Do White Women or Infidelities Hurt Tiger's "Black" Image?

What’s worse for Tiger’s “black” image? His preference for white women or his numerous infidelities? “I don’t feel there is anything wrong with black men dating white women, but when a black man makes that his preference, it becomes an issue,” Aixa Weekes, fashion editor for Giant magazine told Elizabeth Gates at the Daily Beast in her piece, “Tiger’s Thing for White Girls.” Gates pointed out, “Tiger himself declared that he was, “Cablinasian,” and not in fact African American in the first place, so the fact that he would clutter his little black book with blondes is hardly news.” But Woods walks a fine racial line. He has tried to distance himself as the “black golfer” but Tiger’s image as the “not white” pro-golfer has earned him a super star status within the black community. He is on the cover of the January 2010 Golf Digest magazine with President Barack Obama with the cover story “10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger.” No, playing with our president doesn’t make Tiger more black, but it certainly highlights his importance in the black community of super star athletes at least. I mean, the president ain’t playing football with Michael Vick these days is he? And let’s face it. Though Woods doesn’t want to call himself a black man, genetically he is in part. And for many young and aspiring golfers he is (or was) a hero. A man to look up to. Hell, not even to African American children. He broke the “green jacket” barrier for a lot of minority golfers to come. (Read more at

But maybe a debate is needed. “This conversation about black men and white women is still a sore subject. All the more reason to have it,” argued Gates in her piece. But the Tiger downfall–I think we’re at mistress 11–has reenergized more than just the divide within the black community over black men dating white women. “Thankfully, Tiger, you didn’t marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch ofwhite hoochie- mamas, she would have castrated you,” Tom Joyner said. Yes, because ALL black women are crazy, loud sisters right? And Elin is what? A wuss (cough remember Mrs. Kobe Bryant’s diamond ring reaction?)

The Woods scandal has also added new fervor to the stereotype that black men are cheaters, “Bringing in Tiger’s infidelity as if it’s related to black culture goes back to an old and deeply evil racist connection of black men and sexual promiscuity. To use the image of the black man as the sexual predator is the oldest form of race baiting, dating back to Emmit Till and before that, the slaves on the plantation,” wrote blogger Russell Simmons after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called the “black frame of mind” just “terrible.”

So what’s worse for Tiger? I think the “we don’t care because he’s not really black” argument Gates makes is weak. Because of Tiger’s mixed race and profession he’s “accepted” within a lot of communities. Love him when he wins the Master’s and don’t know him when he’s a sloppy cheater after skanky white girls? You can’t have it both ways. And neither can white commentators who’ll pat Woods on the back of his green jacket, love his pretty white wife, and happy family in their gated Florida community, but the minute he shows a weakness for women–which ALOT of white golfers and athletes have exhibited–he’s “just another black guy who cheats.” Tiger may not want to embrace his blackness but he needs to work on his image in the black community. Hell, he needs to work on his image period and everyone needs to drop this black/white stereotype talk.

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