Tiger's Troubles Widen His Distance From Blacks

Amid all the headlines generated by Tiger Woods' troubles — the puzzling car accident, the suggestions of marital turmoil and multiple mistresses — little attention has been given to the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer. Except in the black community.

When three white women were said to be romantically involved with 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?"

As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes, wrote: "If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with black women, the golfing great's accident would have been barely a blip in the blogosphere."

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."

Black women have long felt slighted by the tendency of famous black men to pair with white women, and many have a list of current transgressors at the ready.

"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.

"There is a call for loyalty that is stronger in some ways than in other racial communities," said the author of the study, George Yancey, a sociology professor at the University of North Texas and author of the book "Just Don't Marry One."

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.

So do Woods' women say something about the intensely private golfer's views on race?

"I would like to say no, but I think it garners a bit of a yes," Johnson Cooper said.

Carmen Van Kerckhove, founder of the race-meets-pop-culture blog Racialicious, said there have been frequent discussions on her site about the fine line between preference and fetish.

"Is there any difference between a white guy with a thing for blondes, and a non-white guy with a thing for blondes?" asked Van Kerckhove, who has a Chinese mother, a Belgian father and a husband born in America to parents from Benin.

She claims that Asians don't fully embrace Woods, either.

"There are two layers of suspicion toward him," Van Kerkhove said. "One toward the apparent pattern in the race of his partners, and the second in the way he sees himself. ... People have been giving him the side-eye for a while."

There's nothing wrong with wanting a mate who shares your culture, as long as it's for the right reasons, the comedienne Sheryl Underwood said after unleashing a withering Woods monologue on Tom Joyner's radio show.

"Would we question when a Jewish person wants to marry other Jewish people?" she said in an interview. "It's not racist. It's not bigotry. It's cultural pride."

"The issue comes in when you choose something white because you think it's better," Underwood said. "And then you never date a black woman or a woman of color or you never sample the greatness of the international buffet of human beings. If you never do that, we got a problem."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 16, 2009 at 07:17 AM
    what is this whole mall thing and your kind? I guess I missed this story.
  • by Stand up for right on Dec 15, 2009 at 07:22 PM
    Neo you are so right you do have a presence or aura about you And that would be called "AN IDIOT FOR LIFE". You talk about the thugs that hang out at the mall. But what you forgot is there are the little want to be thug white boys that hang out there to do their dirt and go back home to mama and daddy and act like the good old boys that they pretend to be. You have some nerve to call people turds but as any smart person would know the birthing process and since you don't then I guess that would make you a turd also. And just to let you know I work at an establishment and The ones that always come in late, call out, lie about being sick and brag about it the next day were not the african americans. But we get paid less and do just as much work. We give it 120 %. WE go to work and work hard because we have more to prove. By the way we are raised to show respect and not have to fake it to make it. Now go to bed because your aura is blinding me maybe one day it will go out completely
  • by WHAT!!! on Dec 15, 2009 at 06:21 PM
    Well, Neo I guess I struck a nerve why, because maybe in the back of your mind you know it's true I see it everyday.Oh and believe me your kind may not hang out at the mall and make trouble but they cause more than enough trouble also. Only difference is you can call on the good ol' boys to get them out of trouble with your favors and money oh, and by the way where I work your kind don't come in on time.I can tell you it's more of your kind that I work with than it is mine.I can't help what I see you just need to stop ignoring it baby!!!!
  • by Neo Location: Reality on Dec 15, 2009 at 04:44 PM
    To "WHAT!!!", I would say...WHAT???, but your excuses for your young's bad behavior are widespread and often repeated. I've heard it a thousand times and it is as false as the first time it was told. It is a crutch for you to lean on & a diversion from the cold, biting reality that an entire generation of these turds are a menace to society and you have no sensable answer for it. So you make excuses, falsely accuse those charged with the unenviable task of trying to protect the public from these out of control thugs and attempt to blame others for the failings of ONE segment of our diverse society. Mall officials do not get behind closed doors and talk your foolishness nor do they hold jobs for their friends children or people of the same color. The businesses hire the kids who will come to work on time, work hard and have respect for others. Oh, and thugs do not attempt to rob me, there is a "presence" or "aura" about me that tends to give them pause. Sorry to disappoint you lady. Ha!
  • by WHAT!!! on Dec 14, 2009 at 07:28 PM
    TO NEO: And what about the organized thugs that look at the mall entrance thugs and don't give them a chance. That when they get behind closed doors and talk more foolishness than anybody else. Hold their jobs for their friends children and the people of their same color. It's true just go and look around.So when you see those thugs in the mall maybe you can help a few of them out.Maybe they won't rob or steal from you!!! HA HA HA
  • by something's wrong here Location: everywhere in America on Dec 14, 2009 at 07:19 PM
    Who cares? He cheated. Now a certain 'group' finds it unaccecptable ONLY because of his choice in women. Not because of the family and pain this has caused. Who's a racist now?
  • by Neo Location: Reality on Dec 14, 2009 at 06:01 PM
    "Marie", Howard Stern is an idiot. People flock to his show to hear the circus sideshow freak say stupid, immature, socially unacceptable things on the public airwaves, as if it is still a shock. Hey, I didn't say his listeners were smart. You can stand by the exit at the mall in Greenville or near any street corner in Robersonville and hear the same disgusting blather from the local thugs any time. Well, on second though, listening to Stern is physically alot safer, the thugs are likely to rob you or shoot you while you are listening, but you get the point. Anyway, what does an idiot like stern have to do with this?
  • by Marie Location: Greenville on Dec 14, 2009 at 01:25 PM
    To white Girl: What planet have you been on. Howard Stern has been talking about everyone on his radio show for years. He's talked about Blacks, Asians, Arabs and even whites.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2009 at 02:05 AM
    Anonymous, LOL....old one...now considered overdone.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 13, 2009 at 08:48 PM
    LOL @ Rosebud! Good one!!!
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