They are women of color (Osaka’s mother is Japanese, father is Haitian, and Byers and Richardson are African-Americans) and have recently made headlines due to their decisions to support their mental health .
These three people also have something in common that I understand very well-the struggle that women of color face in terms of self-care.
As I wrote in the caption of the emoji I shared on Instagram, it’s hard to be a black woman.
“We should save relationships, families, elections, communities, democracy, and basically the entire world while showing “black girl magic”, but are you all crazy when we save ourselves?” I wrote. “Welcome to a new day.”
The heavy burden is made worse by being black women, because we are not socialized to give ourselves as much care as we expect to give to others.
Literally, black women should be super women, from leading families to providing emotional support for white people who want to be allies, but we need our help to figure out how to get there.
For black female athletes who not only have to compete with their opponents, there is an additional level.
A 2018 study from Morgan State University in Baltimore titled “Beat the Rivals and Fight Depreciation: How African-American Female Athletes Use Communities to Deal with Negative Images” investigated how they must deal with racism and sexism in order to become champions.
For example, it pointed out that Serena Williams-arguably the world’s greatest tennis player, who has won more than 20 Grand Slams-was compared to a “man” and a “gorilla.”
After the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team lost to Tennessee in the NCAA finals in 2007, radio host Don Imus referred to these players as “diapers.”
Osaka, Byers, and Richardson have been targets of racism and sexism before, but more recently.
They said that both Osaka and Byers withdrew from the game to protect their mental health, and Richardson was disqualified from the game because he tested positive for marijuana.
Richardson was legally smoking marijuana in Oregon and explained that it happened after a reporter she didn’t know revealed to her the news of her mother’s death.
The trio were criticized by some people on social media as “abandoners”, “arrogant”, “lazy” and “irresponsible”. These are just words suitable for printing here.
Everyone is sending a clear message: they are taking care of themselves.
These three athletes are younger than me, and I do believe that they are the generation that decided to put mental health above everything else-damn haters.
Each of them has invested in professional ethics, making them a leader in their field, and they don’t owe any of us talents and take their own risks. They will not, even if they are not champions.
A friend stretched out his hand in private, expressing his anger at these women who think they are not suitable for “persistence” and “work” as we have been since childhood (this friend and I are of the same generation).
In this regard, I said that maybe they have seen the older generation and saw that this mentality will have unworthy physical, emotional and spiritual consequences. If unhappiness is the price of getting there, then what is the use of fame, wealth, and medals?
Therefore, if you want, you can call it a dropout, drop out or even break the rules. I call it victory.