if your friends do something wrong, your own score lowers. If the individual does something that the regime considers “wrong,” friends and family may choose to no longer associate with this person in the fear of their score lowering and being allowed less access to things. Essentially, this system would thwart out any creative thinking or divergent thinking from the general mass, especially those of which that stand in opposition to the government.

The new system is already starting to be implemented. As of right now, there are 176 million cameras in China that watch citizens’ movements, but it is expected that by 2020 there will be 450 million installed. In addition, 100% of Beijing is currently blanketed by surveillance cameras, according to the Beijing Public Safety Bureau [1]. These surveillance cameras can detect someone’s face who is jaywalking across a street and alert local authorities who could show up to the person’s apartment to detain them later that day; that’s how powerful this technology is.

In news closer to home, an app had been developed in the United States in November 2015 named Peeple that had a similar feel in that citizens were rated by their peers and given a score based upon personal, professional, and dating areas. Not only could you rate people, but you could also comment positive and negative reviews on the person’s profile for them to see. The app was immediately taken off the market after public backlash; however, not before it was valued at $7.6 million.

China pioneering this new type of technology could revolutionize the way countries handle catching criminals. In that aspect, I believe that it could be very effective. Having so many surveillance cameras could no doubt help to solve the crimes of murders and robbery. However, for other crimes such as jaywalking, I do not think the police should worry so much about that as to not waste time that could be spent on more trivial matters. In terms of China using this as a means to control what their citizens think and say about the government, I find it incredibly unethical. It is a very convenient way for them to selectively breed out critical, independent thinking that is different from what the regime wants. It is uncertain when exactly this new system will be in place but I think it would be very smart for the United States to keep an eye out for what is happening in Chinese technologies.

Works Cited:

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/china-surveillance/552203/

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13379204/black-mirror-season-3-episode-1-nosedive-recap

[3] https://www.theverge.com/2015/10/1/9431055/peeple-yelp-for-people-app

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/07/18/too-much-surveillance-makes-us-less-free-it-also-makes-us-less-safe/?utm_term=.72bb1814afeb

Racial and Gender Diversity in the Workplace: The Country Needs to do Better

The United States is getting more and more diverse with every year that passes. For the first time in the country’s history, a majority of children (50.2%) under the age of five were classified as being part of a minority ethnic group [1]. As a result of the country undergoing this change, it has led to a more diverse workforce. In fact, according to ArchPoint, the minority working-age portion of the workforce is projected to double from 18% to 37% from 1980 to 2020, while the white population is projected to decline from 82% to 63% during that same period [1].

However, even though there has been an increase of diversity in the workforce, many are still not being treated equally. Resumés submitted by people with African American-sounding names are 14% less likely to get a call back than those with white-sounding names. In addition, an increase of diversity in the workforce has not lead to an increase in more diverse top executives. In fact, only 1% of all Fortune 500 companies have African American CEOs [1].

Women are also trying to change the diversity of the workforce. Hoping to increase their job opportunities, there are now more women than men that are receiving four-year bachelor degrees. Men are 30% more likely to be promoted from an entry level position to a manager position compared to women of equal caliber [1]. Despite this, in 2015 there were still fewer Fortune 500 CEOs who were women (4.1%) than who were named David (4.5%) or John (5.3%) [1]. The fact that two single male names outnumber an entire gender in high positions in companies is a strong indicator of where our country is at in the gender diversity of their companies.

Increasing racial and gender diversity in the workplace has long been a goal of Human Resource departments of companies. However, no matter how much companies claim it is a top priority of theirs, their plans have been ineffective to date. This might be because they have not had the correct mentalities.

The mere idea of increasing diversity is not enough for it to be done. It cannot happen “naturally.” Instead, companies need to create a specific hiring plan that has goals and expectations so when they are in the middle of job interviews for an open position, they can revert back to those goals before they make a final decision. Currently, people of color are not regularly encouraged to apply for job positions, let alone apply for the higher up positions in their companies, even though they are just as qualified, if not more, than their white counterparts. Diversity is created through understanding, recognition, planning and execution of the plan companies create themselves [2].

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UPMC’s newest Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer James. E. Taylor.

An example of a company taking the initiative to make their company more diverse through their hiring process can be found close to home. UPMC recently announced James E. Taylor as the new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. His goal in his new position will be to lead UPMC’s efforts to continue as an employer, provider, and insurer that reflects and embraces the rich diversity of the Pittsburgh region in both employment and in the services they offer to their patients [3].

Making companies more ethnically and gender diverse is a worthy investment for all involved.  Besides the fact that employees are more likely to be happier working under an inclusive company than a non-inclusive company [1], there could also be financial benefits. In fact, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians. Additionally, gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians. Similarly, companies reporting highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels of racial diversity [1].

Inclusion in the office provides many benefits for businesses and their employees. However, we will continue to see lackluster improvement in diversity of companies in the country until these companies recognize there needs to be a change in the thought process of how they hire.

[1] http://archpointgroup.com/the-state-of-us-workplace-diversity-in-14-statistics/

[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-cannon/racial-diversity-in-the-w_b_7192414.html

[3] http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2016/Pages/james-taylor-cdio.aspx