Thursday, November 13, 2008

Earlier this week, the normally apolitical Tiger Woods, came out and praised the election of Barack Obama. This was quite a shock to me, because up until now, Tiger had chosen to take the Michael Jordan approach to politics which was to shun it at all costs. So the fact that Tiger would even listen to a question like that, let alone answer it with eloquence, was a monumental event.

In his praise of Obama, Tiger used words like "person of color" and "multiracial", which makes perfect sense since Tiger too falls under that category. On a message board that I frequent, several people started severely criticizing Tiger. They said that he refuses to acknowledge that he is black, they called him a sellout, and they just slammed him as if he had done something wrong, and that offended me deeply. Tiger's late father was black, and his living mother is Thai. We all know that the public perception is that he is 100% black, but in Tiger's mind he has to keep that biracial tag firmly around his neck, as to not disrespect the heritage of either parent.

I guess I am bit sensitive to this issue since my 11 year old son is biracial. When we had the race talk, I explained to him that most people would look at him as being black. I also explained to him that sometimes, the prize for being perceived that way, is a bunch of insults reserved for black people and he said he understood. And then he said to me, "But Daddy I am both right? You're black and mommy's white?". Of course the militant side of me wanted to be like, "Hell no you ain't both, you're black", but that's just not realistic. I told he was bi-racial, but he needed to at least know that to many people that didn't matter and he understood...I think. Its a subject we have to visit continually, because his mother and stepfather say NOTHING on the issue, which is not at all surprising.

I say all this to say, I understand why Tiger doesn't come out and say he's black. I understand why Barack didn't call himself black during his acceptance speech, and I intimately understand my son's line of thought. Whether I agree with them or not is really not the issue. I would just want all of them to respect my views and I'd do the same for them. I don't know how popular my opinion will be, and I certainly will be happy to engage in a dialogue via the comment section. But if it gets disrespectful, a GFY is coming your way.

And now, the teacher will begin to speak:

3 comments:

Eb the Celeb said...

I completely agree... 3 of my 4 siblings are biracial... and they struggle because they look latino... when they were young they thought it was cute and always made an appoint to say my mommy is black and and daddy is white but now they are only they dont feel the need to explain it or proclaim it.

Chubbs said...

well said Rashad. Growing up, I always felt pressure from other blacks to dismiss my biracial roots. I HAD to say I was "Black and proud," otherwise I'd get those shameful "one drop rule" lectures. And I was "black and proud," but always wondered on the inside, "why can't I be white and proud as well...or both...without all the scrutiny?" I even had an aunt who told me to look in the mirror and let that define my race. ha! how ignorant. In retrospect, that would make me latina, b/c I get asked almost daily if "te hable espanol."

Time are a changing. Now, even though I still feel more culturally connected to my black roots --I still take pride in my "white side"--and I'd never ever again reject part of who I am. And I think it's awesome that you are teaching your son to embrace his multi ethnicity. We're all multi-ethnic/racial anyway, aren't we??

maxwellsmusze said...

very well put chubbs! this race thing has us all messed up. we are all human beings first and foremost.

yeah that sounds corny...(now join me in singing we are the world)