Thank you for the Sept. 12 front-page photo of tennis champ Serena Williams. Serena, Venus Williams and Briana Scurry (the women's soccer team goalkeeper) have presented new challenges to the largely white male press corps. After blurting "superb athlete" and "incredible skills," the usually glib sports guys stammered and stuttered as they sought to compliment these athletes as women. Clearly they lack the vocabulary to cover these attractive, hard-playing and appealing black women athletes, who are totally unlike the "babes" they usually ogle.

I respectfully submit that these reporters are struggling to find the following words, which they have never read or heard:

"Serena, Venus and Briana are beautiful women whose black skin is its own source of striking beauty. The sheen and depth of these women's skin is magnetic and eye-catching and the perfect complement to their large noses and lips, thick African hair texture and bone structure. Their graceful moves alternate with powerful spurts of muscular force, and their quiet inner strength and iron-will determination are attractive traits we wish we had. Neither Serena nor Briana has to be compared to any other woman's beauty. They are their own standard. In valuing the beauty of descendants of West African slaves, we've cheated ourselves by idealizing the likes of Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams. Instead, we should have been enjoying the riches of beauty in people we have tried too hard to make invisible."

--Annette Gilliam