Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Three Wise Men - Part 2

In ‘Part One’ I wrote about Al Sharpton and his divisive role in race relations over the years. There was way too much material to include President Obama and Tiger Woods in the same post. That’s OK because splitting it into two sections works better. There are similarities and eye-opening contrasts between Obama and Tiger that makes it logical to include them in their own post.

The inspiration for this commentary was an article that addressed what is obvious to me since I grew up in an African-American community. Associated Press revealed how African-Americans look unfavorably at Tiger Woods because he chooses to chase after white women.

As revelations of Tiger’s infidelities began to surface; an African-American radio show host, Tom Joyner, lambasted the golf champion:

“Thankfully, Tiger, you didn’t marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas, she would have castrated him...

…The question everyone in America wants to ask you is, how many white women does one brother waaant?”

I understand that this is an attempt at humor, but Joyner went too far. Why is it that fellow radio show host Don Imus got suspended in a similar situation and Joyner gets a free pass?

It is particularly disturbing when you consider that in 2008 Joyner was inducted into The International Civil Rights Walk Of Fame. This is a monument that is housed in the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. Supporters give it this description:

“The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame was created to give recognition to those brave soldiers of justice who sacrificed and struggled to make equality a reality for all. This extraordinary display has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city of Atlanta and has enriched the heritage of the civil rights movement.”

Joyner’s behavior is not what I would expect from a “brave soldier of justice” struggling “to make equality a reality for all”.

Unfortunately, this goes deeper than just a joke. Author, Pearl Jr., writes about issues for African-American women. Her focus is on “exposing the conspiracy to keep black women without love”. It is a part of what she refers to as the “current status quo of the division of power based on race”. Even though she promotes herself as an “Equality Activist” (or maybe because of that), she completely snapped in response to Tiger Woods’ taste for white women. A website, was created to express her frustrations. She asked;

“Are you sick of our black men that leave our race and marry outside our race profiting off the black community while they in turn, turn their backs on us?”

[A screen print of a frame from the website]

Now lets be honest. If a white person set up a website to convince white women not to marry African-American men, would you consider that to be racist? Make no mistake Pearl Jr. is quite clear about her feelings. She goes on to write, “Are you ready to speak up and out in order to ask our black people to stay together; stick together because we need each other?! We are asking our black men to come home because we need you here...helping us rebuild our communities!”

Another author of books for African-American women, Denene Millner, confirms the reservations African-American women have about such interracial relationships. “We’ve discussed this for years among black women… Why is it when they get to this level... they tend to go directly for the nearest blonde?”

Millner claims that she was quoted out of context, however she still admits to saying that statement. Her argument centers on the fact that, “neither I nor a whole lot of the African American women I know are bothered by interracial relationships like we used to be”. She should be commended for moving past her intolerance towards interracial relationships, but it is unfair that she misquotes the journalist who interviewed her (Jesse Washington). He never wrote that Millner was still prejudiced (although she admits that she was in the past). Washington quoted her on how African-American women view such interracial relationships. As Pearl Jr shows, it still holds true whether or not Millner has seen the errors of her own intolerance.

This intolerance is not just limited to African-American women. Books such as John Johnson’s “It Ain’t All Good: Why Black Men Should Not Date White Women” and Rajen Persaud’s “Why Black Men Love White Women” reveal a disturbing portrait of prejudice against interracial relationships. I doubt that would sell a book entitled, “Why White Women Should Not Date Black Men”.

While Millner’s assertion that she had a change of heart is welcome, the manner in which she did it was a bit questionable. This is due to the fact that Millner added the following caveat, “I was neither shocked nor cared about Tiger’s choice in women because he’s never seemed to identify with the “bl” in his “Cablinasian” racial make-up anyway”.

So how is that for an “either you are with us or against us” moment?

“Cablinasian” is a term coined by Tiger to define his ethnicity:

“Ca” – Caucasian
“Bl” – African-American Black
“In” – American Indian
“Asian” – Chinese and Thai

His use of this term has not endeared him to the African-American community. A columnist for FanHouse, Terence Moore, reacted to Tiger’s recent troubles with vindication. He pointed out that the African-American community unconditionally supported other prominent African-American athletes who got into trouble;

“Those other athletes had one of the world’s most supportive casts. They had an overwhelming number of folks in the African-American community standing firmly and loudly behind them -- no matter what. They had Jesse and Al waiting to pounce in the background, if they hadn’t done so already. They had black ministers across the country asking for special prayers in their name. They had folks in barbershops throughout African-American communities talking about conspiracies.

Mostly, despite everything those in black America had seen or heard about the events surrounding O.J., Vick, Iverson and the rest, they had unconditional love.

For Woods, not so much.

Actually, not at all, and Woods has nobody to blame but Woods.

It goes back to April 1997 when he famously took a nine-iron to the face of blacks by telling Oprah Winfrey on her couch that he wasn’t black. He said he wasn’t white, either. He said, given that his father is black and that his mother is Asian, he spent his youth inventing a word for himself called “Cablinasian”.

Just like that, in the hearts of many African-Americans, Woods was on his own…”

Moore makes it clear that he has always felt this way. He proudly dug up an article that he wrote 12 years ago. The piece was written to chastise Tiger when the golfer first publicly used the term “Cablinasian”;

“Tiger, you’re not green. You’re not yellow. You’re not purple. You’re not Asian. You’re not Cablinasian. You’re black.”

Why is it so important that Tiger must declare that he is exclusively African-American? His mother, Kultida Woods complained that, “To call Tiger black is to deny my existence”. She is half Thai, a quarter Chinese, and a quarter Dutch. Tiger’s father is one-quarter Native American, one-quarter Chinese, and half African-American. That means Tiger has more Asian heritage than African-American (one-half Asian, one-quarter African-American, one-eighth Native American and one-eighth white).

With that in mind, it is time to write about Barack Obama. He is a great comparison because Obama is also a prominent American with a mixed race background that includes African heritage. Unlike Tiger, he has exclusively embraced his African ancestry.

Despite the fact that Obama was raised by a loving white family and abandoned at a young age by his African father, he rejects his white heritage. In his autobiography “Dreams From My Father” he declared, “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race (white) at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.”

While we should take into consideration the pain that his abandonment probably caused, Obama revealed that he shrewdly evaluated the political benefits of “race loyalty”;

“I wondered whether, for now at least, Rafiq wasn’t also right in preferring that that anger be redirected; whether a black politics that suppressed rage towards whites generally, or one that failed to elevate race loyally above all else, was a politics inadequate to the task.” (Rafiq was a friend of Obama’s who was a member of the Nation of Islam, it is not believed to be his real name.)

This was how Obama chose the path that ensured he could be defended by “folks in barbershops throughout African-American communities talking about conspiracies” (As Terence Moore put it and conversely Pearl Jr shows that race traitors can also be victimized by conspiracy theories). It insults us in the face of all the progress that we have made in race relations over the years.

On the other hand, this delights Pearl Jr who emphasizes that Obama has a “black wife” and lets out a little cheer to show her approval. In contrast she condemns the sexual preferences of Tiger;

“…Its all these white women, white women, white women and not a black one in the bunch and not even an Asian in the bunch. So Tiger Woods I think that you have been exposed, even to white people you must admit, that Tiger Woods is a White Supremacist. Tiger Woods is racist against black women.

And as far as his buddies Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan is concerned, guess what, they must have their little cult… their little black men with non-black women parties. Black women must not be allowed in their little parties and it needs to be exposed because the racism against black women in the lives of rich black men has gotten out of control.”

So it is no surprise when Johnson Cooper, a 26-year old African American from NY, declares that, “Had Barack had a white wife, I would have thought twice about voting for him”. Obama’s rejection of his whiteness was the key to jumpstarting his political career.

As an unknown community organizer with no roots in the African-American community, Obama decided to join a radical African-American church (Chicago’s Trinity United). It was a calculated move to give him ‘street-cred’ and the politics of the church was exactly what he was looking for. Trinity was also a powerhouse in the community thanks to its well-connected congregation. Oprah Winfrey was the most prominent member. She would prove to be a very useful ally to Obama when he ran for president. A University of Maryland study estimated that Oprah’s support was worth one million votes. After Obama left the Illinois state senate another member of Trinity, Kwame Raoul, filled his seat. That is how the wheels of power turn.

When Obama’s divisive church became a liability during the 2008 presidential campaign, he just dumped it. Since then Obama still doesn’t attend any church regularly and is leisurely “looking” for one to join. Religion served its purpose. Eventually, as his poll numbers continue to plummet, he will have to find another church. In the meantime Obama didn’t attend any religious services when Christmas came along. As an atheist I don’t have any bone to pick with his religious views, it is his intellectual dishonesty that is bothersome.

Today is Three Kings Day. The tradition states that the three kings visit all good children to give them presents. Well, these three kings have given you a lump of coal, but they have taught us a valuable lesson about the sad state of racial relations today. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t have to be this way. We let it happen.

Feliz Dia de los Reyes…


Anonymous said...

Tiger's not a super duper magical negro like Barack.

He doesn't give "liberal" whites a pass, he treats all whites the same.

WomanHonorThyself said...

this post is too fabulous!:)

nanc said...

White women especially, eh, effjay...

Anonymous said...

Indeed, nanc...the more liberal, the more "same treatment" they get.