Is the Problem With Tiger or Is the Problem With Us?


Just when we thought that the Tiger Woods story played itself out, I heard another twist on the news this morning: Black women are mad at Tiger. However, their problem with him is not the alleged affairs. The ten (and counting) mistresses were the collective fuse that set off the fireworks. The problem goes much deeper than what we are seeing and hearing in the news. The problem that black women have is that they believe that Tiger and other successful black men think they’re too good for them. Let’s face it: Tiger prefers to be with white women. He is married to a former Swedish supermodel. Every one of the mistresses are also Caucasian. In my view, there is nothing wrong with this. This is simply his preference.

This should not be an issue in this “post-racial” society. It is none of our business whom Tiger Woods (or anyone else for that matter) chooses to be with. Yet, many black women are mad as hell. Tiger happens to be the focal point of their anger even though he has personally done nothing wrong to an entire race of females. Even Wilt Chamberlain’s reach wasn’t that wide. If Tiger is not the problem, then what is?

The problem as some black women see it is that Tiger is representative of the successful black man who “makes it” and immediately turns to white women for companionship. In a way, it is a slap in the faces of black women who have been told in too many times in life that they are not good enough or beautiful enough. I have heard this perception many times in my life. It became a joke to some that the first thing a pro athlete does after signing a multi-million-dollar contract is to find the nearest white woman to spend his money on (see the movie, White Chicks). Is this simply jealousy or something much deeper?

Some black women argue that there are plenty of black women for successful black men to choose from, but instead they are often not given an opportunity to be with these men because of their perceived preference for white women. Another argument is that successful black men prefer white women because these women represent their success. This has the effect of making black women feel inadequate. They also argue there simply aren’t enough “qualified” black men (meaning single, heterosexual, and employed) for the “good” ones to abandon them for white women.

Tiger has never said he was black, yet the black community has claimed him as one of their own. Despite his declaration of his being “Cablanasian”, he is perceived by most people to be a black man. As a result, he is a role model for the black community and a target as well. I heard someone say today that he still would have a problem getting a cab in New York City until he was recognized.

There are some males in the white community, who for the opposite reason, also feel this anger. There are those that believe that a black man is not good enough to be with a white woman regardless of his success. Think back to O.J. Simpson. The outrage was not exclusivel to whether he murdered his wife or not (he did). It was just as much about the fact that this black man murdered a white woman. This example was the first time in my adult life that I saw real polarization in our country due to race. 

Is the root of the problem the fact that, despite society’s general acceptance of interracial relationships, we are still troubled by the fact that they exist? Do we privately feel a sense of betrayal or indignation when we see people of different races date or marry? If this is the case, does that mean we are racist or does it mean that there simply is a desire for us all to stay within our respective tribes? Acknowledging this would mean accepting that we are not as progressive as we would like to believe. It would mean that there are still boundaries that we are afraid to cross. It would be an acknowledgment that intellectually, we may live in a “post-racial” society.  Yet, our hearts haven’t made that leap.

Don’t Blame The Man. I’m just giving us something to think about.

Mr. Man

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