When asked how sexism and racism affected her career, Serena Williams didn't mince words.

Over the course of her two-decade-long career, Serena Williams has won nearly 40 major titles, a record amount of prize money, and has tied with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles championships of any man or woman, 22. But there's one title that Williams feels has unfairly eluded her.

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"If I were a man, I would have 100 percent been considered the greatest ever a long time ago," the tennis star told rapper Common in an interview for ESPN's "The Undefeated."


Unsurprisingly, for anyone who has ever watched her play, she has a pretty damn good case.

There are, of course, the aforementioned titles. In addition to equaling Graf's singles title record, Williams also equaled her women's record for consecutive weeks at number one earlier this year. But Williams' main claim to greatest-of-all-time status is how long she dominated the sport and how unquestionably she dominated it during that time.

Aside from — maybe, sort of, not really — her sister Venus, no player of her era could make a plausible claim to rivaling her. Sampras had Agassi. Federer had Nadal and Djokovic. Williams had ... nobody. A few of her competitors defeated her, but none came close to equaling her skill when she was in her prime.

Williams had to do it all not just as a woman, but as a black woman.

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"It's very challenging because sometimes when things are blatantly wrong and blatantly unfair and blatantly racist or sexist, I just have to go and put on a brave smile and not let anyone know how I feel on the inside so they don't get that satisfaction even though on the inside I would be dying," Williams said in the interview.

Far from shrinking in the face of those challenges, Williams has used her platform to speak out against injustice and encourage women of color to honor their ambition. In the last year, she's written candidly about her fear of police violence and about using what others perceive as her disadvantages — her race and gender in particular — to fuel her drive.

Women shouldn't have to play down their accomplishments, especially not those who are legitimately, obviously, otherworldly great at what they do.

A 2013 University of Massachusetts study found that women who work alongside successful men tend to play down their accomplishments. An earlier Cornell study found that while the female and male subjects scored evenly on a science test, the women in the study were far less confident in their ability to perform well ahead of the exam.

Williams, to the contrary, has long cast herself as part of the pantheon of historical greats and declared her gender irrelevant. Should she brag so openly? Why not? Male athletes brag constantly — and fans love them for it.

If there's anyone who shouldn't have to keep her high opinion of herself to herself, it's the woman who so thoroughly embodied her era of tennis that she basically changed the way the game is played.

Is Williams the G.O.A.T.?

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Like her peers in other sports — Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Joe Montana, Tiger Woods — there will always be debate about how undeniable Williams' dominance truly was.

But she's more than earned the right to say it.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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