Tuesday, December 1, 2009

care more about the messed-up love life of a famous black man when he's married to a white woman

"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."


  1. Wtf did I just read?

    Macon, this type of post would be better at home on Stuff White People Like. It's just whiteboy naval-gazing based off a single event which can't even be confirmed for us readers.

    Have you never noticed the tabloids at the supermarket checkout or noticed how much media attention is given to the imaginary fight between Anjelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston? Trainwreck white female celebs are so common in the news that no one even notices them. The media is up everyone's arses.

    Lots of/most people don't actually know much if anything about his wife, let alone that she's white. This is getting so much attention because it's completely unsual. Despite some infidelity rumors which, let's be honest, dog just about everyone who is or ever has been famous, Tiger Woods is not known for being in the media for anything other than being an incredible golfer. There are no Tiger Woods crotch shots or secret pics of night club coke binges. As far as everyone knows he's a great guy and a great athlete.

    If your friend claims to care more about this because he has a white wife, I can only assume that you misinterpreted what she meant, or she's batsh-t and should be listened to about as much as the archetypal crazy guy shouting that the world is going to end. Yes, plenty of white people only care about white celebs, but it's laughable that you would assume this is why the media cares.

    And the OJ joke at the end of the story? Utterly tasteless and not comparable. And pretty condescending if you're trying to win over POC because we do not all feel the same way about that case and the way the media handled it.

  2. You missed it on this one.

    I think the obsession with celebrity crosses race lines more than occasionally. If Will Smith, for example, were cheating and/or beating a la Tiger or OJ, people'd be all over it (if it were reported, I mean, b/c half the time the police turn a blind eye to the transgressions of their heroes). Or take Chris Brown and Rihanna--not married, but still. All over the white news.

    Sometimes it becomes a national obsession precisely because the offender is black or African-American and reporting the cheating/beating "habits" of black and African-American men reinforces cultural stereotypes.

    Though Tiger has always shied away from self-identifying as black, most people will identify him as black, so there's more than a little white-shadenfreude to the reports of his fall from grace. ("See, just another black man whoring around.)

    Aside from the cheating angle, white people pay attention to black culture for several reasons. One is so that they can better appropriate it. The other is so that they can better oppress through the perpetuation of white cultural stereotypes about minorities.

  3. If Tiger Woods was not a high profile individual-we wouldn't even be viewing the details of his story.

    I find it interesting that no one seems to be raising the possibility that his wife may be facing domestic violence charges. That would make the story interesting. We seldom talk about women who batter men.

    I heard a remark about why there is so much coverage on this situation on Morning Joe. "The public decides what we cover." I don't think so. The media is the source that generates interest. They are the ones who make it their business to find out the full 411.

    Tiger Woods is just a human being like everyone else. He has an amazing talent for playing golf. But, he is just like every other mortal on the planet. He has made mistakes and had problems that he has managed to keep private.

    Whatever happens at this point is honestly between the two of them. I'm sure that the media will continue to snoop around in their story.

    Personally, since I'm not involved or a personal friends of theirs-I really don't care. If it doesn't kill either one of them-it will make them stronger.

  4. Interesting. It will, of course, vary from person to person, but my initial reaction was that the story might actually be a bigger deal in the media if his wife were black--not that that would be a good thing. The suggestion of possible domestic abuse centered around a black couple? I imagine the "angry black woman" narrative would be all over the place. Then again, perhaps the cheating allegation is stirring up all sorts of "oversexed black man" stereotypes. I really don't know;I've been making a point of avoiding information on this story. It makes me sick that people are so determined to speculate about what's going on in someone else's marriage and sensationalizing the possibility of physical abuse.

  5. Interracial relationships always attract more attention, because there are people from both sides who oppose them.
    I am currently involved with a Black man, and I admit that the fact that Tiger is in an IR marriage with a similar racial make-up is the only reason I take any interest in this story. Otherwise, I'm not interested in him, or any other athletes.
    I know that whatever he did will not affect my relationship directly, but I am curious to see if there will be people who will assess it through the lens of this celebrity IR story. And I think there will. And I can only hope that I will be able to control myself, and not poison our peace of mind by reading hateful comments on the Internet, but I can't vouch for that.

    Even if I weren't in an IR relationship, I think I can tell the reason that some White people take more interest in this story. White women are considered the ultimate prize, especially for a Black man. And Erin Nordegren is seen as top of the pyramid: Scandinavian (the "whitest" white), young, very beautiful, mothered his children, etc etc. For a Black man to turn his back on such a prize, that would be a slap in the face of whiteness, how dare he take for granted the love of a beautiful Aryan woman?
    That makes us forget that this is, after all, a sad story about a family that might be breaking up. Also, it raises the issue that men too can be subject to domestic violence and no one seems to care (imagine if he had beaten her with a golf club!!!).
    My boyfriend says that some Black people will say the opposite, that cheating on a White woman is no big deal, because "White women steal too many good Black men as it is". Who knows. Like I said, I hope we will both be able to turn a deaf ear to any ignorant comments.

    As for "private", you are being overly PC about this simply because Tiger is Black, in my opinion. There is no such thing as "private" for a major celebrity, this is the world we live in. Gossiping about celebs is not the same as gossiping about your friends, they are public figures, and they all cash in BIG TIME on the interest that people take on their private and professional lives.

  6. "...a famous black man..."

    Uhm! Tiger Woods is 1/2 Vietnamese, 1/4 White and 1/4 Black

  7. I think this is more celebrity based then race based. And truthfully I feel most folk pay more attention to their own in general.

  8. Oh yes, definitely. Same with OJ, the situation alluded to at the end of the post. That "white wife" absolutely adds interest for the white people I know to this story.

    add it up, Tiger may like to call himself a Calibinasian (sp?), but to white America, he's black.

  9. "Well, I always have thought of the corporate news media's big, watching eye as basically a giant white eye."

    I remember local talk show host (now deceased) Dan Ryan said during a segment, that when the local news anchor stares into that camera to give us the news of the day- he assumes he is talking to a white audience. Its what makes us blacks mad at times- for the media (both local and national) oftentimes acts as if we didn’t exist. Unless the story has some bearing on them (whites) personally. I am so tired of hearing 24 hour news cycles of yet another missing white woman or child, knowing how many black and minority children go missing every single day. Whites historically have learned to ignore the plight of blacks unless it has some bearing on them at a personal level. The evening news often leads with what minority shot or stabbed who, and after that grisly tidbit is out of the way, it’s on to the wonderful- beautiful things whites are doing in the suburbs and the surrounding communities. And whites have the nerve to ask us why we have Jet magazine- Ebony magazine, BET and black churches. For historically and presently- whites pretty much ignore us unless we are doing wrong.

    We have a black mayor where I live and I can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard or saw something related to him in the news. Its as if blacks aren’t capable of doing good no matter what position they hold in life. But the previous white mayors before this one were in the news constantly, for it followed the reasoning that as a white male our mayor was always about the business of serving the community. Therefore he would be in the news a lot more. Whites in the media see everything through a white lens. Some news trickles down to us blacks, but not much. For whites are so concerned and carried away with people who look- talk and act like them.

    Its why Mrs. Obama is not featured on SNL. How hard is it to hire a black actress to play Michelle? Its why there are so many white oriented sitcoms and cop shows. It seems as if a white person’s natural instinct is to think about themselves and others like them first and foremost; and never even consider the racial other. Minorities are only noticed when whites are forced by circumstance to notice them. It’s the bi-product of being white and controlling the images we see in the media. During the time that Michael Vick was having his run-ins with the law there was another story getting limited airplay about a white man who taped himself having sex on camera with a three year old female child. Does anyone remember this? Whites were in an uproar about what Vick was doing to dogs, they all but forgot about the tragedy of a grown man raping an innocent three year old on camera. His story died soon after; while the media focused on black men fighting dogs in the inner city. There were panel discussions and experts being call in to analyze the black male mind.

    The rapist’s name was, Chester Arthur Stiles, a 37-year old arrested outside Las Vegas during a routine traffic stop. Both stories aired about the same time on CNN, in October of 2007. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0710/02/cnr.06.html

    But it was the Michael Vick story that drew the most outrage from whites; not a man raping a 3 year old child on camera. Can you remember the last time you saw anything about Chester in the news? Or read about him in a magazine? Especially when one considers the severity of his crime? No panel discussions, no expert pundits giving their opinions on why some white males are prone to raping small children; nope- there was nothing of the sort. There are quite a few stories of Michael Vick in the news again, as he is considering whether he wants to own another pet.

  10. I've been interested in this story, in the sense that my husband's been giving me updates as he reads them, and I've been interested to hear them. But I can say with full honesty that until I read this blog post, I didn't know he was with a white woman. I just assumed he was with a WoC. (Make of that what you will.)

    I find the case interesting *because* he is such a reclusive fellow - he's rarely in the press for anything other than sports, unlike most celebs. So because he is private, that makes it more interesting when something goes public. I could give two shits about Angelina Jolie's new whatever-the-fuck-she's-up-to, because she's done all but post crotch shots to keep herself in the public's attention. Likewise, I didn't care about the whole Rihanna/Chris Brown thing, because they're both in the public view. But a fellow who keeps himself out of the public eye suddenly becoming a topic of very public speculation, now THAT'S interesting.

    It's sort of like, if I had couples in my neighborhood that stood out on their front lawns screaming at each other all the time, I'd roll your eyes and ignore them. But when that couple from down the block who hides in their house all the time suddenly appears on their front lawn, losing it at each other, I can't help but be intrigued.

    On another note though, one thing that does upset me about this case is all the people I've seen online who are like, "Yeah! You go, girl! Beat his cheating ass!" Somehow I doubt all these people would be so supportive of golf-club-wielding antics if the situations were reversed. If she were the one who was cheating and he started attacking her car with a golf club, I don't see any possible way that those people would be saying, "Yeah! She totally brought that on herself! You go, Tiger!"

  11. "Uhm! Tiger Woods is 1/2 Vietnamese, 1/4 White and 1/4 Black"

    If Tiger was just a person in the skin he currently occupies and walked in the south or the suburbs of any major city- whites wouldn’t give a damn what part Black- White, or Vietnamese he is. As far as they are concerned he is the black man to be followed in the store, or pulled over for possibly carrying drugs. Whites would see him from 50 ft away and make the determination that he is indeed black. They've no time to argue over the rudiments of his ethnicity. The one drop rule renders him black period. Blacks come in 14 different shades and whites still label us all as black. Its why Tiger can so easily choose a white woman, because he can reason; "well I'm not totally black- I can identify with my white part, so I guess its OK."

  12. I dunno....this post really seems like it's reaching. I think it's all over the news because it's freaking Tiger Woods (a veritable golden boy) in a completely unusual and erratic situation.

  13. uhg. white people judge other white people for being "white" or "even more white". I'm not going to walk around all paranoid that I'm being "white", but I will try to love all people the same. I would hope POC would do the same when considering me and my cultural quirks.

  14. I don't think this post is "reaching." Yes, whites and others care about this situation like obsessive voyeurs cuz Tiger's so famous, but a lot of whites also care more because he has a white wife. That adds pruient interest, at the very least, and dredges up racial taboos that still linger to this day. And they'd likely care less, or at least differently, if Tiger's wife wasn't white.

    wendy, that's a nice racial fantasy you have there. However, I don't think many POC are as oblivious to the significance of your own whiteness as you seem to be. (And who do you think is "judging" anyone here?)

  15. Tiger's mother is not Vietnamese she is Thai.

  16. You know I love this blog, but I think you missed the mark with this one. I do agree that perhaps the media has given this more attention, perhaps because Tiger's wife is white, but I don't think your average white person is paying more attention because of that. In fact, if anything, I think it's because Tiger himself isn't considered "black" by many whites (think about that Dave Chappelle sketch, where Tiger was declared White in a trade for the Wu Tang, who were declared Asian).

    I also see plenty of interest in high-profile couples of color like Will and Jada.

    Also, mgibson, I think you're wrong: There's a LOT of hullabaloo about Tiger Woods being mixed-race, and I for one feel that I if I saw him without knowing who he was, I would guess Filipino (which isn't even part of his ethnic makeup, I know, I'm just saying he looks more Filipino or Southeast Asian than black to me).

  17. Perhaps you could post a list of all the black male celebrities...(particularly those of Tiger Woods' status/fame)... who cheated on their black wives, yet were ignored by white people.

    Thank you.

  18. "As far as they are concerned he is the black man to be followed in the store, or pulled over for possibly carrying drugs."

    LOL That's how YOU see him.

    At the time Tiger designated his racial identity as "caublanasian", outraged black people (not white people) were all over television screaming "HE'S BLACK".

  19. Whether or not Tiger Woods cheated on his wife is getting a lot of media attention because, except for a few temper flares here and there, Woods has been the "clean, pretty boy" for his entire professional career. That is, no DUI, no dog fighting, no rape allegations, no drugs or weapons allegations, nothing people normally associate with messed-up celebrities or pro athletes of any color.

    There's a sensational aspect as well. His wife, according to some media outlets, may have been chasing him with a golf club.

    Personally, given how almost all other celebrities are treated (especially, one could argue, white women) by the media, I have a really hard time believing he's being scrutinized because he's non-white and she's white.

  20. Please explain what you meant with that OJ joke, because it's making me a little sick right now, to be honest.

  21. My apologies to those offended by the O.J. reference. I meant it as a way of bringing up the parallel (if there actually is one) to the O.J. Simpson case. I think the "black" man/white wife element of that case made it more titillating, at best, for a lot of white people.

    Yes, the Tiger Woods story is everywhere now because he's so famous, because he's so seemingly perfect, and so on, but I'm just wondering if race -- and in this situation, his interracial marriage -- is also a factor that adds interest, and if so, how that works.

  22. I think people are shocked that Tiger who built up a squeaky clean image can be such as philandering fool for so long with at least THREE women. The fact that his wife is white Swedish does kind of, sort of add to the interest.

    All I know is as of this shocking revelation, Tiger's life, like a golf ball, is spiraling down a empty hole.

  23. White people need to STFU when they catch themselves about to opine about a person of colour's CHOICE of racial self-identification, whether to agree, disagree, chime in with the fractional "facts," and so on.
    -If a multiracial POC invents a word to honour their multiple heritages. So be it. End of story.
    -If a biracial POC calls themself black because that is how they feel, they are black. So be it. End of story.
    -If they make a choice that confuses you, too bad. They don't need to explain themselves either.
    -If they change their choice for various times or contexts. So be it. End of story.
    The POC is the expert on their own life, for chrissakes. White people: No ifs, ands, or buts.
    If POC want to weigh in respectfully about how those self-identifications make them feel, affect them and their communities and so on, that is something totally different. It's a double-standard I can live with.

    (Okay, white parents of children of colour have a responsibility to discuss racial identity for a while but soon enough those white parents need to back off, too.)

  24. That's all well and good, Enough, but what about what this writer points out about Woods?

    ""Cabalasian," while personally factual, is not how he is perceived - anywhere.

    Tiger Woods is a Black man - period. And as such, he and his monumental endorsement, financial and on-course success is the object of scorn in every level of American society; hated from sports desks nationwide, to gossip rag editors, Joe the Plumbers everywhere, to the Rayburn Building, to the halls of the FBI.

    Tiger Woods is black enemy Number One."

  25. Famous people always make big news headlines - regardless of race. However, the white controlled media always make a bigger fuss over IR couples, especiall if they are involved in any type of cross the line/illegal/criminal or against the norm activities. If this were Harrison Ford it would not be flying all over the news for having an affair with a white woman (just an example, don't start any rumors that aren't true). But, if he were having an affair with a black woman it would be huge! It seems that all the hundreds of years that this country has battled and fought and tried to get out from under racial discrimination is still being controlled by those in power (i.e. media) and until we get equality there we won't have it in daily routines. What is equality then in the eye of the media? They are just doing their job and reporting the news right? Wrong! They report what sells viewers. What we should all do is ignore every headline that is not directly related to our own personal life. We should stop buying all of the hype magazines off the newsstands - put the paparazzi out of business and let "people" and I mean all people live their own life and address their own dilemmas. I didn't care what Bill Clinton did in private, I don't care what Tiger Woods does in private. I had just as soon my children not be subjected to such negative role models every time they turn on the internet or check out at the grocery store.

  26. What we should all do is ignore every headline that is not directly related to our own personal life. We should stop buying all of the hype magazines off the newsstands - put the paparazzi out of business and let "people" and I mean all people live their own life and address their own dilemmas.

    Wow, I do this already! I didn't even know about this until I came to read the latest post here.

  27. "White people need to STFU when they catch themselves about to opine about a person of colour's CHOICE of racial self-identification"

    Please provide names of any white people who expressed disapproval with Tiger's racial-self-identification. If you can't name any, please be honest enough to say so.

    Until then, STFU.

  28. ""Cabalasian," while personally factual, is not how he is perceived - anywhere."

    Actually, lots of folks, myself included, perceive him as he perceives himself, "multi-racial".

    The only people I've heard who insist that he's black are black people.

  29. I don't think Tiger's relationship is in the spotlight because he's married to a white woman but because he's...Tiger Woods. It's the media's job to get into celebrities' business. What about what happened between Rihanna and Chris Brown? That got a lot of attention. Or for a non-black example, how about John and Elizabeth Edwards? A politician is an easy target.

  30. "If this were Harrison Ford it would not be flying all over the news for having an affair with a white woman"

    Please give an example of some white male (whose fame is comparable to Tiger Woods) who had an affair with a white woman but was not "flying all over the news".

    If you can't provide an example, please be honest enough to say so.

    Thank you.

  31. Well, just to offer the comparison to OJ...when he was knowingly beating his black wife, no one batted an eye in the media but when he allegedly murdered Nicole, it was huge. Granted, that's murder and not simple battery but why wouldn't someone say anything about the football player earlier? I totally think that Tiger's race and his relationship with a white woman have a huge effect on the media coverage. Sure, a large part is also that it's Tiger Woods, a golden boy playing a predominantly white game. And maybe that's the big issue. Is it because Tiger Woods is essentially living in a white man's world and has seemingly summoned the wrath of white America because he didn't seemingly adhere to their rules?

    When was the last time that a white celebrity's medical records were being called to be subpoenaed over a car accident?

  32. I'm not saying you're off, but I do think you are coming at this with a pop culture and race background rather than a sports and race background. Not to say that they don't have overlap, but I feel you are simplifying this a bit.

    Tiger Woods is an "untouchable." There are a few black athletes the sports media will designate as "untouchables" so they can be used to say "I'm not racist, I like Tiger Woods, I write positive stories about him don't I?"

    Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, etc. Of course, these athletes are totally non-threatening to the order, Woods will call himself a "cablanasian" and Jordan will say that "Republicans buy shoes too".

    However, they are still first and foremost a black man to the sports media, who will use them to show that they are "different from other black athletes", but will turn on them the moment they eff up. His "untouchable" status only applies until he makes an error (or a perceived error), then he is ripped apart. But I think they held back to make sure the story was true, then when TMZ went in they had to follow suit or their reporting would be seen as old news.

    Therefore, when this story first broke, the sports media was actually a bit quieter, definitely quieter than they were for Vick.

    In addition, since Woods is the main golf draw, the sports media depends on him for quotes and all that, so they have to tread more carefully around him (until he makes a false move).

    The TMZ and those type of news outlets (I don't know the others and I don't care to know them) have no such relationship with Woods, and do whatever it is that they do with any famous black man.

    For them, I can understand the interracial thing. But for the sports media (who are now reporting the story like they've been fully reporting it the whole time), I don't think the wife is too relevant. Adam Jones, Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, none of those stories involved a woman of any kind, and they all got ripped.

    Maybe you are correct that the TMZ world white people care more about Woods since he has a white wife, but the sports world white people have their own process going on, which I am pretty sure focuses on Woods and not his wife.

    This is a big guess and I really don't know, but I would guess TMZ is more of a white liberal zone, and sports media encompasses white liberals and white conservatives (and it is run by white conservatives). So I see them going after Woods no matter the race of his wife, because his race is the main part of the story.

    Besides, white people love to see black on black fighting and feuds, do they not? It reinforces stereotypes they have. So are you sure that white people don't care?

  33. "When was the last time that a white celebrity's medical records were being called to be subpoenaed over a car accident?"

    Puleeze. When any person gets into a car accident and is taken to the hospital, it is normal for the police to seek any evidence of drugs or alcohol use. Nice play of the race card.

  34. Truth hurts said,

    "Nice play of the race card."

    I'm sorry, but my reaction to this can only be summed up in an image macro:


  35. @ Truth Hurts

    Did you seriously just bring up the "race card"? Really?

    Go read this post:

    Secondly - don't pretend that interaction with the police is the same for white and black people. You know it isn't. Racial profiling happens and being sarcastic about it isn't going to make that any less true (not matter how hard you roll your eyes).

    Thirdly, you say -

    "Please give an example of some white male (whose fame is comparable to Tiger Woods) who had an affair with a white woman but was not "flying all over the news".

    If you can't provide an example, please be honest enough to say so.

    Thank you."

    - to which I ask...how the hell is anyone meant to answer that? If their name was NOT flying all over the news then many people would not have heard about it, would they? Which would make your question difficult to answer. But I'm guessing that you already know that. You just asked the question because you know that it will be difficult to come up with names and then you can feel as if you've scored some kind of point.

    I don't read magazines or gossip websites or entertainment news. But I've *still* heard about this Tiger Woods debacle and honestly I think the coverage has been horrendously disproportionate to the "news". Is it because he is a person of colour or is it because he has never had a whiff of scandal near him before? I don't know. But I do know that you are dismissing the conversation and being disingenuous. So stop it.

  36. mgibson17 said: "Blacks come in 14 different shades and whites still label us all as black."

    Funny, it rolls the other way, too. There's also a lot of variety in whites, yet they all get lumped into one as well. Hell, arabs get called POC or white on a whim on this blog.

    As for the Tiger thing... he's a gigantic athlete. I don't know in the US, but when the mega-athletes here in Australia get caught out cheating, there's huge tabloid scandals. And our mega-athletes are generally white. Regular athletes, no-one cares, but the really big brand names are just tabloid food.

  37. actually this is a good segue to another blog - stuff (liberal) white people do . . . find racism EVERYwhere regardless of the reality.

    this post reminded me of warren hutcherson's standup act:
    "my father would find plots in the grocery store . . . why must i be cuckoo for cocoa puffs"

    as to your overall premise - i admit to not doing the research but i feel confident that the audience of 'being bobby brown' included a fair number of white folk. i know white people talked about it, i heard them.

    also, your premise would seem to suggest that white people are not as interested in the marriages of celebrity couples where both members are white. and that is clearly not true.

    hell, i STILL get joke emails about clinton/rodham/lewinsky and despite some people's claims that he was our first black president . . . that was nothing but white there

    now, a little conjecture - i think if i could prove (which of course i can't) that white people are more interested in the train wrecks of celebrity couples where both members are black then you would criticize that as being some sort of gawking / treating the couple as a minstrel show.

    finally, if there is any part of your premise i agree with it would be that both blacks and whites are fascinated with black / white relationships period. not necessarily when they trainwreck (although everyone loves a trainwreck)

    coming from the POV that everything white people do is likely racist pretty much guarantees that we are never going to move forward in terms of race relations.

    now if people start making comments like 'well, she should have known better to get involved with one of them' then okay . . . you're right.

    mostly i think people are fascinated because he was a celebrity with a spotless image carrying on multiple affairs getting in a car crash and being physically threatened by his wife and refusing to talk to the police. the public would generally take notice for just ONE of those events.

  38. "Did you seriously just bring up the "race card"? Really?"

    No. I responded to it.

  39. After reading the comments and seeing more news, I'm convinced of something:

    This case is getting so much attention because until right now, Tiger Woods was perfect. He never did a single thing wrong, and was the "untouchable," as someone mentioned.

    That said, there's still a racist element, but it's not his wife. I think it's in seeing such a "perfect" black man screw up. I think white racists are reveling in that.

  40. I agree had his wife been Black there would be less white interest, but had they not been a mixed race/multi-ethnic couple (as I am part of as well)...I might not be interested either. I think we are all drawn in and intrigued by celebrity lives that mirror our own even on the most minute level...adoptees, mixed race, etc. I don't think it's exclusively a race thing, but race does play a part in almost everything-sad but true. Some will see it as an "I told you he was just like the rest of 'em"...some have joked that "white women act the fool too"...and on and on.

  41. Just FYI, watching Good Morning America today, all they kept repeating was "Tiger's fall from grace" or "tarnishing his golden reputation."

    I'm convinced that that's what it's about for a LOT of people.

  42. I'm convinced of that too, Jillian. In fact it seems obvious.

    As I said above, the Tiger Woods story is everywhere now because he's so famous, because he's so seemingly perfect, and so on, but I'm just wondering if race -- and in this situation, his interracial marriage -- is also a factor that adds interest, and if so, how that works. I think if it is a factor for a lot of white people, a lot of them aren't going to come right out and say so.

  43. "Funny, it rolls the other way, too. There's also a lot of variety in whites, yet they all get lumped into one as well. Hell, arabs get called POC or white on a whim on this blog."

    EPT, I think the difference in the situation is that in this country(and several others, being considered black is like a taint. Thus the one drop rule. The perception seems to be that Arabs and other people like them whose whiteness is questionable are only poc(or more accurately, treated that way) when they are noticeably un-white(noticeable accent, unusual name, etc).

  44. Jillian said...
    Just FYI, watching Good Morning America today, all they kept repeating was "Tiger's fall from grace" or "tarnishing his golden reputation."

    I completely agree. The fact that he's married to a white woman is an interesting side-note, but I hardly think that's the reason why this story is so popular.

    I think people who place an importance on the fact that Tiger is married to a white woman (and think that it makes this story even more intiguing) are the exception, not the rule.

  45. More than a few comments have accurately touched on Tiger's heretofore "pristine" image.

    From my observation the media (white) will present favorable images of Black athletes and entertainers, if said Blacks present a non-threatening demeanor, keep their voices at a moderate tone, and refrain from questioning inequities within the system, and avoid issues of race. This is the type of Black person that Whites are comfortable with, and will tend to get favorable press, and short-comings may be over looked, such as drinking, womanizing, gambling, etc.

    OTOH, if the athlete speaks his or her mind, they will be demonized in the press, endorsements snatched, and be deemed persona non grata. In other words, an uppity Nigga! From Jack Johnson, to Ali. John Carlos to Barry Bonds, to Jim Brown, all have spoken their minds on issues of race in sports and society, and the white press was very unforgiving.

    Guys like Tiger, Jordon or Magic who avoid all controversial issue, and would rather drink arsenic than talk about race, we'll the White media loves them, and constantly talk about how great they are.

    For those who says Tiger is not Black, well if a police report is ever filed, in the section for race, it will not read cablinasian or biracial, it read BLACK, Male.

    I realize I’m off topic. Not trying to hijack, just tossing my two cents on the table about the media creation that is Tiger.

  46. Truth Hurts - you said: "Please provide names of any white people who expressed disapproval with Tiger's racial-self-identification. If you can't name any, please be honest enough to say so. Until then, STFU."

    I don't know how these people identify racially, but "Marianne" said "As for "private", you are being overly PC about this simply because Tiger is Black, in my opinion", and others on/outside of this blog have also labeled him as black.

    I *completely* agree with everything "Enough said" said, except I would expand this to say that NO ONE should disregard or re-label any racial self-identification of a POC, although they can respond to how this makes them feel. Everyone's identity (racial, sexual, gender, religious, etc.) is personal to themselves regardless of how society views them - whether it is fluid or conditional dependent on different environments - and no one has the right to disrespect that. I understand that Tiger is perceived in the media/by society at large as black, but that doesn't give you as individuals the right to disrespect his personal self-identification. If you hear his personal label from his mouth, that is the *only* label you can call him.

    As a mixed-race person who identifies as such, I would hope that other people would choose not to discount the identity I chose for myself.

  47. coming from the POV that everything white people do is likely racist pretty much guarantees that we are never going to move forward in terms of race relations.

    Yeah, THAT's what's halting race relations, mean ol' darkies picking on poor, defenseless White people.

  48. @witchsistah - oh yeah that's EXACTLY what i said (insert sarcasm here)and of course i didn't say anything else that would frame that comment in any sort of context at all

    do you really think that's what i said?? how's that willful ignorance working for ya?

  49. @ witchsistah - one more addendum to that - the person in this case who i was suggesting is assuming racism is the author of this post - a white dude

  50. @cassdawn

    You're absolutely right. How's that?

  51. @RVC Bard

    which post are you referring to? and which part of which post?

    my guess is that your intent is to be condescending . . .

    obviously i think i was more right than not or i wouldn't have said it. but there's a huge chasm between being "absolutely right" (quoting RVCbard) and being a racist who is blaming strained race relations on "mean ol' darkies picking on poor, defenseless White people" (quoting witchsistah)

  52. I'm not sure if anyone will see this because there are so many comments already, but I would really like to know other people's (especially black men) opinions on why rich or successful black men date white women. IMO, it's because they bought into the white standard of beauty long ago and a blonde beautiful white woman is their idea of perfection. I also think it's because it gives them a feeling of superiority or that they've made it. Or a feeling of rising higher up in society. Although I did have a black man tell me once that it's because women are easier to get along with. They aren't as materialistic and bitchy.

  53. "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."

    Ooh, I love this. Tell me more about how this woman knows what "white people" are like and what "being white" entails. I've been a white person my whole life, and I didn't know we had rules. Is "care more about white women marrying black men" a rule? Becuase I didn't even care that Tiger was married until I heard that he was in a car wreck with his wife standing over him with a golf club. I didn't even know she was white until I read this. You know why I like Tiger Woods? Because he has the ability to understand how a ball should be hit to fly at a precise arc going 50+ miles an hour, and he can predict within a high degree of certitude where the ball will land. Not only that, but he can also control his muscles to the degree that he can hit with such precision.

    You want to talk racist? Why is it that most sports balls are white? Here, asian american Ichiro, take this bat and hit this ball that's painted white as hard as you can. Here, Tiger Woods, take this golf club and hit this ball that's painted white as hard as you can. Here, Freddy Adu, kick this white ball as hard as you can. Soccer balls, baseballs, golf balls, ping pong balls. All white, and all designed to be hit. The other sports balls? Basket balls and foot balls. Guess what you do with these? You protect them from your opponents and try to get them to the goal.

  54. Miles, there aren't any "rules" I'm aware of that are particular to white people. There are common white tendencies, though, which is pretty much what this blog is about. In fact, you've just demonstrated some of those, primarily the common white tendency to reject serious consideration of common white tendencies. Your effort to divert said serious consideration with a trivializing analogy is another one.

  55. add it up said...

    "...a famous black man..."

    Uhm! Tiger Woods is 1/2 Vietnamese, 1/4 White and 1/4 Black

    Xoul says: That seems to make him a famous Black Man!! I think what should have been the correct way to phrase that would be "Tiger Woods is 1/2 Vietnamese, 1/4 CAUCASION and 1/4 AFRICAN AMERICAN, or AFRICAN.

    Here is the basic reason why: Tiger Woods is 1/2 Vietnamese, <--- Land identification. 1/4 White <--- color identification and 1/4 Black <--- color identification.

    Longer explanation: Since the term Black referrers to "anyone with dark or brown skin" does it matter that he is Asian or mixed? Somehow saying "person of color" seems more acceptable saying black, which seems to define almost the same thing. Possible negative association with the word black? Another topic perhaps. Interesting also is that when you have many CULTURAL, geographic and physical differences in Caucasians, (examples: red hair Irish, blond hair Scandinavians, Olive skinned Greeks and Italians etc.) they are all still considered white, yet when this happens among "people of color" (examples: Indians from India, dark skinned Asians from south east asia. Aborigines, PuertoRicans Dominicans, some peoples from the so called "mid east") Then suddenly it becomes offensive when classing these people as Black... This is the reason we now use land as the primary identifier. With the exception of White. The benefit going to the white race for being able to accept this unification under 1 term as where people of color can not unify under 1 term.

  56. Pine said...

    I would really like to know other people's (especially black men) opinions on why rich or successful black men date white women. IMO, it's because they bought into the white standard of beauty long ago and a blonde beautiful white woman is their idea of perfection.

    Don't forget that it's also a numbers game - only something like 12% of the US population is black. As people become super-successful, they move around more and meet more people. Toss in that blacks are even less well represented in the wealthier strata of society and those people that are met at wealthy social gatherings become even less likely to be black. It's another factor to throw into the pot.

  57. Gee macon, you sure are a Grand and Noble Arbiter of All That is Racist, helping your poor, ignorant buddy realize how dumb she is, and magnanimously allowing her to "get back to you on that," because you know she will. Despite her inferior analytical intellect, she does try, the poor girl.

    Also, may I congratulate you on your stunning sense of humor? An OJ joke, oh so witty and apropos! I'll bet that friend of yours was torn between laughing heartily and simply gazing, awestruck, at your brilliance.

    Seriously, the self-righteous satisfaction here is truly vomit inducing. And no, since I'm sure it will come up, I'm not white. I'm a black woman sick of white guys giving themselves a big ol' pat on the back for being so enlightened, then telling everyone about it so they can wait for the avalanche of cookies to come rolling in.

  58. Thank you for the reminders, zucchini. I apologized above for including the tasteless joke in this post, and I'll do it again. More specifically, I appreciate the reminder of the value of humility. Regarding cookies, I'm not looking for those; I'm just hoping to give back some of the too-much that's been given to me.

  59. With whom could Tiger Woods be in a relationship for it not to be considered "interracial"?

    But seriously, I found this post to be a reach - I'm just not seeing race in the Tiger Woods thing, nor have I gotten that impression from anyone with whom I've talked about it. I could conjecture, the way a lot of comments seem to be doing, that "I'll bet some white people care," but that would be intellectually dishonest.

    Like other posters have mentioned, the intense scrutiny this case has received has to do with Tiger's level of celebrity and golden boy reputation, and the speed with which the latter has been utterly upended. I guess you could make this about "wanting to see a successful black man fail" if you really wanted to, but I think it has more to do with the public's seemingly endless fascination with celebrity trainwrecks of all stripes.

  60. And yes, Macon, you definitely should take Zucchini's words to heart. I really want to like your blog, and you draw attention to some fascinating and unjustly overlooked issues, but your tone - located at the intersection of intense liberal earnesty and smug self-righteousness - often makes the going difficult.

    Particularly when you present your point as a dialogue between yourself and "a friend" in which you are the Anti-Racism Bodhisattva, leading your poor acquaintance from the dark forest of ignorance. Socrates could pull it off, you can't.

  61. Thank you for the further advice, Ee Vee Elle, including the recommendations regarding tone.

    If you're still reading, could you recommend a better tone? And/or some other white writers who use such a tone? I sure as hell don't want to come off as the Anti-Racism Bodhisattva, since I don't think of myself that way. I know I still have a lot to learn.

  62. After a week or so of reading around here, forward and back, I returned to this post to address RVCbard and Witchsistah. I apologize to you both.

    I read one post and jumped in with both feet assuming that this place was like most other internet forums I have seen where criticizing someone’s post is about sport and intimidating them – as opposed to a spur to conversation and/or to provoke thought, which is what I believe I am seeing, at least in general, on this blog. Either way, I should either have addressed the criticism or ignored it.

    At any rate, I am intrigued by this blog and intend to keep reading. As yet, I have only placed one other post. (I’m about a hundred months pregnant and every time I try to write a response it seems too dissembled or verbose so I change my mind. But, I feel it would be disingenuous to post again without acknowledging the mistake I made here.

  63. [Dear Peppers, stop trying to deflect attention from this blog's topic -- stuff white people do. It's not about stuff black people do, and not even about stuff black people don't do. Here's a web site you should REALLY read, before you waste anymore of the time it's taking me to refuse publication of your submitted comments. Sincerely, macon]

  64. I will give this to Tiger. He’s not done an OJ and run to the Black community for support. He's pretty much kept us out of his bullshit. He hasn’t gone running to Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson and asked them to take up his cause. He’s not appeared at a Black Church looking for backup. Tiger has kept the Black community OUT of his mess and hasn’t asked us for shit. He’s at least done that for Black people. He’s keeping up his end of the ostracism bargain.

    And yet again, many Blacks are NOT trying to claim Tiger’s ass. The main reaction I’ve gathered from Black folk around me is either that of indifference or schadenfreude because he so busted his ass to make himself out to be not like us lowly nigrahs and now his image is shot. But honestly trying to claim him? I mostly see “He’s on his own now,” and that seems to be how he likes it (on his own=estranged from PoC).

  65. i honestly tried to sit here and really think about whether i'd have given two extra minutes of my life concerning the "torturing" in which all who are exposed to this tiger woods "mess" can unfortunately attest.

    so i thought about it for a moment.

    then i quickly realized it doesn't or wouldn't make any difference to me whether elin woods was black, green or purple. but i do not own a news station which reaches out to a billion white people.

    they do.


  66. Full disclosure: I'm a White female.

    I'm slightly ho-hum on this...

    The factors that account for my interest in the Tiger mess (ranked in order of impact):

    1) The sheer amount of women. If they were all Black, or some White, some Black or any other assortment and/or mix of races, I would STILL 'care'.
    Think: "WTF is wrong with this guy? And can he teach me scheduling? Cause I sure as hell couldn't juggle that many."

    2) The beauty of his wife.
    This is personal, cause I keep thinking "There is no hope for any of us, if she is treated that way." Or, a variation: "WTF is wrong with this guy? They are neither prettier than her, nor funny, nor smart."
    If it was Steve Urkel cheating on Vivica Fox, Gabrielle Union or Rutina Wesley with ugly, un-funny dumb women, I'd VERY MUCH also care. Cause I'm a woman and I will automatically (no matter which race she has) put myself in the place of the wife and be scared that it could happen to me.

    3)His celebrity and wealth. I "care" and am fascinated by billionaires (even more self-made billionaires) of any race and all races.

    4) His previously almost unblemished and positive image (I grew up with the "I am Tiger Woods" ads, which really influenced me. I honestly used to get moved by those.)

    5)The race factor.
    Yes, it is their. Since interracial relationships are still statistically very much in the minority and even less visible (in most films, they have the racist tendencies to pair races with one another in couples, which annoys the hell out of me), it adds further intrigue.

    There, that's that broken down for you.
    Now if anyone could explain to me, the woman, why he did it?

  67. Love Your Site, and I'm a sistah living in Harlem who completely get's you about Tiger, I just wrote about it on my site. I mean if Tiger was smoking crack in a motel with black prostitutes, they wouldn't care. Anywho- here's my blog.


    Check me out. Peace.

  68. I would expect that non black people wouldn't get this post.

    >> This is NOT a celebrity thing!!! <<

    A public black figure married a white woman and publicly embarrassed her. So, expectedly, they are whipping his ass for it. Public White men do not hold other White men accountable for cheating, because, THEY ALL DO IT. That's the public white boys club. They only go out against each other, unless they have a personal vendetta.

    They went after Tiger Woods because he's married to a white woman, plain and simple.

    Andre Agassi, is a METH head, they don't give a crap, he still has his accounts.

    Racism is alive and well. Period. Why are people in denial about it? They are lying to themselves. Its all FEAR.

  69. [This is from the usual Robin, who is having aggravating cookie issues that are preventing her from using her usual ID. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.]

    @KD who said Now if anyone could explain to me, the woman, why he did it?:

    Some of us are monogamous creatures. Others of us aren't - we're polyamorous. Western culture tries to cram everyone into a monogamous mold and pretends that monogamy is the only way to be, and is some kind of ideal to aspire to. (I'm not discussing non-Western cultures here, because I have no knowledge on that subject.) Unfortunately, due to the insanely high rates of cheating, I'd say it's pretty clear that monogamy isn't working out for a whole lot of people.

    While obviously I don't know for sure, I think it's most likely Woods is just a non-monogamous person who either can't admit that to himself, or he knows his wife would never tolerate it and he was too afraid (of hurting her, or of how he'd appear in the media, or hurting his kids, or whatever) to break up with her. So instead of splitting up with her (and then either getting into a polyamorous relationship or staying single), he chose to cheat.

    Or maybe he's just one of those people who gets off on cheating. They find the taboo and secretivity exciting, and it gives them a thrill that they're otherwise missing. Some people just love their forbidden adrenaline rushes. (Hell, I've known people who were in polyamorous relationships, where they *could* have slept with another person and their partner would have been fine with it, and yet they still chose to cheat. It's the act of cheating itself that does it for them.)

    Maybe someday there will be more acceptance of polyamorous relationships, and an acknowledgment that monogamy is not the sole healthy way to have a relationship. Until then, people will continue to try to shoehorn themselves into monogamy even when it isn't right for them personally, and in those cases, things tend to end badly. (And lest anyone get the wrong impression, I want to make it clear that there's naturally-polyamorous women, just as there are naturally-monogamous men. I'm not suggesting some ridiculous concept where all men want to screw around, and all women want to settle with one fella. It goes both ways, for both poly and mono.)

    In short: it most likely doesn't have anything to do with his wife, and there's not much point extrapolating from her to you. If it's the case that he's a poly person and he isn't capable of being happy long-term in a mono relationship, then it has nothing to do with her. He'd be unhappy no matter who he was with in a mono relationship, and he'd eventually stray.

    And likewise, if he's not a poly person but he just gets off on cheating, then he'd get off on cheating on whoever he was with. Finding the perfect partner won't magically fix somebody being a habitual cheater.

  70. Robin,

    I don't think Tiger's all that deep. I think it's simply a "Holy cow! Look at what being rich and famous gets me!" reaction to women hitting on his horse-toothed ass. The thing is if Tiger were just some mixed dude driving a bus or working in IT, he wouldn't be getting the play he is. Give his fame and money to some other guy and those same women'd be giving that other guy the drawz and not him. The thing is, guys like Tiger start to buy their own press and think women want them because they really ARE scintillating, magnetic types with or without the dough.

  71. @ Robin:
    Thank you for answering. Yet that was not what I meant: I meant why this extreme number? Not: Why did he cheat at all?


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