Dis’qualified! Serena Williams and Brittney Griner: Black Female Athletes and the Politics of the Im/Possible

  • Delia D. Douglas


This chapter examines the perception and treatment of two black American female athletes: basketball player Brittney Griner and tennis player Serena Williams. Described by their competitors, the media, and the public as possessing an unnatural physicality and embodying masculine traits that give them an “unfair advantage,” this discussion considers how their athletic performance/excellence interacts with the presumed obviousness of the intelligibility of their race-sex-gender difference to elicit a “high anxiety” that is expressed as anti-black misogyny, homophobia, and gendered racism. Douglas argues that the contemporary politics of black female embodiment cannot be adequately understood outside of consideration of the histories of slavery and imperialism and the attendant discourses of race, sexuality and gender that were based on the classification of black women as property.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delia D. Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarWinnipegCanada

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