When three white women were said to be romantically involved with [Tiger] 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?”
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.”
“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?”
This tendency may be more prominent due to a relative lack of interracial marriages among average blacks. Although a recent Pew poll showed that 94 percent of blacks say it’s all right for blacks and whites to date, a study published this year in Sociological Quarterly showed that blacks are less likely to actually date outside their race than are other groups.
The color of one’s companion has long been a major measure of “blackness”–which is a big reason why the biracial Barack Obama was able to fend off early questions about his black authenticity.
“Had Barack had a white wife, I would have thought twice about voting for him,” Johnson Cooper said.
She [Carmen Van Kerckhove, founder of the race-meets-pop-culture blog Racialicious] claims that Asians don’t fully embrace Woods, either.