File under Funny: Alex Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and husband of tennis G.O.A.T., Serena Williams says that, she “definitely taught me what a wash cloth was.”
In an exchange over Twitter last week between he and actor Joel Saxon, he responded to a prompt on hygiene. Saxon posed the question: “When showering are you a ‘full body washer,’ or an ‘armpits and genitals only’ person?” Ohanian sub-tweeted a response from another Twitter user that implied that this was a white phenomenon, he replied, “[laugh emoji] I wasn’t this bad, but my wife definitely taught me what a wash cloth was.”
😂 I wasn’t this bad, but my wife definitely taught me what a washcloth was. https://t.co/h3JHO1reIX— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) November 11, 2020
Many followers found the line of dialogue to be triggering but Ohanian would not shy away. “Lots of mad people in the comments. I think it’s worth having a laugh at my own expense, because it helps de-program the BS this country grew up with,” he added in an ancillary post featuring a vintage Pear’s Soap ad featuring a racist caricature and stereotype. Continuing, he wrote, “(The narrative of white people thinking we epitomize cleanliness.)”
The allusion of the image eluded some, yet the Internet never fails and other users expeditiously arrived to articulate the pairing of the antiquated imagery with Ohanian’s commentary. One Twitter user commented, “he is using the image to illustrate that white people have long since seen themselves as the epitome of cleanliness & he is saying the story about his black wife having to introduce him to a washcloth allows an opportunity to unpack and deprogram that false narrative.”
Another user replied, “I think a lot of ya’ll failed reading comprehension in school.”
(The narrative of White people thinking we epitomize cleanliness.)— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) November 11, 2020
Ohanian wed Serena Williams on November 16, 2017 in New Orleans. They have a daughter who also has a famous doll, Qai Qai, who has more than 152,000 Instagram followers.
Alex has been a vocal advocate for Black Lives and ultimately, black livelihood. He made waves earlier this year with announcements of support to related causes via Twitter, “I’ve resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate.“ Quote-tweeting himself, he added, “I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’”
I’ve resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) June 5, 2020
Ohanian’s rhetoric, granted that he make good on his pledges, prove to be quite commendable in an era of hyper-partisan divisions largely predicated on enduring racial myths and unfounded anxieties. Being married to the greatest tennis player of all times who’s also an outspoken Black Woman – undoubtedly must’ve buoyed his thoughtfulness for the marginalized and helped him get clean inside and outside.