Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Response to Writer Jesse Washington's Article on Black Folk and Tiger Woods

I know I am putting a lot out there, but bear with me, this is long.

On a day that I vowed to focus on my dissertstion proposal, I have been inspired to deviate and respond to a deeply disturbing AP article written by Jesse Washington titled, "Tiger's Troubles Widens His Distance from Blacks."

(Photo of AP Writer Jesse Washington looking intellectual constipated)

In this article, Washington claims that discourse among black folk and in our circles illuminates our "resistance to interracial romance." He further comments that black peoples antagonism toward Tiger Woods illuminates the following:

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.

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. (click here for story)

Jesse, I'm sorry dude, but the issue goes a lot deeper and is traced much further than that. So as an African-American woman, I will respond to some of your Negro-esk comments that paint the African-American community as racist, social inbreds who cannot get over slavery like white people have.

When people like Washington erroneously point out "blacks resistance to interracial romance," not only does he homogenize the positions of black people, but he inaccurately explores an issue his small little brain cannot wrap around.

Then Washington insinuates that black people are also resistant because Tiger Woods' ascension as an icon in professional sports replaces two black men (Mohammed Ali and Michael Jordan) who competed in sports that were more colorized than gulf. The underlying implication is that these men also had black wives.

Washington never addresses the issue of how a sport gets to be exclusively played by whites, or is disproportionate in any racial category, thus removing racial segregration from the truth of the equation.

Even the sports of boxing and basketball, and all of the other major professional sports in the United States, were heavily segregated. Hell, recreation was segregated and limited to who had access.

In the case of gulf, it is who can get to a gulf course, but overarchingly, who has the money to play such an expensive game.

Furthermore, Washington does not even know that there are pockets of black people who compete in sports that blacks have not traditional been in such as hockey, swimming, tennis and surfing, and are still discriminated against. Didn't you read about the Philadelphia pool? Or you up on the Williams sisters?

And in the case of Tiger's creation of his own racial category, "Cablasian," black people were not in a tizzy that he attempted to recognize all of his ancestral DNA. It is the fact that this "plane-as-day-black-man," attempted to distance himself from his obvious African ancestry as much as possible---especially when we looked at his black pappy.

In many ways, Woods' distancing from his black heritage made him a more comfortable fit in a sport that did not accomodate darker hued faces. It is a known move where people of color must make xenophobic people feel at ease when they have not been around browner skins other than them cleaning up their houses or dancing a jig on the stage.

On top of all that, it was the shoulders of black atheles that Tiger Woods stands. Whether he wants to acknowledge it or not.

If it wasn't for people like Hank Aaron the ability to even get his black ass on a gulf course as a gulfer in a white country club known to discriminate against blacks would be a harder road to travel?

Like all people of color in the United States, it is through the struggle of African-Americans that pushed better race relations for all, even his Thai mother must say thank you.

However, in Woods' case, he probably doesn't even know that John Shippen was the first American born gulfer, and the first African-American gulfer to play in the US Open. Shippen was cultivated and trained at the first African-American social and country club called Shady Rest in Scotch Plains, NJ. (click here to read article found in the Star Ledger)

If it weren't for John Shippen, Tiger Woods would be playing put-put in flip-flops on a miniature golf course in Cypress, California.

Woods' Cablasian-ness, somehow eradicated his blackness, when clearly everyone saw him as a black man who had diverse heritage, rather than a white male with complex racial and ethnic roots.

Complicated Notions of Interracial Romance in Black Communities
Black people, specifically black people in the Americas are some of the most open people to of interracial couples.

As we were subjected to miscengation for hundreds of years, we have been the community to have to rear majority of the interracial children produced since Columbus' crew of men set foot on these shores.

Black communities have loved and reared these children and embraced them in spite of the social and political ramifications that were created when a child's DNA represented the oppressed and the oppressor.

Then when opan interracial black/white couples started to surface in the 60s, they were usually found in communites of color rather than white ones because often times white male mobs (especially when the man was not white) would assault or kill them.

The heart of the issue in black communites is that many of the interracial couplings we had were not romantic. Also, the atonement needed to reconcile for the pain of these forced relationships have never been on the agenda of race relations in the US. In there lies a problem.

Many people joke and are repulsed when they speak about how black women vocalize disdain when a black man dates a white woman.

Though sometimes, hell, most times, it is phrased as a bitter, black bitch who is complaining once again that she can't get a man; nevertheless, the uncomfortable and unanswered pains of black people, sexuality and mate selection is neglected.

Black women speak with a historical reference specifically embedded in the centuries-old unrelentless and socially acceptable sexual abuse by white males and the subsequent, and often forced reproduction of mixed race children by white men.

Black women and their white male rapists were the major produces of black/white offspring, not black men, or white women.

And because white males then and now still hold the upper echelons of power and perceived power, black women hold much of that pain and humiliation in our history of oppression.

Unbeknownst to most, there are horrific stories that we have heard or have been indirectly told of these narratives by female folk in our family.

So common was the rape of black women by white men from 1400 to 1975, that raping a black woman was not considered rape.

My grandfather was biracial due to his mother who was repeatedly forced into a sexual liason with the patron of a house she cleaned.

She was a married woman who had children with her black husband, and several biracial children with her post-slavery master, oh excuse me, her employer. They reared them as their own. This was in the early part of the 20th Century, but that was the order of the day.

And this is not some old slave tales. Look at the rape case between the North Carolina LaCrosse team and the African-American woman who provided gentleman's entertainment. She was coded as a stripper, thus unworthy of having any credibility. Never once did the media identify her as a college student who attended another school at a nearby campus and used stripping as a means to make money.

However, the waitress of Tiger Woods, and the escort of former Governor Spitzer have not been coded as a gutter jump off who used her sexuality to make money.

In addition to this, black women have uncomfortably been placed at the bottom of the aesthetic scale of Westernized beauty. Yes, we've been exoticized, hence Beyonce. We have even been called gorgeous, hence Halle Berry.

But these lighter-skinned young ladies do not define what is the standard and uber example of beautiful. It is still today, a white, pale, thin woman, with long, blonde, un-coily hair is the standard and occupies the top category of what is worshipped as striking.

This discussion is also traced in the oversexualization of black men who are still seen as volatile, sexually brutes who cannot control their sexual appetites. In the past, they were lynched by joyous white mobs for what was often false accusations (and in some cases consensual affairs) of engaging in some sexualized act with a white woman.

So salient was the fear of black men raping white women that the most distributed and seen movie to day is, "Birth of Nation," a racist film that highlights the killing of blackface white actor acting like a black man who attempted to violated Missy.

So when a black man decides to engage in interracial relationships, some of the black women who disagree are not only inquiring as to why she is not good enogh, but also she is asking, "Why does it have to be a white woman?" Meaning, "Why must you consort with the very icon that has oppressed black people?"

As well, there is an underlying secret that black men would be better off with a white woman because she knows how to act and thus treat a black man sexually, attitude-wise, and as a support system. As opposed to a black woman who still wears the stereotype of being uncouth, unattractive, disempowering, and an unsuitable mate.

If I cannot prove this in numbers, stats show that most black men in interracial relationships are with white women. This would be understandable if only black and white people lived on the planet, and especially in places such as the United States, but white people specifically are the least amount in numbers?

In direct and indirect ways, whether the people involved in interracial marriages want to admit it or not, in America, this romantic choice signifies black men selecting not only a social-cultural taboo, but agreeing that in their eyes, a white woman is the aesthetic and mate preference instead of black women.

Even though, this essay does not talk about love, I do know that love is a very real thing. I do acknowledge that love manifests in many ways. And I know that there are people who have wonderful interracial relationships (and especially for some reason black men who have slept with a white woman) who will disagree with these comments, but I had to put it out there.

For someone who has been approached by everything under the sun, I stand firm that choosing what we love, how we love it, and if we love it is a conscious (and unconscious) decision.

As one white gentleman told me that I was racist when I turned him down because I said I exclusively dated black males, I smiled and thanked him for the compliment. Shame me twice, I love to make love to people who look like my daddy.

Blog on, EcoSoul

I love this interview

Think about this...

Check out the list. It had me scratching my head.It is an old list, but I can add more.

2 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Reggie said...

Clearly Jesse isn't a deep thinker; that or he's slightly less hued with black face on. His POV actually sounds racist, if anything.

There are a whole boatload of African American athletes and businessmen and actors and whatnot who are in relationships with Caucasian women....why?!? I don't know, but they're there. So we must not be opposed to it as he says.

Interestingly enough, I've been called racist too for not dating Caucasian women. Even though I'm married Caucasian women (and some African American women) have no problem approaching me; and I have no problem letting them know exactly how I feel and exactly where my desire lay). I've never had a problem telling Caucasian women that I exclusively desire African American women and if that makes me racist....then fine.

EcoSoul said...

Reggie, I am 100 percent with you. Hey racist, how u doin?