Ever since the three controversial calls in the U.S. Open by Carlos Ramos that cost Serene a Grand Slam, apart from whether the calls were justified (I do not believe they were justified) Naomi Osaka's racial and ethnic heritage have continually been called into question.
Cosmopolitan ran an article by Jasmine Ting with the title 10 Thins to know about Naomi Osaka. The first line of the article reads: "Naomi Osaka already making history as the first Japanese woman to made it to the finals of any tennis Grand Slam–and on Saturday afternoon, she beat Serena Williams..."
When I've pointed out to people Naomi Osaka is actually Haitian and Japanese, I have gotten comments like, "Well, she wasn't raised in a Haitian neighborhood." Really? That's the "proof" needed to be Haitian or any other ethnicity nowadays? Since when does one neighborhood have any bearing on one's ethnicity? I'm told she "may have grown up near other Haitians," oh so this makes her more legit Haitian?
Naomi Osaka is Both Haitian and Japanese
Naomi Osaka's father is Haitian and her mother is Japanese. Although born in Japan, Ms. Osaka has repeatedly referred to herself as both Haitian and Japanese. In an interview with USA Today, the young tennis player said about herself, "When I go to Japan, people are confused. From my name, they don't expect to see a Black girl."
After defeating Ashleigh Barty (an Australian player) and the Australian Open in 2018, Naomi Osaka said, "of course, I am really honored to be playing for Japan. And my dad’s side is Haitian. So…represent!"
In neither instance did she say, "Yes, I'm both Haitian and Japanese, but I self-identity as Japanese. No, she reminds people she is both.
Why Is This a Pet Peeve of Mine?
It's a source of frustration to me when Biracial and Multiracial people self-identify one way and others identity-police them. I may be the lightest Black chick you'll ever meet (and yes, I am Multiracial: Black, Japanese and White) but I was raised to identify as Black. This is my choice, as it is Naomi Osaka's to self-identify as both, regardless where she was born and what neighborhoods she was raised in.
That Naomi Osaka has to remind people who she is and what her ethnic and racial background is tells me people aren't listening to her. It's not that difficult people, listen to her. She knows who she is.
Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open Photo credit: YouTube