"Hey," my friend said to me this afternoon, "so, did Tiger Woods cheat on his wife, or what? I sure think he did."
"Ugh," I said, unable to stop my eyes from rolling. "I really don't care. That's private stuff, between Tiger and his wife. I hope he succeeds in keeping it that way. Private, I mean."
"Oh, don't worry. He won't."
My friend is an unusual white woman, unusual in that she knows more than most white people do about being white. She thinks about it more, and even talks about it, sometimes.
Still, I wondered if my white friend was being more white than she realized, with that obviously intense interest of hers in Tiger's love life.
I have no doubt (my brain said to itself) that people of other races are also suddenly wondering and gossiping together about Tiger's love life, thanks to this past weekend's mysterious events. But, if these hypothetical non-white people are, say, black people, they're probably more likely to wonder and gossip together at other times about the messed-up love lives of other black celebrities too, black celebrities who don't have white partners. Seems to me that white people almost never do that.
It's not, I then thought, that white people care more right now about Tiger's domestic situation than black people or any other people do. It's more like, if Tiger's wife were black instead of white, I don't think white people would care nearly as much as they do. I think that's true of black and other people too, but maybe not as much?
I was getting a little confused. That's why I next asked my friend, "So . . . you've been following this Tiger thing pretty closely?"
"Yeah," she said, nodding her head. "Yes, interesting stuff! Aren't you? I mean, it's all over the news. Kinda hard to get away from."
"True, it is hard to get away from. But, tell me this. If Tiger Woods, probably the most famous black athlete in the world, maybe the most famous athlete period these days -- if Tiger Woods were having problems like this with a black wife instead of a white one, would you care as much?"
My friend kind of . . . froze. And then she started nodding her head again, and said, "You know something? That's a pretty good point. I don't think I would care as much. I don't think, actually, to be honest, that I'd care nearly as much."
"Uh huh. I thought so. Interesting difference there, no?"
"No. I mean, yes, that is interesting. And I don't think the media would care as much either. Do you?"
"Well, I always have thought of the corporate news media's big, watching eye as basically a giant white eye."
"True. I remember you saying as much. More than once."
"Right. Which doesn't mean, of course, that say, black people, are not also more interested in Tiger right now because his wife is white. More interested than they would be if his wife were black, I mean."
"Well, maybe. Probably. But then, who are we to say?"
"Right. We're white."
"So anyway," I said, "why is that? I mean, why do you care more about Tiger's messed-up love life because he has a white wife?"
"Well," my friend said. Then she frowned, and said, "Can I . . . get back to you on that?"
I smiled, and said, "Sure."
I smiled because I have faith in this white friend. Confidence, that she actually will get back to me on that.
We sort of shrugged then, and began the turn back towards our work.
"Oh," I said, turning back toward my friend. "One other thing -- remember to drink your apple juice."
"Apple juice? Why?"
"Because OJ will kill you."