"The question everyone in America wants to ask you is, how many white women does one brother waaant?"
Amid all the headlines generated by Tiger Woods'
troubles — the puzzling car accident, the suggestions of marital
turmoil and multiple mistresses — little attention has been given to
the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer.
Except in the black community.
When three white women were said to be romantically involved with
Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and
barbershops started humming, and Woods' already tenuous standing among
many blacks took a beating.
On the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner radio show, Woods was the butt of jokes all week.
"Thankfully, Tiger, you didn't marry a black woman. Because if a
sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas,"
one parody suggests in song, she would have castrated him.
"The Grinch's Theme Song" didn't stop there: "The question everyone in America wants to ask you is, how many white women does one brother waaant?"
As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes,
wrote: "If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with
black women, the golfing great's accident would have been barely a blip
in the blogosphere."
The darts reflect blacks' resistance to interracial romance. They
also are a reflection of discomfort with a man who has smashed barriers
in one of America's whitest sports and assumed the mantle of the
world's most famous athlete, once worn by Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.
But Woods has declined to identify himself as black, and famously
chose the term "Cablinasian" (Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian) to
describe the racial mixture he inherited from his African-American
father and Thai mother.
This vexed some blacks, but it hasn't stopped them from claiming
Woods as one of their own. Or from disapproving of his marriage to Elin Nordegren, despite blacks' historical fight against white racist opponents of mixed marriage.
On the one hand, Ebonie Johnson Cooper doesn't care that Tiger Woods' wife and alleged mistresses are white because Woods is "quote-unquote not really black."
"But at the same time we still see him as a black man with a white woman, and it makes a difference," said Johnson Cooper, a 26-year-old African-American from New York City. "There's just this preservation thing we have among one another. We like to see each other with each other."
Black women have long felt slighted by the tendency of famous black
men to pair with white women, and many have a list of current
transgressors at the ready.
"We've discussed this for years among black women," said Denene Millner,
author of several books on black relationships. "Why is it when they
get to this level ... they tend to go directly for the nearest blonde?"